Thinking About Mom: Part 1

Actually I never called Mom “Mom” – to me she was always Ma. Twice in the last twenty years of her life I saw Ma with the most outrageously, huge, brilliant smile on her face. I grew up in a small town in the middle of the Great Plains in the U.S. It was a great place to grow up and a good place to leave. When I was a young man in that town of about twenty thousand people, it was all white people. Ok, not quite all white people. There was one family of native Americans and one family of Mexicans, and there were two black people on the college football team. The vast majority of the people were not only European descendants, they were also predominantly northern Europeans. A nice, clean and orderly town. Of course I became a radical at a young age as to me, those white people for the most part were a bunch of fascist. The Republican Party was totally dominant and the largest newspaper in the state, which I read everyday, was pure rightwing garbage. 

In my mid twenties I discovered San Francisco and the East Bay and I fell in love with the place and I had to live there. For ten years it was my home, for ten wonderful years. My mother would visit me about once a year and twice Ma visited me with my father. On one of her yearly visits I got to see that brilliant smile on Ma’s face.

To me, San Francisco is just the coolest place. The city was incredibly vibrant. Culture, culture, and more culture. The average person there was a Democrat and there were tons of radicals. San Francisco has a history of being progressive and radical.

During that decade the U.S. started a war in Iraq and in the Midwest, the good citizens supported this war. Not in San Francisco though. Those goddamn radicals in the bay area would go to huge protests. Fifty to a hundred thousand people would be out protesting this war in Iraq and it felt so good to be part of those protests. My friends back home complained that they could not say one word about the injustice because those good solid citizens in the Midwest would be ready to beat them up for being pacifist. 

Another thing I really loved about San Francisco was this Macy’s Store in the heart of downtown. The store was absolutely amazing. I went there many times and they had everything for the home. They had clothing, furniture, appliances, electronics, home decoration, art, you name it, they had it. Their restaurants and deli’s, every culinary delight you could think of. Of course it was too expensive for me but who could resist their candy shops and deli’s. 

One year Ma was making her yearly visit. In that year my sweet, silly cousin decided she wanted to live in San Francisco and asked me if she could come out and live with me. My cousin’s family and my family were really close to each other. My sweet cousin’s name is Jane and my father and Jane’s mother were brother and sister. For the longest time we lived about twenty of thirty minutes apart and we were close friends and relatives.

On Ma’s yearly visit I decided to take her shopping at Macy’s. I did not tell my mom what I had planned. At that time I actually had a girlfriend, I guess we were pretty serious. Her name was Sue and she knew my mom and my cousin Jane. So, Ma is visiting us and we get in cousin Jane’s car and the four of us drive over to San Francisco and go to the parking garage right by Macy’s. I told Ma  I wanted the four of us to go to Macy’s. Ma wanted to wait out in the car but I insisted and insisted for her to go in the store with us. We went to the women’s clothing section in Macy’s and I found a chair for me and mom. I then had cousin Jane and my sweetheart Sue bring different blouses and other female clothes to show my mom. Ma then realised that I was taking her on a shopping spree at Macy’s.

It was magical, those girls were bringing out the nicest clothing. Then Ma started smiling and got to like the idea of having a bunch of new clothes from one of the finest clothing stores you could ask for. At one point my dear, dear mother had the happiest smile I had ever seen on her face. That was a magical time for all of us. Of course after shopping we went to a wonderful restaurant in the city. 

Part two coming up. With Ma in Las Vegas!!!

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