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Mom's sacrifice: Learning to drive

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Column by Jim Clark

The year was … well, it was in the late 1940s, I’m not sure exactly what year it was.
I was just a little kid then, but I remember going out in the car with my dad and mom. We went to a vacant parking lot and, shock of shocks, my folks switched positions and mom got behind the wheel.
She was learning to drive.
My mother was raised in New York City, and took the subway, or walked, to get everywhere. Even after she got married, when my dad was shipped out to the China-Burma-Indian Theatre in World War II, she continued to live in the Bronx, where I was born, and got around on public transportation or her own two feet.
But after we moved to New Jersey in 1946, well, public transportation didn’t run next door, the grocery stores were quite a distance, and since dad was taking the train, then the ferry, to New York every day, she was more or less marooned at our house.
So she learned to drive. I remember riding with her to pick dad up at the station … she was a pretty good driver of our big gas guzzler (of course gas was only 15 cents a gallon then).
Later I found out she was really very nervous about driving, but she felt it was necessary, especially with me about to start school. She had sacrificed her own comfort to make sure I stayed warm and dry while going to class.
It was just one of the many sacrifices she made in her life for her child, and one of those little things that pops into my mind every time we get close to Mother’s Day, which is this coming Sunday, May 12.
For example, I thought, when I was little, my mother was psychic. She’d be working in the kitchen and I was in the living room sitting on the sofa, with my feet up on the couch. “Get your feet down,” came this voice from the kitchen. “How did she do that?” I thought. It took me years to realize that the mirror on the wall behind the piano was aimed so she could see the whole living room from the kitchen.
My mother died in 1997 at the age of 82, and I hope I told her enough that I loved her and appreciated all that she did for me.
Some of you are lucky. You still have your mothers around to call, visit, etc. You still have a chance to let them know what they meant in your life, and I doubt if there’s a mother anywhere in the world who doesn’t like hearing that.
So as we get to Mother’s Day 2013, take the time to call or visit your mother, if that’s possible. In this day of e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc., it’s easy to type a note, just as it was easy in my day to send a card.
But a personal conversation is much better, and you can convey feelings much better in a person-to-person meeting.
Whatever you do, don’t forget mom this Sunday. If she’s no longer around, you have your memories … take time to reflect. And if she’s still here, she’ll undoubtedly get a great feeling when that phone rings and you’re on the other end.
And to all the mothers out there, I hope you have a great day. On behalf of all of us, Happy Mother’s Day to you.

Jim Clark is the editor of the South Marion Citizen..