Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring – Marilyn Monroe
One of the first memories of my mother is when I was peering through a screen window, at a woman who exited a car, and came over to see me. She had a green dress on, and I swear she was the most stunning woman I’d ever seen. Eloquent and feminine and someone I would have loved to emulate. At the time, I had no idea she was my mother.
Years, later I would learn that the beautiful woman in the green dress, was the woman who carried me for nine months, during which time she struggled so desperately to hold on to her marriage to my father. The marriage ended soon after my birth, and circumstances would unfold in a manner that would cause my mother and I to be separated for the first thirteen years of my life. In fact, I grew up believing someone else was my mother, and lies upon lies would be told, and it would take quite sometime before I would understand all that happened.
Even though my mother was not there during my formative years, and although there were times that I questioned the circumstances that lead up to that reality, I would come to realize that her not being with me, had more to do with her own lack of understanding just how special she truly was, and how deserving she was of so much more than pain.
My mother loved Elizabeth Taylor, and old movies such as Giant, Gone with the Wind, and anything by Alfred Hitchcock. We used to get blankets and sit in front of the television and she would explain to me which actress was involved with which actor ‘back in the day’ and I would develop an intense crush on Gregory Peck, because of my mother’s education about Hollywood actors.
My mother would do her makeup in the dining room, and one time she got mad at me for borrowing her cover-up. I still remember her telling me that it would ruin my skin because it was for women ‘over forty.’ At that time, my mother might have been ‘over forty’ but you would never know. People would always say we looked like sisters anytime they saw us out, and in my eyes she was as wonderful as any of the Hollywood actresses she admired.
If I could give my mother something special, it would have been the knowledge that she was loved more than she ever could possibly imagine, missed more than she’d ever be able to fathom, and understanding that I am grateful for all she did for me.
My mother was not perfect. Of course, none of us are that. My fondest memories of my mother include her dancing in the living room. She used to wonder what we did on dates, because when she was younger, guys loved to dance. She was confused by the way we just ‘hung out’ and it bothered her to see chivalry die. To this day, I can remember her telling me to never walk with a cigarette, because ladies don’t do that. My mother was always on her daughters for things like that . . . It took her a long time to get comfortable wearing bluejeans to church, and she just felt it was cool to show respect.
My thoughts are wondering as they tend to do, and I am thinking of the time my sister Barbaranne came to Manhattan and we went shopping at Saks. Barb, bought some makeup and I asked her if I could have the bag. “You really are Mommy’s daughter,” she said. As I looked in my closet this evening, as I got ready to pack to head to Los Angeles for the mass in honor of her life, I noticed the bags I’ve collected since coming to Vegas.
I just smiled and thought about all the times I’ve gone shopping with my mother. We walked on Rodeo Drive, just the two of us, and Jermaine Jackson came by in his Rolls Royce. It was as though the sea parted, and he came into the store to buy a camera. She used to eat a bowl of lima beans for dinner, which I thought was totally gross! Isn’t it crazy the things you remember? All of what I’m sharing are special memories to me though, simply because they are the fondest of times, shared with my mother.