Movin' On with Nelllie: Daughters’ Valentine from God

Mom’s birthday is this week. She would be 85. So, I want her to know that all her daughters love her and are living their lives with her lessons in tow.

Mom taught all of us to love one another, listen to each other, share with each other and friends or others. She insisted we not fight and gave us countless time-outs in our child size rockers.

She taught me, I think, to laugh. I have always laughed and as a child I can remember her smile and laugh at my antics. She worried about me though too because I was rambunctious and took a few falls and earned my injuries as a toddler. My sister too liked to climb just when mom was ironing and that’s before cotton polyester, mind you.

When we were young elementary students Mom liked to dress us in matching outfits. I remember one that is still a favorite of mine. The cotton material was a black background with colorful tiny flowers and the dress was baby doll sleeves with a gathered waist and our shiny patent-leather baby doll shoes tapped nicely with these dresses. She even taught us all to sew.

I remember coming home from my high school Home Economics class with my latest sewing project. She said, “You’re doing a good job cutting out the pattern.” Then we’d work together on the floor holding the pattern and material still with straight pins while pressing pattern down so the cut was clean. When it was time to sew the seams and match the parts, Mom would help me solve the problems of bunching material on the old Singer that she had. I remember for my first dance that she helped me pick out the emerald green brocade material for the medieval inspired dress. We pinned and cut, pinned and cut; then, we constructed the dress following the Simplicity instructions. I tried it on with the contrasting velvet ribbon wrapping the empire waist. What a proud moment!

Mom loved dogs too and she gave me a wonderful cocker spaniel more than once. A buff colored American Cocker Spaniel, Lightening, who watched over my baby boy as he cooed in his chair, was the first my mom bought me. The second love she sent me to pick out; that was Tiffany who came running up to greet my son and me. He named her right away – Tiffany. He told me, “She looks like a Tiffany.” Her giving me these lovely creatures was a way, I surmised later, for her to share her love for me and my family.

Mom’s choice of dogs was the Sheltie. She loved them and they cuddled up with her every night, one beside her on the couch, the other at her feet. She also loved the Collie and watched every classic Lassie movie or show that cable showed. She held on to a framed vintage picture of a little blond headed cherub with her collie.

Mom, you’re still your daughters’ Valentine from God.

—Nelda Curtiss is a retired college professor who enjoys writing and fine arts. Contact her at [email protected]