Remembering Mama

Three generations of Hultins.
Three generations of Hultins.

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13 NIV).

Mother’s Day brought to mind some precious memories as I remembered Mama. I also remember growing up with the Hansen family from the black and white TV series called “I Remember Mama.” Having grandparents from Sweden, I loved hearing Mama (actress Peggy Wood) speak with a Scandinavian accent.

Life was simpler in the late 1940’s and early ‘50’s. Looking back, I think my mama was happy and content as a wife and mother of three girls. I never saw her angry and never heard her say an unkind word even though I pushed her to the limit on many occasions.

One of my fondest memories is of Mama playing the role of “homeroom mother” for each of us at Robert E. Lee and Washington Elementary Schools. For her, it was a job that ran ten years in a row from the time the oldest entered until the youngest graduated to John Sevier Junior High. For us, it meant taking a plateful of the best home made chocolate chips cookies in the world to each class event. Every now and then I can still catch a whiff of the sweet dough and melted chocolate chips fresh out of the oven. My sisters and I tried for years, without success, to duplicate Mama’s recipe.

The most tender times spent with Mama came when she was in a nursing home where she was known as Miss Sadie. I visited her everyday, sometimes twice, not just to check on her and make sure she was getting good care, but because I really enjoyed spending time with her. Even though she was totally blind and paralyzed on her left side from a massive stroke, she still enjoyed a cup of coffee, good conversation, and an opportunity to exercise her quick and sometimes caustic wit.

One evening she greeted me with, “I’m glad you’re finally here. You’ll never guess what the help said to one of my visitors today.” Mama referred to everyone who worked in the nursing home as “the help.”

“What did she say, Mama?”

“She told my visitor, ‘Miss Sadie’s blind. She can’t see anything.’”

Knowing Mama’s aptitude for stinging retorts, I said, “Oh. That’s not good. How did you handle that one, Mama?”

“I said, ‘Well of course I can’t see anything if I’m blind!”

“Did she upset you, Mama?”

“No. I felt kind of sorry for her after I said that.”

Changing the subject a bit, I said, “You know, Mama, with all the advances in modern medicine, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a procedure that could restore your vision. Do you want me to check into it? Would you like to have your vision restored?”

She looked upward as if she could actually see. Her eyes searched the ceiling while she considered the possibility. Finally, she said, “No. I think I’ve seen all I need to see.”

I pondered her response and wondered if I would be able to accept the physical limitations that had been imposed on her with the same grace and contentment she knew. Hopefully, I won’t have to find out; but if I do, I’ll have a good role model to emulate as I remember Mama.

4 thoughts on “Remembering Mama

  1. Hi Linda. I enjoyed reading about your mama. I wish my kids could say they never saw me angry. Maybe it’s because I had boys instead of girls? Anyway, your mother sounded like an amazing woman.

  2. Enjoyed your Remembering Mama story. It played on my heart strings because I sat beside my own Mother for many years. Good writing Linda. I too loved the Hansen family TV show. Where is that kind of entertainment today? Keep writing.

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