Becca Wilhite Blog

July 10, 2013


Filed under: emotion,Mom — becca @ 11:54 pm

I was just writing about some memories of my mom, and how they’re foggy and unreliable. And here is a list (unedited, unproofed, and possibly completely untrue) of things I’m sure I remember about my mom.

Things I actually remember: She said “Dammit” once when she was mad. I laughed, but not out loud. I was only a tiny bit scared. I had a few inches on her by then.

Spaghetti sauce. So delicious.

She laughed through her nose, not like a snort, but like people who sing through their noses. If she’d closed her mouth to laugh, it might have sounded the same. I remember her sitting at some YW camp-ish function in Batesville (but I was there, too, so she might have been acting in a stake capacity) and laughing with Carolyn Crawford and they both laughed similarly.

Her fingernails clicked on the piano keys, so you’d hear the strike of the nails and then the note just after.

She had very pretty fingernails and I did not.

I think she loved our clawfoot bathtub in the Boston house. There wasn’t a whole lot she loved about our year in Boston, as I recall, but I think she loved that tub. I was a tiny bit afraid of drowning in it. I wonder if it was deep. (Also re: Boston house, I must have read “A Wrinkle in Time” when we lived there, because that house is the setting for the book in my mind.)

She had a music studio called “The Tin Bucket” – as in, he couldn’t carry a tune in a tin bucket. I love that.

She wrote margin notes when she read fiction. I wish I had some of that fiction. I’d love to read the notes.

Dad’s lack of promptness made her itchy. Dinner was ready, and he should be home. He made up for it by (always?) picking up plastic 2-liter bottles of root beer on taco night.

She had arthritis in her hands (and probably everywhere) and her docs told her that if she avoided white flour and red meat she could probably lessen her pain. Whole wheat tortillas. And ground turkey. It’s just not the same, you know?

Once she burned pork chops in the microwave. The story got a little legendary in our house, but I think I actually do remember that smell.

And then there was the time she roasted a leg of lamb while our cat dragged itself around the kitchen in a body cast. Lamb (cooking) still reminds me of cat (dying).

She taught me to use gravity to fill up my bra (the bend over and shake/shove it all in trick), which works better when you’re near 40 than it worked at 13.

She bought margarine, dreaming of butter. One Christmas, my dad put a box of butter in her stocking because it was a treat.

She hated orange flavored candy, because she had chosen orange as her medication flavor when she was little. And when she was grown, all the orange flavoring reminded her of medicine. She once told me she wished she’d chosen chocolate, because then she wouldn’t be a chocoholic. Which is funny, because I don’t really have a memory of her eating a lot of chocolate.

I do remember one time she lied to me. I came in from school and lay down beside her on the carpet. She had a drink in a mug. I could see bubbles and it was a little golden. I asked her if I could have some. She said, “It’s just water, go get yourself a cup,” but it was totally ginger ale. I forgive that one. She didn’t want to share. Understood.

Once I found 4 quarters on her dresser and swiped them. I traded them for 4 nickels from my money box. Later she said that money was for Melanie Low, who had lent her a dollar. I was unrepentant and did not confess.

She loved Gone With the Wind. I wonder if she read it. I assume so.

When she saw “West Side Story” she didn’t know what Tony and Maria were doing in her bedroom until she was in college. (I think I was 12 when she told me that.) Also, she said she was in college when she understood “There is a green hill far away / without a city wall” was talking about a hill OUTSIDE a city wall (as in, opposite of WITHIN), not a hill that was missing its city wall.

Left handed. And gorgeous penmanship.

She wrote letters to her mother in Oakland. Her mother who worried if the letters were later than expected and maybe sometimes even called to ask if everything was okay. I remember her saying “If anything was wrong, I’d be sure to call and let you know” but I don’t remember if she said that into the phone with an actual connection to my grandma, or if she just muttered it in casual annoyance.

She sang in the car.

She was in Auntie Mame and the Music Man and The Sound of Music. I was in those too, except not Mame.

Belted dresses. And blouses. With bows around the neck.

She declared (yes, she really declared it) that it was impossible to make just enough rice. There was always either too much or too little.

I don’t remember if she liked pets or just tolerated them, but I do remember the Golden Retriever named Josh (Seattle?), which she named because her mother hated that name, so she couldn’t really use it on a son. (I recall that dog went to live with some family on a farm. Classic cliche. Were we taken in? Did the dog get put down?)

When we lived in Boston, she was pregnant. She told a neighbor child that she was going to have a baby. She was wearing a red dress, peasanty and smocked. We were in the kitchen. I was seven, sitting by her on the tall, green step stool (with the upholstered seat), and she put her arm around me and told the visiting child, “Becca is my baby, too.” And I loved her so fiercely right then.


  1. This is just so you. And now I love your mom a bit. I think your memory is working just fine.

    Comment by DeNae — July 11, 2013 @ 1:34 am

  2. *sigh* (with a smile and a glisten in my eye) Brings back so many memories of my mom.

    Comment by Tara — July 11, 2013 @ 9:29 pm

  3. Josh really, no really, did go to live with the Jensens at the berry farm. And it was corn meal she got forbidden to take. She carried a serious crush on George Chakiris for years. Who cares what Tony was doing?

    Comment by Dad — July 24, 2013 @ 10:06 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress