There are Angels God puts on this Earth
who care for us and guide us.
You can feel their love and gentleness
as they walk through life beside us.
They do great things for us every day
they whisper in our ears.
They even hold us in their hearts
when we are filled with all our fears.
They are always there to give a hug
and try to make us smile.
They treat us with respect and love,
they treat us like their child.
God blessed me with an Angel,
I’m proud to call my own.
She’s been with me throughout my
life, been with me as I’ve grown.
She’s guided me the best she can,
she’s taught me like no other,
and I’m thankful I’m the lucky one
who gets to call her……
By Kathleen J. Shields
It is Mother’s Day. One thing we all have in common is that we all have Mothers. Of course they come in all shapes and sizes, and all temperaments too. Some of us have people in our lives that aren’t even related, but have become a Mother. Some are good; some are bad. Some are soccer moms; some are like Betty Crocker or Suzie Homemaker, and there are some that can’t boil water.
I guess I had a Mother from all walks of life. There were five of us kids – four boys and one girl. My Maternal Grandmother passed away when she was 39, so my Mother didn’t have the luxury of motherly guidance to help her raise us. And let me tell you, we were challenging. If there was something mischievous to get into, we found it. Everything from using the chicks she bought is for Easter as pool balls, to pulling up carrots in the neighbor’s gardens, eating them, then replanting the stubs.
My Mother was not the typical Italian Mother, running after us and spending most of her time in the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong. She did her fair share of running after us, but she also held down two full-time jobs and filled in for my Father while he was out doing gigs with his band or teaching karate classes.
She was also not the stereotypical Italian Mama. She was not short and heavy. Well, let me take that back, she is short. Very short. She didn’t have dark hair that was pulled back into a bun with wisps falling around her face. She didn’t walk around in a housedress or wearing an apron. And you would never hear her yelling from the front stoop for us or ranting in Italian. English. We lived in America and we were to speak English. Period.
The Angel that I call my Mother is a totally different person than most people picture Italian Mothers. Like I said before, she is small, not even reaching five feet and probably close to 100 pounds or so. Long blonde hair, and always, ALWAYS had it fixed in some type of hairdo. My Italian Mother more closely resembled Barbara Eden in “I Dream of Jeannie.” You know what I mean, that kind of hairdo. She was, and is, always dressed like she is about to go out or be visited by dignitaries. Hair always done. Always dressed up. I don’t think she’s ever owned a pair of jeans, but she did own what seemed to be an entire shoe store of platform heels!
She went to work, standing on her feet all day, then went to her second job and worked until late at night. She actually continued to work until she was almost 80. Once she moved out of New York where she held down her two jobs at mailing houses, she went to work in Florida at an electronics factory second shift and then got up at 4:00 A.M. to go to Hardee’s to make biscuits. My Mother is a hard worker, even today.
Life wasn’t easy for her to be a Mother. Like I said, there were five of us. When we were little, my Father contracted Tuberculosis and was hospitalized for several months. She had to tend to us, work her jobs, and visit him when she could at the hospital. She struggled to keep the family together at a time when most family structures were two parent homes.
We always had the big typical Sunday breakfasts and family dinners. She would spend hours after she got off work making sausages, pasta and gravy. Those of you that are Italian will know that by gravy, I don’t mean that stuff you put on biscuits. Gravy, the Italian word for “spaghetti sauce.” She even found time to be involved in our activities. My older brother is ten years older than I and my sister is six years older, so by the time me and my other two brothers were old enough to be involved in the Sea Cadets, they were teenagers and had lives of their own. At the time, there was a big organization in Long Island called American Cadets Alliance. It was similar to the Boy Scouts, but we learned everything nautical and we advanced through the organization by obtaining “ranks” the same as the U.S. Navy does. She was a sworn Warrant Officer and assisted in the military training we received. I think the only times I ever saw her not dressed to the nines was when she was in her ACA uniform.
My Mother also suffered a loss no Mother should ever have to endure, the loss of a child. And to add insult to injury, it wasn’t from an illness, it was totally unexpected, and was caused by two men drag racing down Stewart Avenue. They jumped the light and while my two brothers and I were crossing the street, playing with gypsy moths, on our way to Carvel to get ice cream, they hit him and dragged his body down the street. The driver of the car that hit him stopped, got out of the car, took one look at what he had done, waved his hand and took off. They never found that driver. My brother died on July 4, 1970 at the age of ten. She continued to do her best to try to hold things together after that.
Then almost two years after posting a story here on Hollywood Republican asking you, the readers whether or not I should tell her I have Multiple System Atrophy, she found out that she was going to lose another son – her youngest, Me.
My Mother will celebrate her 85th birthday in June. She still maintains her own home by herself. She walks her dog daily. She doesn’t get many visitors, but if she does, she will be dressed for them. I talk to her almost daily on the phone and we Skype a couple of times a week. We hold on to the only thing no one can ever take from us. Memories.
I know I am on a journey, on my way to see all the Angels, but I can tell you now, with certainty, I have already met the greatest Angel of all, my Mother.
Happy Mother’s Day to my Mother, Antoinette Cervone! I love you.
#tcot, #msa, #mother’sday