Saturday, May 8, 2010

Thoughts on Mimi

As I cut and marked my white blouse to the wailing voice of Mahalia Jackson this morning, I thought of the many things my Mother gave me. Certainly my love of sewing, and definitely a love of Mahalia. Most of all she gave me permission. There was permission  to be as creative as I wanted, permission to hole up in my bedroom for hours oil  painting, permission to cut out Barbie clothes and make a tremendous mess with no repercussions, permission to cut patterns out on my bed when my sister wanted to come in and study in bed, permission to shop downtown and its fabric stores unattended for entire afternoons without any supervision at the age of 12, permission to design beach coverups at the age of 16 and pitch them to a local high end boutique, (they bought), just so many permissions that I knew other children didn't enjoy. I guess it was permission to be me.

Aside from permissions she gave me loves. There was the love of music most of all. Mom was a contralto in the opera. Music was all around us. She graduated from high school at 15 having skipped 3 grades. She immediately went into the work world and by age 18 had her own program on WWL radio in New Orleans sharing her love of opera all over the South. With my dad working in radio stations in the early years we had a massive album collection. He brought those records home for her. She played us show tunes, opera, and yes, our beloved Mahalia. My mom had a love of Gospel music that I am almost as passionate about as sewing. She would sing those black spirituals, Baptist hymns, and Latin choir music.  I would go with her each week to choir practice, her only time out on her own with 8 kids, and just rejoice in hearing here voice resonate through St. Johns's Cathedral in Lafayette. It gave me such a feeling listening to her voice.

Another love she gave me was the love of food. She always had a petite little figure until her later diseased years, and that was with all the Creole cooking that was staple in our home. She taught me to love "ranch style grits", shrimp etouffe, smothered okra, and so so much more, never losing that little figure. It was amazing.

As Mahalia sings in my background, may I wish all the Moms out there a beautiful Mother's Day with their families. May you remember the permissions your Mom gave you, and all of the loves. It is what made you you.......Bunny

16 comments:

  1. What a beautiful tribute to a very beautiful woman.

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  2. How sweet! I hope you also have a Happy Mother's Day.

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  3. What a gift and a beautiful tribute to your mother. Happy Mother's Day

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  4. Well this is such a lovely post and I am struck by how much onion chopping your mother must have done with such a large family as well :) I was talking to my children about this post and we have decided to make shrimp (though we call them prawns here in Australia) etouffee for my Australian mother's day dinner tonight. Can't say that it will have the same taste but I hope much of the same feeling as your post.

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  5. Thankyou, and a very happy mothers day to you too. Your mother sounds wonderful. You were very lucky. Have a great day. I did :)

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  6. What a wonderful Mother's Day tribute to your Mom. She sounds like a remarkable woman.

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  7. Happy Mother's Day....your mother sounds like she was an amazing lady, and influenced you in fantastic ways.

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  8. What a touching post! She must have been a great woman indeed and you carry on so much of her!

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  9. What a wonderful Mother's day post. I feel enriched and free just reading it.

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  10. Happy Mother's Day and many thanks for your stories about your mom and your sewing adventures!

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  11. Happy Mothers Day, Bunny! Hope you're having a wonderful day!!

    Beautiful post about your Mom. ♥

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  12. What a sweet tribute to your mother§
    She certainly was a great lady

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  13. It's so wonderful when we can have mentors and people like this who can help us and encourage us along the way. It's sounds too like you had some wonderful friends who helped you as well. What a wonderful gift!

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  14. How beautiful and inspiring. I will pass this on to my pregnant daughter!

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  15. How beautiful, and what a way to remember her.

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