We have written about Mother’s love of reading, which mainly consisted of soft core porn paperbacks. She loved the trashy and sordid details and no doubt pretended she was one of the ravaging temptresses in the book. However, she also loved science fiction. I know it does not seem to match with the trash but she talked incessantly about Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke. She almost made it seem that she was on a first name basis with both because she talked quite intimately about their writing skills and seemed to know all about their personal lives.
No doubt another one of her fantasy moments with some background research mixed in to her muddled “reality.”
When you look back at her choices, like her choice of “fine” literature, you have another piece of the puzzle that was our mother. She enjoyed living as the heroine of a slightly perverted romance or living an alternate reality of “The Twilight Zone”. Never one to dabble too firmly or for too long a time in reality, Mother found comfort and pleasure in living someone else’s life. In her so called perfect world, there were no little ankle biters needing to be taken care of, and no expectations of keeping house and organizing your life.
When you try to emulate a fantasy from a book and make it your own life’s reality, it is a recipe for disaster. There were no knights in shining armor riding around our neighborhood looking for an inebriated damsel in distress. Once again, life had disappointed Mother and she took it out on the closest victims, my sister Abby and me. Mother experienced many such episodes in her life. Her kids just did not quite measure up, her husband (numbers one and two) did not either. Just like Mary Poppins’ measuring stick, Mother was the only one she thought was practically perfect in every way. There goes that old self-inflated ego!
The tragedy in Mother’s life was that there were few people, events or life experiences that measured up. However, just like Mary Poppins, she flew away and left the children. The main difference, of course, was that she had not been hired as the nanny but was our biological mother. Nonetheless, with barely even a goodbye, off she flew.