Pumpkin Cottage

Pumpkin Cottage
sit and visit a spell

Saturday, October 16, 2010


My mother's birthday is next Wednesday.  I always looked forward to the cooler October weather and a trek to Half Moon Bay for her birthday.  Those are the memories that help me hold it together.  I miss her everyday but especially when I have a great joy or disappointment.  Yesterday was one of those days when I would have especially appreciated her encouragement and strength.  On the 20th she would have turned 82.  And while 81 years seems like a long time and I am grateful.....it wasn't nearly enough to learn all that I needed to know.

Little by little I am scanning old negatives....discovering images from the past.  Theses images are from the summer of 1976 when we visited the Azores.
Check out this wood burning oven....no thermostat.. the temperature is measured by sight and feel.   Notice the huge pizza/bread peel.  These are friends of the family in the photo below, but my sisters, as little girls 8 and 10, were also able to bake bread from scratch this way.  My mom had explained years ago that she would have a long branch sticking out of the oven to keep the ambers going.  She would simply push in a length of the branch as she needed.

A vibrant red kitchen indeed,  with two red benches, a huge bowl for making the dough, and beautiful rosy fabric.  The aroma must have been amazing and I know we had homemade butter.  The photos bring bring a rush of memories of the specific scene.  I can see how my decorating style was so influenced by this memory of comfort. 
 Below is a photo of my mother, she would have been  in her mid forties..just like me now.   She has that look of self assurance and those hands that could do anything. Comfort, discipline, clean until everything shined and smelled fresh, knit and crotchet with speed and accuracy and garden with the greenest thumbs I have ever known.   
I do recall that we had not planned to spend the night and had to borrow clothes for the day while our freshly laundered clothes dried on the line.  I could never have imagined how much I would miss her.  Joe says that for such a small person she cast a huge shadow.  In my mind, she was always a giant.  No one will ever replace her in my heart. 

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