Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Manuela Enriqueta Villa de Martinez

Yesterday would have been my mother's 99th birthday.
She was wise, funny, could be moderately obscene, and totally full of mischief.

We lived together, more on than off, for almost fifty years. I lived in my parents house until I was 21 and was married. Over the next decade we saw a bit less of each other because of distance and transportation issues. Within 6 months of James, Kate, and me moving to Pasadena she and my dad moved in with us. We lived together until illness made it necessary for them to move to a convalescent home.

She loved both of our kids and did everything in her power to spoil them in small ways - when she could. She had been spoiled by the grandmother who raised her and felt other children should receive the same shamelessly spoilful loving.

She loved to retell tales where she had been naughty as a child. She would tell the tale with the same inflections and pauses, time after time. When I was really young I quickly would grow bored with the story. As we both aged I came to appreciate the rhythm and intonation that I heard in my head just as the words came out of her mouth. I am lucky that we recorded some of her story telling.

Once we were chatting while she was lying on her bed - sorry to say no tape recorder in sight - and she began to start another story. "You know, when I was a baby, they used my...my... (searching for word) buggy to move contraband to Pancho Villa's troops. They'd put the flour or sugar or whatever ( I never asked what that might have been) under the mattress like thing, put me on top, and covered me with a blanket. We'd go to the border, cross the border, and leave the contraband in Mexico".

"Mom, why have you never told me this before???? You know how I love history. You know I love family stories."

A slow smile stretched across her face - "Well... you never asked". Even bigger smile.

Miss you Mom.