Mama’s self portrait drawn in pastel chalks.

Woman done in pastels.

Self portrait my mother did pastels for an art class, while in college

A few years ago, my sister, Carolyn, took this picture with her iPhone and emailed it to me. Our mother drew it while she was in college at the University of Georgia in Athens in about 1932.By using today’s technology, I was able to share it with you.  When I look at it, my mind steps back in time and I visualize a young, slinder, brunette hard at work, pastel chalks in hand, sketching away.

The self portrait is Mama alright.  Her red lipstick is a dead give away, plus her dark hair and hairstyle–when she was young and beautiful.

My mother was very artistic, but never got to apply it.  That was how things went when you eloped with my father, and then had five children.

She always only wore  Revlon red lipstick and red nail polish.  Revlon products added to her polished looks, no matter where she was or what she was wearing.

How do some women pull that off?  Where do they go in their minds to present such an aura of grace and feminity?

She was also an excellent cook.  Seriously.  As I think back over my childhood, my mouth still waters at the memory of the fragrant aroma of her deep dish pizza.   One of my favorite deserts was home made cream puffs, filled with vanilla ice cream and laced with Hershey’s chocolate syrup on top.  Just imagine those pop overs with ice cream oozing out of the pastry.  No, I have never made them, but you can!   Sunday dinners and holiday meals, she prepared single handedly.  I think she must have liked having her own space in her kitchen, because none of us were ever invited in to assist.   She was a true homemaker, day after day, year after year.  I feel very fortunate to have her cookbooks. They range from the first one in her married life, until years later.  How that happened, I will never know.  I always feel very connected to her, whenever I use the recipes she prepared for us so long ago.  Her handwritten banana bread recipe is absolutely delicious.

What memories can you draw on, whether they be with pastel chalks, pen and ink or yarns to knit or crochet a favorite pattern?  I feel it is so important to share our life experiences with our families.  I have no real idea of the life my mother’s mother, who we knew as Marmee, lived as a child or young woman and mother.  There were always so many people in the room, vieing for her attention, that I got left out because I was the youngest.  There is an exception to that though.  Marmee always made biscuits from scratch–in the pantry off the big kitchen, with a large, black wood burning stove.  I can well remember our quality time in that tiny pantry, as she scooped flour from the flour bin to the left of where I stood, poured it into a large mixing bowl, added farm fresh buttermilk and swirled it around in the bowl.  Yes, she rolled out the dough, on the floured tin covered surface with a wooden rolling pin and cut out all the biscuits with the lip of a milk glass.  No wonder I have always loved to bake.  I had the world’s best instructor!

When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in.  Kirstin Armstrong

Thanks for dropping by.    Kathleen