I used to clean my little 34 foot trailer-made home once a week and vacuum it every day. I was single and had three cats, and although I loved animals I couldn’t stand the cat hair gathering on the soft patchwork comforter of my bed or entangling in the tweed fabric of my rocking chair. It only took me a short while to vacuum such a tiny space. As I finished I still looked on with pride, my private nook, freshly painted white cabinets and sand carpet, decorated to suit a 20-something college graduate on a tight budget.
I ran a popular gift shop in the small town of Ojai where young girls would swarm after school looking for the latest Beanie Baby or cool gag gift to play with their friends. Sometimes we sold candy and treats, and they enjoyed those, too. My co-worker was a tall and beautiful gal with long blonde hair. She rode Andalusian horses and loved wearing bright red lipstick. Her mom would come and hang out; I remember longing for their country simplicity. I marveled at the happiness they shared of getting together with family and friends at the Deer Lodge or shooting the breeze over ice-cold lemonade on a blistering triple digit Saturday.
Life was pretty quiet then. I moved to that town to start over, to find myself, to figure out what was next after Northern California. Getting sober I enjoyed the birds singing in the morning along with a cup of tea as I looked out my front door-a sliding glass door-where I could see the world as I wanted it to be. Johnny Cash’s old house towered above on the mountainside. Wow. To know him when. I used to read my meditations on sobriety faithfully, prayed to the god of my meek understanding, and never watched television because I didn’t have cable. That was okay by me.
My neighbors would fight-holler and scream profanities. Their children rode bikes in and around the crackling black top laid between the mini-dwellings of those whose paychecks came from convenience stores, or the county, or small gift shops like mine. On the weekend I listened to country rock radio through the fence. Never once did I actually see who turned it on, but thank goodness the music suited my fancy. I’d put on a tank top and have a seat in my chair on the cozy patio. I used to bathe in the heat of the summer.
Every so often my mom would come up to stay. The trailer was her little get away from suburban reality. As the white Jetta pulled up I’d smile-peaking out the window in front of my kitchen sink. Then through the gate she’d come with her overnight bag and pillow. Once settled there was usually a sigh of relief, “I just love this little trailer!” We’d relax, get something to eat in town for lunch, hit the antique stores, and then end the night watching a movie. The next morning we might work in the dollhouse-sized yard laying bark and potting plants. Two single women. Mother and daughter. Kindred spirits in many ways-more than we even knew back then.
I used to look forward to those visits.
Just me and my mom.
Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, to my blogging buddy moms, and to mothers everywhere who love their children beyond remembering how things “used to” be, even though it’s nice to stop and reflect once in a while.