Friday, November 8, 2013

Nellie Harriet Martinez, 1912-2001

My mom was in her early to mid-70s when this picture was taken.  Most folks who met her when she moved here thought of her as the grandma of either Kate or Matthew.  Invariably the first word they would use to describe her was sweet.  

Sweetness and light born from a life that was an intense mix of hardscrabble existence and shining brightness.  This is a woman who skipped herself a half grade in school - and the school officials didn't put her back.  

I don't want to make her out to be a saint.  There were harsh parts to her, but at my age, I better understand why she had those harsh corners.  She loved deeply and was immensely loyal .  
She could be kindness made manifest.  And she was a wizard with leftovers.

Kate's 6th grade teacher, Marie Kidd, had a phrase she would use when the students got out of hand - she would smile and say that they were behaving in a way that was, "rude, crude, and socially unacceptable".  

Well, my mom could be that, too.

Here we are on my graduation night.  I'm 17 and she's 57.
My dad took the picture.

I think it's even better in color.

Happy birthday, mom.


  1. It seems to me, when you're 13-17 years old, your parent are just embarrassing, period.

    1. Ah, that's where my mom, and my dad, were both somewhat iconoclastic.
      When I was 13 or so, I went to camp and I learned a couple of very teen sorts of things to do. Example - when in a group and someone burps, everyone would quickly put their thumb to the top of their head, fingers spread wide open. Last person to do so, had to say, "Excuse me".

      As I mentioned I brought this home, so for about a month or so, my mom, dad, and I played this game - at home and in public. I can not imagine what others must have thought to have seen a couple of 50 year-olds playing this game.

      I did find my folks restrictive, but not embarrassing.

  2. Some of the best people have sharp corners.

    1. I think part of herr challenge was sharp corners and a big heart all mixed together. And as is apparent - a wacky sense of humor.