By Judy Berman
Any time I get a whiff of a fresh-baked apple pie, it takes me back to my teen years and our home in the country.
The apples for that pie might have been picked only a few hours earlier. As it bakes, my Mom prepares spaghetti sauce made from tomatoes in our garden.
Savoring her dishes, it’s hard to imagine her as a novice in the kitchen. But she was when she first married. Mom would lament, years later, about Dad’s ordeal when he was in the Army during World War II.
She said Dad had three choices: eat her cooking, the food at the Mess Hall, or starve.
Evidently, Mom was a quick learner, because Dad survived. Not wanting me to repeat her mistake, Mom made sure I was better prepared and knew my way around the kitchen.
Her lesson in survival skills didn’t end there.
While I was in high school, she taught me how to type on a manual typewriter in our kitchen. Mom blindfolded me so I wouldn’t focus on the keys. It worked. As a result, my typing speed and accuracy improved.
Mom was most in her element when she was reading by a cozy fireplace. Her constant companions were Alexander Dumas, Charles Dickens and Jane Eyre. She’d take my brother, Hank, and me to the library, where I’d immerse myself in adventure stories, Agatha Christie mysteries and exotic places.
She hated the cold. So why did she leave her comfort zone? Some moms do just that when their child gets involved in sports. They sit on the bleachers or sidelines for hours to root their child on. In my case, when I joined the Girl Scouts, Mom became an assistant leader, and encouraged me to learn more while having fun.
Mom would brave the night’s chill to point out the constellations to help me earn one of my many badges. She’d join me on camp-outs, and make s’mores and other treats over an open campfire.
There are so many things that remind me of Mom. I just wish I could share one more day with her to tell her how much I appreciate the time she spent with me and for her love – even when I was being an ornery teenager.
Happy Mother’s Day to all moms on Sunday, May 12th.
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Music Video – Alan Parsons Project, “Time”
Main Photo: My Mom, Milly Fiet, and me in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Photo: Mom and Dad outside their home in Boulder City, Nevada