I have been placing the obituaries for our local newspaper for more than 20 years. And during that time, I have been personalizing these obituaries with a small comment under the name of the deceased, a comment expressing the personality or the passions that drove each individual.
It’s like the soul and talent of each person shines through the words of those left behind to mourn their passing.
For many years, so often the description written by the family when a mother died was “She was a homemaker.”
To me, this represented all that was good about being a wife and a mother — a home well cared for, a hot dinner on the table every night without fail, clean starched shirts every morning for the husband and a medicine cabinet well stocked with Bandaids and kisses to heal all the bumps and bruises that occured in everyday life.
And this homemaker would be waiting at the door when the kids and the husband returned.
To me, this title represented everything in life I strived to be but fell short of achieving.
I was a working wife early on and I have many memories of dropping off a crying child with a babysitter and crying a few tears myself as I drove away.
My son Mickey was the worst, and that was because he had my number. He learned early on that if he cried hard enough, I would stop by the little grocery store on the corner and let him choose a little candy or a bag of potato chips.
I should have realized early on that he was working me when he would also cry in the afternoons when I picked him up because he had to leave his beloved Mrs. Jacobs, his babysitter.
That 54-year-old man still knows how to get around me and I love it.
My mom was a homemaker in the truest sense of the word. She stayed home keeping a spotless house and preparing three course meals every night — usually a good part of the meal being vegetables she had grown in her garden in the backyard. I considered her a true wonder woman.
The minute I graduated from high school, this amazing woman took a job and discovered that she could sell sand in the Sahara. She worked at a men’s store and delighted in helping college students from the nearby university look their best. She had a true eye for men’s fashions.
My handsome dad was always dressed to perfection and he owed his stylish splendour to Mama’s good taste.
And she never let down her standards, even when she was working six days a week.
Well, maybe just a little bit, as she and my dad would eat out once or twice a week and bringing home hotdogs from Mashburn’s hot dog stand was never a problem as my dad would eat anything she placed before him.
The last few years, I have placed obits in the paper of women who have done everything from serving as a WAC during World War II to performing on opera stages around the world, and everything in between.
All I can say is kudos to all the talented and interesting women who pass through our lives. We love them all.
But I consider myself so fortunate to be one of the ones who grew up under the security and comfort of being raised by a true homemaker.