Mother Longenecker still lives in the same house she and Daddy bought soon after they got married in 1940. Their bedroom looked the same for decades, but it’s changed over the years. Here’s what is missing . . . and what I remember from so long ago.
1. The Art Deco inlaid-wood vanity where Mother sits on a bench to comb her long, glossy black hair before twisting it into a bun topped with a Mennonite covering.
2. A matching wardrobe smelling of moth balls and a copy of Sane Sex Life, with a dust cover of scarlet red and white. Black and white pen illustrations included. Eyes wide in wonder.
3. The chenille bedspread. I love the fluffy texture and the furry feeling under the pillows when I smooth the spread as I make my parents’ bed.
5. Evening in Paris cologne. Did Mom buy it for herself or was it a birthday gift from Daddy?
6. A jar of Noxzema. Sticking a finger deep in and gouging out a spoon of cleansing cream that feels cold on my skin even in the summertime. Can you smell the camphor and menthol just now? Maybe a touch of eucalyptus?
7. Daddy. He died in 1985.
Postcript: What is still there? Hanging on the wall above a highboy, a framed pastel-tinted print by Wallace Nutting. The title on the left reads “Wig Wag Churning” (girl seated churning butter). A phrase on the right: “Wallace Nutting.” As a youngster, I kept looking for a boy named Wallace cracking nuts. Much later I figure out Mr. Nutting must be the artist.
What images or scents do you associate with your mother?
Another loved one?