May 6, 2017 at 3:04 pm #3642
Mother’s Day tribute to Rema Gee, my “Rose”:
I am sure that we all have our own special memories of our mother, things that stick in our memory and come to the forefront on their birthdays, or Mother’s Day, especially when they are gone. Mine are no different, some good, a few not so much, but the good so outweigh “the not so much”.
My mother lived an extraordinary life and several years ago, shortly after she past away I started to write her biography. One of these days I hope to finish it and share her with everyone, but for now, since we are thinking about “Mother’s Day” this is how my mom and dad used to make Christmas extra special for this little kid of theirs before coming to America.
We were living in the heart of London, as memory serves I was about 5 or 6 when this tradition began. My mother was a “court dressmaker”. Meaning her clientele were mostly ladies of the aristocracy. So, the place we were living at the time had living quarters on the top level, a lovely entry living room and office on the street level and a large basement with cutting tables, sewing machines etc. where patterns would be cut and finally dresses would be made.
Each Christmas my parents placed a large Christmas tree in the entry level living room by the fire place with gifts for the clients. One day I remember my father making a comment that all that was lacking were children. They both got very quiet and looked at each other as if they had just hit that “ah-ha moment”
Just outside of London sat a large grey looking building behind a big gated entry. When we drove there I had flash-backs to my boarding school days in the country and was sure I was going to be placed in one again, but I was oh so very wrong!
My mother took my hand as we walked inside and my dad asked for some lady by name. When she came out they all shook hands and she thanked them for coming saying how unusual their request was, and were they sure. “YES”, my mother said emphatically, “very sure”.
We were asked to follow the lady down the hall where 12 children of varied ages were waiting. The lady told them that my parents had invited all of them to stay with us for the Christmas holydays, “would they like that, since none of them were going home, they didn’t have to go, it was their choice” ….. Smiles lit all their faces and all agreed. My parents said they would be back the next day to pick them up.
That night my father, with the help of a few of his friends, turned the work room in the basement into a dorm room. Fresh mattresses were placed on all the tables and all work equipment was stored away. The “beds” were made and then early the next day my mother and a few of her friends went shopping for gifts while my father and his friends took enough vehicles to pick up the children.
The three weeks of the Christmas holiday our house was full of laughter and children’s noise. My mother cooked all the ethnic foods some of the children had long forgotten
Each day, before lunch dad took us all, two by two walking to the nearby park and back until the time came that it was time to take them back to the orphanage. Many tears were shed on those days, but in a way I guess that was the beginning of an extra “mother’s day” too.
That became a Christmas tradition for several years until my mother retired from that business and we moved out of the city.
Until my grandchildren were born and she was surrounded with children again, I can’t recall ever seeing my mother so totally happy again… Perhaps that is what it means, being born to be a mother!May 6, 2017 at 6:28 pm #3645
What a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I can now see why her daughter turned out to be the woman I know today and am privileged to call Girlfriend.
I, fortunately, still have my Mother with me. She will be 103 in July and is still going. I feel blessed that she is still here and can tell stories about how it was in her childhood 100 years ago. How many of us today can say that.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO EVERY MOM OUT THERE AND ESPECIALLY TO MY MOM, MARTHA.
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