Inexplicable mom mysteries

I don’t know what my mother did all day. She did sleep because I’d catch her at it, head down on her chest, eyes closed, only to fly open, startled when she realized she wasn’t alone. I guess she went to the grocery store. We were never out of food. And I guess she did laundry. There were always clean clothes on the dining room table, heaped there fresh from the dryer, waiting for the owners to come rescue them.
She must have gone to bed at some point…there are six of us kids…but mostly she said her sleeplessness at night was a leftover habit from staying awake to keep the rats from getting at me when I was a baby. I knew this was too short a time to become a habit because grandpa made her live with he and grandma until dad got home from the war. Grandpa’s house didn’t have rats.
I found out later she thought sex was only duty and after once, well, what more was there.
One morning I found mom asleep on the screened in back porch with a pack of dad’s Winstons and a book of matches on the table beside her. It was good for a chuckle, but deep down I felt a pang of sympathy for her. Was she trying to see what my dad got from smoking? Was she hoping to join more likable to him? Had dad left them there himself and gone to bed alone?
Much, much later I found out from mom herself that she had always wanted to learn to fly an airplane. She never voiced that desire while dad was alive because she’d never do anything to compete with him. Why did she see it as competition? Same with bowling. She would have been a better bowler. She never would have matched his flying, him having been a B-26 pilot and instructor. But she would have liked the accomplishment.


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