I was cleaning out some drawers the other day, and in my jewelry, I found a memory. You know when you stumble across something and it brings a smile to your face.
A little while after our Mom passed away, my sister and I, at the request of our Dad, went through mom’s belongings. Her clothes, her makeup and her jewelry.
We entered what mom always called, “The Fuddle Duddle” room. It was so named from a term used by then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. She even had a paper sign she’d gotten from somewhere, taped to the door. Apparently Prime Minister Trudeau had uttered a two-word obscenity, and when asked what it was he said, he muttered, “Fuddle Duddle”. That term went on to title a Canadian Satirical Comic Series. ‘Fuddle Duddle’ in our house, meant a ‘room for multiple purposes’. It held Mom’s closet (she had so many clothes she had to have her own), the ironing board with wrinkled clothes, the sewing machine with a pile of mending, the office desk with papers, and Mom’s makeup table. You get the picture; an ‘everything’ room.
We giggled at some of the clothes she kept from a reeeeaaaalllllyyyyy long time ago. But they were wonderful. It brought back all those memories of mom and dad going to dances. Mom made quite a few of her own clothes, and ours. (Oh ‘shudder’…just had a flashback to ‘Fortrel pantsuits’). Mom’s dresses were mostly long. One a beautiful peacock blue with long, lace-like sleeves; one glittery silver with an empire waist; a sleeveless, bright green gown with a stark white collar; and a forest green velvet gown we couldn’t find. She must have let that one go.
Our favourite, that we also couldn’t find, was a short, black taffeta dress, sequins on the bodice, with an black chiffon cape attached from the shoulder blades down that ‘flowed’ when she walked. Ohhhh we loved playing in that one. Our daughters, Bethany and Jessica were thrilled with the finds and we kept those dresses for their dress-up days. We had some laughs, and some tears, and moved on.
We were at Mom’s makeup table, and her jewelry was also there and after sorting through old makeup, I, or Colleen, opened a drawer. I exclaimed, “Ohhhhh, there it is” and started to cry. Pretty soon we were both bawling our eyes out. It was an old, square, purse sized, ashtray. My Mom was a smoker and used to carry this thing in her purse. It had a rosette on top and at one time had some sort of fake stone in it, which was long gone by now. (She probably got it through Avon. (I remember the Avon Lady coming to our house in Champion and she gave me a teeny, tiny, accordion folded rain hat 😊). I can remember sitting in the pew at the United Church while Mom was at Choir Practice and I would play with this dirty, stinky old ashtray. Opening it, closing it, folding little pieces of paper into it, taking them out. I loved it.
Sometimes I wonder about the things we buy, or possess, or covet. They aren’t the important things in life. Corey and I had this conversation the other day, and he said, “Mom, I don’t care about owning, or possessing things. I want instead to be content.” Good goal. I remember a time when I had returned home one night to see I had gotten 5 phone calls from one of my kids. (They were at their dad’s that weekend). When I returned the call I was told, “Yes, Corey called you, he HAS to tell you something.” Corey was 9 at the time. Very excitedly Corey says, “Mom! Guess what? I found my wallet!” (Although I did not realize it was missing.) “And guess what else!” he says even more excitedly. “There is $1.70 in it!” “Wow,” I reply, “that is awesome!” Thinking to myself, yes Corey, you are very rich, and times like that remind me, so am I.
Colleen let me keep the ashtray and I still have it. It too sits in a drawer in my dresser. Still stained. It’s not worth anything, it’s not made of a previous metal, no diamonds or gems adorn it. But it’s worth everything to me; it is more costly than silver or gold, because it contains a memory.
‘Just A Little Something’ from my heart.