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  • Jane St. Anthony

Questions for My Mother

My mother was simply my mother. I didn’t think beyond that when I was young. Today is the day after Christmas, almost 17 years after her death, and I’m thinking about her, as I do every day.


I wish that I could talk to her about her life.


Was the Great Depression and the fact that my father supported his parents during it really the reason my parents didn’t marry for ten years?


What happened during her student teaching days that ended her interest in teaching history?


Did she ever see the stillborn baby girl she delivered? Did she imagine who the children she miscarried might have been?


Was she prepared to have three of her four children be smart-asses?


Did it hurt her to watch me iron my hair so I could be more like Cher?


How difficult was it for her—a very soft-spoken, private person—to march through downtown Minneapolis holding a sign condemning U.S. involvement in the “dirty war” in El Salvador?


Was it faith or grandchildren that saved her from total despair after the death of her son, the one who wasn’t a smart ass?


I was a willful young person who went to parties every weekend wearing so much eye makeup that I could barely lift my head. I felt sorry for her as she watched “Columbo,” a detective show, on Friday night with a bowl of popcorn between her and my dad.


I would like to give my mother an update: Now I feel sorry for people who go out on the weekend. I like to stay home with my husband and eat popcorn and watch maybe two episodes of “Father Brown,” if I can stay awake.


I cared for my mother near the end of her life and it depleted me. I wish that I could talk to her now. I miss her so much.



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©2019 Jane St. Anthony