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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Nippie . . .

This will be my third Mother's Day without her.
I think of her daily and miss her immensity,
but the memories, oh the memories.
Those will be with me always
for this woman born on sets of 3,
named Wanda June, but known as Nippie,
lived, laughed, and loved
and my life is richer because of her.

Inspired by a friend from many years back, I have decided to list just a few things I remember about my Mom.

1. She was beautiful.

Proudly so as a young lady, reluctantly so after growing older and added weight.

2. I remember how much Mom enjoyed working as a florist and later as a teacher.

When she did something, she did it 100%.

3. I remember her cutting my hair so short I would cry and she would try to make me feel better by calling it a "pixie cut" which made me think of Tinkerbell, and who could be upset about looking like Tinkerbell.

4. She was a big fan of Presidents Kennedy and Clinton. Many conversations about that. The moral indiscretions, the political achievements.

5. I remember the camping trips to the lake, the dam, and our friends' cabin where the grown-ups would play Rook through the night. There was no question that she was there for the cards and not for the outdoors experience.

6. I remember the time we were coming down the mountain and Mom stopped the car so Dad could get in the driver seat in order to run over a snake.

She HATED snakes. I HATE snakes.

7. I remember Mom passionately loved her black Tornado. If it is possible for a human and a vehicle's personalities to mesh into one - she did with that car; it was an extension of her.

8. I remember Mom had a soft spot for family pets, and even though she insisted the 165 lb dog was strictly to stay outdoors - she turned a blind eye to when he would be inside. And stepping across him to get down the hall was no easy thing to over-look.

9. I remember Mom crying in her bedroom after talking with my older brother over the phone while he was away at school. He wanted to come home, it was too hard. She wanted him home too, it was so hard.

10. I remember Mom making us breakfast every morning before school.

11. I remember when Mom decided my sister and I needed to look alike - right down to the Jheri curl hairstyle on picture day.

12. I remember when Mom would have us hide her collection of Avon nail polish when Grandma came over because she didn’t want to listen to her gripe about what she considered "frivolous". Mom tried so hard to never let it show how much Grandma's rejection and constant criticism hurt her.

13. I remember how pleased Mom was when her neighbor in Roanoke, who barely spoke English, complemented her on being such a good neighbor.

14. I remember how resistant mom was to learning to use a computer and how she finally set aside her pride and got one after her 18 month old granddaughter showed her how to turn it on, play Mickey Mouse 1-2-3, and turn it off.

15.Mom was a phenomenal cook.

16. I remember how controlled Mom seemed when the swing-set flipped over on me and there was blood everywhere.

17. I remember how controlled Mom seemed when I got 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree burns on the back of my leg when I wrecked the motor cycle.

18. I remember how controlled Mom seemed when I ran the nail through my foot, almost cut the tip of my heel off, got a black eye from running into the door, puncturing the back of my throat with a flag while running down the hall, and the countless other bodily injuries I sustained as a child.

19. I remember listening to the Fifth Dimension 8-Track tape all the way to the beach because Mom loved their music. And Herb Albert - oh, holy cow, how she luved that man --- I mean his music. {wink wink}

20. She was a PROUD woman.

21. I remember when Mom used to crochet afghan blankets while watching TV. They were incredibly warm and required wrap-around attire on Saturday mornings.

22. I remember Mom laughing so hard at my younger brother and his silly expressions when he dressed up as a hobo for Halloween. Cutest hobo ever.

23. I remember the time Mom took us girls to a concert in Maryland where she got frustrated at the men at a service station who couldn’t give directions. “I’ve never been so damn lost in my damn life – damn it!”

24. Mom said “damn it!” a lot. Whether in every day conversation or in cursing, she owned that phrase.

25. I remember the time Mom decided she wanted to learn how to cook Chinese food. Sweet-n-Sour Pork. Worst . dinner . ever. God Bless Dad for taking that one for the team.

26. I was mad at Mom for moving away to college while I was in high school. I was in a "Marsha Marsha Marsha" stage and felt the pressure to compete with even more kids for her attention. I missed her a lot.


27. I remember Mom sitting at the kitchen table working cross-word puzzles.

28. I remember asking Mom if she loved my younger brother most. She told me I was her teddy bear, her comfort child. She never denied loving him the most – but I did get a better sense of her unique love for me.

