Momma is an organizer … at heart (I’m afraid sister Connie took most of the actual skills when she was born…). Because Momma is so active with all her stuff however, it often gets out of place. For this reason, she doesn’t always feel organized.
The following is a repost of something I wrote two years ago when Momma was just 88 years old. I put it on my personal blog, Riverwrites: Namaima. I am reposting it here because this is where it really belongs.
Momma’s bedroom doubles as an office/library. There isn’t an official library in her home; she has books all over the place and in every room. She has bookshelves in the TV room and magazine racks that hold the intellectual and exotic subscriptions she receives monthly. In her living room there are books on the coffee table, across the back of the piano, stacked on the tops and bottoms of end tables, and sometimes books she is currently using for research are stacked on one or more of the sitting chairs.
It’s her bedroom however, where she has her central source of energy. Were it not for the narrow single bed positioned indiscreetly against the inside wall, no one would ever refer to this room as a “bedroom”. Beautiful floor to ceiling bookshelves made of hard cherry wood line the wall from the entrance to the narrow door of her closet; a large office desk stretches from the head of her bed to the corner and then curves around to line nearly half of the next wall. A filing cabinet fills the space between the end of the desk and the antique dresser that takes over the remaining space of that wall up to her closet door. Her small frame fits nicely into the tiny space between the dresser and the bookshelves every morning when she gets into the closet to get her clothes and gets dressed for the day.
During the day, her bed serves as a work table. She covers the space with open books and piles of papers related to the project she is doing. Her computer sits, as if on a throne, at the bend in her desk. We often gather at the computer to view the progress of her projects or to show her what we are working on.
A few nights ago I was looking for a particular picture from my past – one from the blizzard of ’77, to be exact. Mom knew right where it should be. Isaiah followed me into her room where she pulled a photo box from one of the shelves in the cherry book case, a box with my name neatly printed on the front.
I started thumbing through that box, sharing with my mother and my son various old photos I’d completely forgotten about, scenes from a past that seemed both funny and surreal.
Soon Mom got out another box, one labeled “misc.” indicating that it required attention some day, and she too, started pulling out old photos that bore the images of a life once lived.
We laughed and told stories, sometimes different versions of the same shared moment in a time long ago. Isaiah saw glimpses of his mother and grandmother as girls and young women, people who lived not so differently from him. He saw us in action with him during a time that he himself cannot recall; and he saw our lives before he ever came to earth. Somehow, I think this matters.
Perhaps what really matters is that together, we shared in the making of new memories. It was spontaneous and genuine; it was simple, yet more grand and spectacular than any amount of hard-earned cash could ever purchase. It was a moment in my life that, even though there are no new photos to capture its image for future viewing, is now imprinted forever in the eyes of my mind.
Oh! I do hope that my mind will stay organized like my mother’s mind and its manifestation in her home! She is such an amazing woman and her style of organization reflects her eclectic array of interests and the on-going curiosity that propels her through her days.
She thinks her “piles” are her curses, but in truth, it is her piles where so many treasures lie for us, her offspring and descendants.