A couple times a week I look through the same set of photographs that we used during Mamie’s visitation and I cry. Its good for me to cry, and it is not necessarily the missing her that makes me cry – its remembering what happened around the time the photo was taken, or wondering where it was taken, by whom, and a bunch of other details. Most of the time I then laugh because, something I don’t think has been said enough about mom is that she was kind of a goof.
She went through a lot of really tough times, from losing a few of her siblings when she was really young, to losing both of her parents when she was quite young, to losing two of her boys long before that was fair. But through all of this, if you sat with mom for more than ten minutes, it was impossible for her not to crack a joke or make weird noises, or yodel, or something to break the tension. Her sense of humour was always right there for all to see.
Knowing what I know of my brothers, this performative aspect with her humour is something we all have. Being in a house with Mamie all those years, it was unavoidable to develop a sense of humour – no matter how goofy or strange it may be.
To come back to the beginning, this picture is one that was always hanging on a wall somewhere in whichever house or apartment mom lived in. This is my first Christmas and the only photo I have ever seen of all 7 of us boys together. Who took it? Why is almost everyone laughing?
And speaking of sense of humour, that’s me in the little red and white pin stripe number. She dressed me oddly my whole adolescence and then jokingly chastised me my whole adult life for wearing weird clothes. One of the last things she said to me was “What the hell do you have on?”
I must say, I think that was one of the funniest moments of my life.