29. I remember the time Mom said we couldn’t go to the beach until the house was clean – so I got out of bed and started vacuuming. Rather than getting upset at me for cleaning at 1 a.m., she and everyone else joined in to clean the house.

30. Mom drove fast. One of my older brother’s classmates told her “I’ve always wanted to fly Mrs. K., but I never thought it would be in a car.”

31. She was one of the best drivers I’ve ever known.

32. I remember visiting Mom at her apartment when she was at college and how she told me that you get used to the train noise after awhile. She was so proud when my sister and I graduated from the same college several years later, and how all our differences would dissipate when we visited even more years later to have lunch at a house that had been converted to a restaurant.

33. Mom loved kids and had an open-door policy at our house.

34. She let me and my sister skip school on my sister's birthday to shop at a mall 2 hours away, but first we had to show her we could read a map.

35. I remember Mom doing my great-grandmother’s hair every Saturday night – then we’d watch Lawrence Welk.

36. I remember Mom’s brilliant smile.

37. Mom was scared to death to put her head under water and even though she took swimming lessons at the pool to learn to do this, she never succeeded in overcoming that phobia.

38. I remember when Mom flipped the canoe on a Father’s Day camping trip down the Trough and lost all the pots and pans. We cooked peas in the can then Mom and Dad had to make their coffee out of the same (washed out) can. Dad never complained. Bless*his*heart!

39. I remember asking Mom to change my name to Susie so it would be like all the other girls' in Kindergarten.

40. I remember Mom giving us a sip of slow-gin-fizz before sending us off to bed before the New Years Eve parties. Little to no gin, lots of fizz.

41. I remember how hard Mom laughed when I wrote crazy stories about her fly swatter escapades, how she would have a different colored one for each of us kids and the conduct that would provoke its use. Her form of corporal punishment.

42. I remember Mom shopping at the clothes outlet and getting us lots of clothes. She enjoyed shopping for clothes.

43. Mom LOVED shoes.

44. She LOVED to read.

45. I remember the time Mom had to be helped off a ride at the amusement park because of her fear of heights.

46. I remember how angry Mom was when I had to leave and go back to work the day after Christmas one year.

Never made the mistake to not take off after Christmas again.

47. I remember Mom supporting me while I tried to find a social work job after college.

48. I remember Mom’s excitement when I told her I was pregnant.

49. I remember Mom and my daughter giggling like two teenage girls one night after the rest of us had gone to bed.

50. I remember how Mom could be brutally honest and never minced words. A family trait that didn’t end with her and something I have to stop and I catch myself from doing, remembering how much it hurt to be on the receiving end.

Moms have such an impact on each and every one of us.

Consequently as they shape our lives, they in turn shape the world.

Happy Mother’s Day.


  1. Niki, what a sweet and moving sentiment to your Mom. It made me tear up a little, and made me miss my Mom more than ever.

    I loved Herb Albert too!! I meant his music, lol!

    Here's to wonderful memories to our Mom's!!! And, by the way. your sounds like some one I would have really liked to know!!
    Nancy (bamamom)

  2. That was very touching!
    I know how you feel. I lost my Mom in 1997, so it has been 14 years. I still think of her daily. It is very tough going through life without her, but I know she is with me in spirit!
    Big Hugs!

  3. Oh Susie....I mean...Nicki! :0) What great memories of your dear Mom. Almost made me tear up to read those words. She sounded like someone with a lot of heart, personality and character. And I'm sure, no doubt, those traits have been passed along to you. I can definetely see resemblances in the two of you! It's sweet. Happy Mothers Day! <3

  4. That is a very nice tribute to your mom and a lot of wonderful (and not so wonderful) memories. She does sound like someone I would love to get the chance to meet. I hope you have a good mother's day.

  5. What a touching post about your mom. I lost my mom seven years ago and also wrote a post about her on my Margaret Says blog on Mother's Day. Great minds think alike. :) Love all the wonderful memories you shared of your mom. It truly is amazing the impact moms have on our lives....even after they are gone. My sister and I joke about how every day we turn into our mom just a little bit more.