First antique mall trip with Mom
March 28, 2010 was a chilly, sunny Sunday. Apprehensively, I suggested a new outing to Mom – the nice antique mall on Odana Road. “If we don’t like it, we can go to St. Vinnie’s next door.” She always agreed with St. Vinnie’s.
Easter colors and artificial flowers filled the displays, and in the bright glare pouring in from the front windows, the place must have seemed like a mansion of memories to her as we wandered through. I wish I had lingered with her, attended each word she said more patiently, but I was worried – worried this would upset her, worried I would be irritated, worried about the week of commuting ahead of me.
Like the annoyed teen-ager I still often am, I kept my distance from my embarrassing mother, avoiding blasts of grandiose pronouncements (“You must see this painting!”), while scurrying back to her side to admire some beautiful quilts, and the little framed baby dress that ultimately captivated her. When she pointed out barrister bookshelves, declaring “My father had shelves exactly like these,” I responded, “If it’s making you morose to be here, we can leave.” She fixed me with an astonished gaze. “Why would you think it would make me morose to think of people I love?”
As our circumambulation approached its end, we passed my friend’s display case, full of the very 1930s and 40s Easter cards and paper trinkets which would have fed Mom’s girlhood ambitions of art, recognition and wit. She paused, and leaned on her canes and peered through this window onto something – something nevermore.
With conviction, she said, “The world used to have such charm.” “I know,” I said, intending only agreement. “No, I mean it,” she insisted. “I know.” As we drove away, cozy once again in our down coats and warm car, she said, “That was a good place. We can put that on our list.” And so, I did.