Meet the Lites – Mom II
Good morning, y’all. If brains were a dollar bill, I’d be three quarters short. I woke up feeling pretty good this morning and I thought, “I’ll just walk the loop around the park for a little look-see”. Well, I got four trailers down before my anklet started going off like one of those disks they give you at Chili’s to let you know your table is ready. Lesson learned. The run back to the phone to call my monitor was plenty of exercise enough for today.
Today, we’ll further plumb the depths of my soul, and relate more facts and suppositions about my Mom. By her own account, Mom was an excellent student and was typically at the head of her class. There don’t seem to be any contrary stories, which is the advantage of having your closest sibling eight years your junior. We’ll advance the story of Mom’s scholastic accomplishments to high school. My Daddy was a Senior in high school, and Mom a Freshman, when the “love that knew no bounds”, germinated. My Daddy was athletic, quick of wit, and “came from a good family”. My Mom was pretty, for a fourteen year old, but she was, a fourteen year old.
There are absolutely no accounts of what the burning issue of their immediate marriage was. My sister Charlotte was born over two years after their marriage. Maybe there was a pregnancy scare, real or orchestrated, I can’t say. Clearly, there was a fourteen year old girl who was ready to leave home, for whatever reason. The closest I ever got to a reason was a rambling dialogue from Mom a few years ago about men going off to war wanting their bloodline to continue (sounds like a line Daddy might use) and the fact that service wives got an “allotment”. The allotment rings a little truer for me. An opportunistic country girl might see this is as the opportunity to break free from whatever was going on at home and take a chance that with an “allotment” she might be able to make it on her own.
Anyway, the happy couple lived with the Lowes until Daddy’s induction. After Charlotte arrived, Mom moved out on the farm with the Lites and waited for Daddy to come home. There were still sisters of Daddy’s living at home, so Mom had Granny and Grandma to watch the baby. Mom had her sisters-in-law to be a teenager with. Mom’s accounts of this time were very happy with the exception of how “spoiled” the family made my sister.
Mom finished high school and had high hopes of going to college, perhaps even “reading for the law”. Her hopes were dashed by Grandpa Lowe, who told Mom she was “putting on airs”, and he wasn’t going to stand for it. The crushing blow to Mom’s aspirations for a higher education came when Grandpa Lowe asked the question, “Do you think you should do better than me?” Grandpa Lowe’s own insecurities could not allow him to have a daughter (woman) be more successful than him. The theme continued on and on throughout his life, even though Mom was very successful in her business dealings. I guess, for Grandpa Lowe, it was one thing to have a strong woman at your side carrying you to success, but quite another to have your child outshine you.
Well, despite all of the best efforts of the Nazis and the Nipponese, Daddy returned home physically sound. The big tattoo of Buddha on his torso spoke volumes about his mental condition. In spite of Buddha, or maybe because of it, Daddy was given a lot of time, by Mom’s account, to get himself squared away. One day, Mom’s patience clock ran out, and she and Charlotte moved back to town to live with the Lowes. For Daddy to follow, he had to agree to a course of self improvement that would lead to success for all.
Now, I have charted some crooked courses in my lifetime, but Daddy’s next move was a forever puzzler. He used his G.I Bill to learn to be a butcher. Maybe it was the shortest course of anything available, who knows? I just know that when I came into being we were living in town in a little rental house on the main drag. Daddy had quit being a butcher, and had quit being a heavy equipment operator, and was now establishing himself in the insurance business. Mom stayed at home, and was charged with keeping me from expressing myself through dangerous activities. She was not very successful, and I’ve got the scars to prove it.
Well, it’s late and it smells like rain. We’ll pick this up again tomorrow.