Sunday, April 26, 2009

ANTOINETTE - A.K.A. TONI


It was one year ago today that Mom died.

ANTOINETTE
A/K/A "TONI"

"Antoinette. . . Why don’t you ever use your real name?” I asked Mom, whispering the word into the air, listening to the syllables float around the room like the warm, sugary, scent of cotton candy at a fair. I loved to roll it around on the tip of my tongue--tasting the sweetness, like a lollipop.

“Because,” she’d smile, giving me a sideways wink, “it doesn’t suit me. Toni is simple—like me.”

And, maybe Antoinette was a common name in Paris during the early years of the twentieth century, but people weren't named Antoinette back in 1932, at least not in Portland, Oregon.

“It’s French?” I laughed looking around our rundown house. “Your name came all the way from France?”

It sounded so European, important, and unique to a ten year old.

Grandma used to say, “We came from money”, as if she wanted us to know because we’d fallen so far.

See, Mom's Dad was the Vice President of a large oil company when he died, leaving my grandmother a wealthy woman. And, Mom made one mistake. At 16 she secretly married her first husband, Douglas. And, although he came from a wealthy family, he wasn't a good husband or father so she divorced him. Something Grandma never accepted.

Mom's second marriage wasn't considered "a good match" by her mother.

Dad was a poor pig farmer from Weiser, Idaho. And his Dad was born on an Indian Reservation in Oklahoma. Nothing to be proud of back then.

Maybe that's why Mom cared nothing for "things". Her joy came from spending time with people. And, Mom was the kindest person I've ever met. I never heard her say a negative thing about anyone--not ever. I know, it sounds hard to believe but it's true.

In some ways, it seems like just yesterday but, in other ways, it seems like forever ago that Mom died.

It always feels so odd not to be able to call her up whenever I have a question or something I'm worried about. She always had the answers.

Now, whenever I have something exciting I want to share, I think, "Oh I'll call Mom. . . "

Then I remember.

14 comments:

Catherine J Gardner said...

That is both sad and beautiful. It sounds like your mother was a remarkable woman.

Captain Hook said...

Awww, Kim!

*hugs*

Your mom sounds like she was a wonderful woman that anyone would have been honored to know.

Kelly said...

Your mom seems like she was beautiful inside and out. I'm so sorry for your loss, Kim. May the memories of her and strength of your family help you get through a difficult day today!

Bish Denham said...

What a beautiful tribute to your beautiful mother! Thanks so much for sharing.

moonrat said...

Wow, what a knock-out. She sounds like a really classy lady.

Rena said...

Oh Kim -- your mother sounded like as beautiful of a woman and her picture shows. Thanks for sharing about her. (((HUGS)))

Amy Tate said...

What a wonderful tribute to your mother! Kim, you should write her story. It sounds so romantic. I love her picture, she was a very pretty lady!

jone said...

What a loving tribute. My mother, gone 10 years. I still miss her. She sounds like she was a wonderful mother.

jone said...

Well that is a totally make-believe URL I left with my name. Ooops. I mixed up the school blog and the me blog.

Kim Kasch said...

Thanks for all the kind thoughts. I spent the day with my sister, niece, husband and brother-everything is easier when you share the load.

Elliah A. Terry said...

Beautiful! Both the picture and the story.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

she sounds like she was an awesome mom. glad you had her!

Christina Farley said...

You're is beautiful and I love how strong her memory still lives on in you.

Crystal said...

Kim, your mother's picture is breath-taking! Sounds like she was a beautiful person, both inside and out. Thanks for sharing your touching story.

Peace & Blessings,
Crystal