The Candy Lady and Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day for most people of my generation is evocative of a stereotypical mom of the forties and fifties. Some people got moms who wore pearls and heels. We got the candy lady.

Life with mother was like riding a seesaw gone rogue. A walking contradiction, she filled us with fear, humor, horror, and love.

Working full time in retail, she ran the household single-handed, except for helping my sister and I grudgingly provided. Her domestic standards were rigid and unfulfilled by the two of us.

Mother was the antithesis of helicopter parenting.

As soon as we could read and use the telephone, we were pretty much on our own when we got sick. We didn’t think this was unusual; or feel deprived or neglected. We learned how to use public transportation, communicate with medical providers and the pharmacist.

Never wasting a nanosecond caring about others opinions, retirement elevated her creativity to even greater heights.

Rummaging around in the recesses of a storage closet she unearthed an old Easter basket, filled it with candy and set it on a console in the den.  Sunday morning, mother picked up the basket, thrust her oversized red handbag over her shoulder, and made her way out the door to the church.

On their arrival at church, Mother hijacked a post beside the minister in the foyer to greet arriving attendees. I will never know if mother terrified the minister into submission or relief for a bit of levity. Dad, helpless without support from offspring who lived far away, crept away to an obscure pew.

Glaring looks from mothers who faced enduring a sermon with restless kids on a sugar high failed to ruffle mother. Husbands, some having been coerced to attend, were grateful for the serotonin relief from the chocolate.

She continued the practice for several years until age and infirmity forced her to relinquish her post. When she died, there was a notice in the church bulletin announcing the candy lady had passed away.

I can’t think of a better legacy than to be remembered as the candy lady.

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