The Scrapbook Mother

It was a cold rainy day in Pennsylvania. This wasn’t a day neither to play outside nor to drag games and toys out in the already crowded house. So she decided to go exploring in the attic. The only rule her mother had was that what she moves or takes out of storage is put back before leaving. She didn’t think her mother understood her much. They seem to be at odds all the time.

The attic of the house was filled with belongings that told stories and fascinated her creative mind. The stairs to the attic were in her brother’s bedroom. She grabbed two really warm sweaters and wrapped herself securely in them. It was frigid in the attic unless it was summer and then it was a suffocating sauna.

The first hurdle was to turn on the light. She had to walk up several steps in the dark and reach for the switch. She would get up on her toes and stretch her body as much as she could. Now here was the hard part. The switch was exposed; no cover to the wires that were there next to the switch. Inevitably her hand often touched the wire giving her a shock and it hurt! Today she was lucky the light went on and no injuries were had.

She continued up the stairs and into the piles of treasure from three generations. The large picture of Custer’s Last Stand was like an old friend. She never understood where it came from and which relative stored it here. She pushed past the evening gowns and into the dark corner under the eaves.

There in front of her was a trunk. She hadn’t thought to ever look inside it and for some reason today she did. She flipped the clamps and noticed the hinge was broken. Carefully she lifted the cover and braced it with the boxes behind the trunk. The contents reached out to her. There were all sorts of memorabilia a corsage for the wrist, postcards, papers, and a very large scrapbook. She pulled the scrapbook out and sat on top of the pile of old quilts and began the journey into the past.

The book held unusual things that confused her at first. On the first page was a large magazine photo of the Pope. The next few pages contained postcards from Rome. She started to form questions in her mind. Who put this together and when? How did this come to be in her family’s attic? Her family was Episcopalian. The next few pages contained pictures from dances and there was a photo of a young girl in a costume like those worn in Holland or someplace like that. Who could this possibly belong to???

As she turned page after page her mind wandered. She was at that age when mothers and daughters often were at odds. Just two days before her mom seemed so unreasonable that she cried herself to sleep. Then there was the fact that her older sister seemed to be the perfect daughter never doing any wrong and so loved by her mother.

She tucked the scrapbook back into the trunk after more than an hour of discovering and reading letter after letter, but no name appeared that she recognized.

And then like a lightning bolt it hit her. This was her mother!! Not the lady downstairs this was her real mother. She had been hidden from her up until now. This beautiful woman with the long wavy auburn hair was her mother. “She loved me before she was tragically lost, her young mind thought.” Her father had loved this woman. He married the woman downstairs and they had her brother and sister. But she was the special child of this lady this beautiful lady.

Later that evening when she crawled into bed she said a prayer to her mother who was surely in heaven. She closed her eyes and thought to herself. I’ll figure all this out tomorrow. I’m sure I can figure out how my scrapbook mom was my mother even though my sister and brother are older than I am. Hmmm tomorrow she thought, but tonight I have my own special mom.

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4 thoughts on “The Scrapbook Mother

  1. Wow! You are such a wonderful story-teller. You capture the voice and thinking of this young girl with an active imagination and woes of growing up. This piece rang true to me in every way.
    I love your Pennsylvania stories and glad to see more of them.
    One small suggestion- take out the word sauna. Our girl wouldn’t know what that is! You’ll have to find a country kid metaphor for the hot, hot attic 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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