Three weeks from today is Thanksgiving better know as Turkey Day when I was growing up. For quite some time the stores have been looking past this event and stocking their shelves with Christmas items. Now that Halloween is over retail is officially in holiday mode. All of the stores are pulling out the stops with bright colors, ornaments, food gifts and of course the elfs, snowmen and all the other traditional holiday characters. I think we have come to merely validate Thanksgiving and have it serve as a placeholder for what is to come next – Black Friday.
But these next few weeks are an important and very bittersweet time of year for me. The holidays have always been the time of year I look forward to with great anticipation. And in some respects I still do. But now it is a time of year that will always have a mark of sadness attached to it as well. It was this time of year, five years ago, that my mother was living out her last days. And although I was happy she was going to be relieved of her pain and suffering, I never anticipated the emptiness I would feel and continue to feel since she died on November 14 2006. So as I was thinking about the five year anniversary of her death I decided it was time to focus on the gift that was her life. To that end, I am going to devote my next couple of blogs to remembering one of the most influential women in my life, my mother. And instead of wallowing in sorrow that she is no longer here, take time to share the memories that I have of her and rejoice in the life of Euphrasia Dolores Miksis Drabik.
So, let’s start with that name. Yes her name was Euphrasia. My mother always told me that my grandmother found that name on the last page of the bible. But no matter how many bibles I have looked at over the years I have never been able to find that name on the last page or anywhere else for that matter. Although I do remember an old Elvis Presley movie where he claimed to have an aunt Euphrasia but that’s about the only context I could ever associate with her name. My mother was a very beautiful woman. I know you think I am prejudiced but just look at her picture for yourself and then tell me if you disagree. She was the baby in her family – she had an older brother and two older sisters both who became nuns. I once asked my mother why she didn’t become a nun and she said she just liked boys far too much and the thought never entered her mind to live the life of a nun. She was just too worldly. She always imagined herself famous – she even created a stage name for herself. At that time Hollywood stars rarely kept their real names and she didn’t think Euphrasia had marquee appeal. So, she was going to be Dolores Woods star of stage and screen. (Now do you see how I was destined to be involved in theater arts).
She never went to college. She graduated from high school and immediately started working as a secretary in a law office. Her looks did not go unnoticed by her employer. He continually made sexual advances to her. My mother had lived a very sheltered life and she was not sure how to deal with the situation at the time. She told me that these uncomfortable advances went on for a while and then finally stopped. When I asked her why they stopped so suddenly she turned to me and said, “Honey, never underestimate the power of a good strong fart!” Yep, that was my mom.
So in the coming days I will share some of my most precious memories of her. I look like her, I talk like her, I am no doubt her daughter. And she was by no doubt the best mom a girl could ever have.