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Friday, October 14, 2016

I REMEMBER MAMMA!


If you are as old as I am, you might remember a TV show titled: ‘I REMEMBER MAMMA’, about I believe a Norwegian family of immigrant parents and their American-born offspring. It had nice stories that spoke through the youngest daughter: Dagmar. Two of the actors were Peggy Woods as Mamma and Dick Van Patten as the oldest son Lars and the youngest child, Dagmar, was portrayed by Robin Morgan (who later became a radical feminist activist and poet).

Although the accents were different, they seemed to meld into a giant framework of life as I knew it, this TV life was a pretend life for mine.
Robin Morgan
 Mamma always wore an apron, and you always found her in the kitchen, where she reigned as queen of the household. There was always a warm glow that emanated from the room and gave off a warmth that held you by your heart and soul and told you: you were home.

Coming home from school, I would rush through the door and shout out: “Mom, I’m home!” It made me feel better from whatever day I had, from a good grade to a cuff on the ears by one of the Franciscan Brothers that patrolled the schoolyard and hallways of Our Lady of Lourdes. Throwing my coat down on a chair and dropping my book bag, I would scoot over to Ma and see how she was.

The warmth of the kitchen generated only good things, as the days grew shorter, the afternoon sun slowly giving way to the evening gloom, the smell of Mom’s menu grew stronger, and the anticipation of what this amazing woman could do would take over all my senses. As garlic would sizzle in a pan of olive oil, a large piece of fish sitting in the brown wrapper of the fishmonger’s doing, I would pepper her with questions. Important matters were discussed, what life was like for her as a child, or the inner workings of how this or that worked, causing her to pause gently and for a moment and assemble her answer. When she was done answering me, she would look at me and say: “Now go do your homework.”

When I was done with my homework, changed from my school clothes into my play clothes, I would go over to the kitchen table and watch her cook, looking at her hands and her gold wedding band that always held my curiosity as how it could do such wonders.
 
Mom & Dad
As I got older, many evening I would come home before I married and stepping off the train would head to my car in anticipation of a wonderful meal sitting in an oven waiting for me to come and claim it. That warm light would remind me that I was home, that she was there and how lucky I felt my dad was to have married such a great cook. He never complained about what she made of how it tasted.

There was one more thing that started to happen in later life. I discovered I could easily entertain Mom, make her laugh and that laugh became almost iconic in a way.

Yes, I remember Mamma!




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