During the summer break from college I worked overnights at the A&P in Rehoboth Beach. Stocking shelves. 40 hours of overnights plus all the overtime I wanted. I had to join the Union but it was well worth it. $6.74 an hour to start. Anything over 8 hours and I was making $10.11 an hour. This was the late 80's! And I was rich. I worked 6 nights a week and most nights 10 to 12 hours. Mother of course wanted to pay for my education but making that kind of money I wanted to pay my own way. I also paid for my beachfront apartment that I shared with Patrick. Patrick spent part of the summer in Connecticut with his family and part in Rehoboth with me. I was always so exhausted after work that most days I would crash out on the beach. I'd wake up jump in the ocean to cool off and then go back to sleep. My Saturday nights off are what I remember least. Patrick is what I remember most.
Mother phoned the apartment.
For years a much older man had wanted to marry her. Mother had no interest what so ever in any older man. However, this one just happened to be extremely wealthy. I knew that one day Mother would finally look in the mirror and see the truth. She was aging. Mother was still beautiful in my eyes but not the beauty that could at one time catch the eye of any younger man.
I answered the phone.
"I've decided to say yes Timmy. I know that I've told you for years that I never would but I've changed my mind. Women are allowed to do this you know"
I knew exactly what Mother was referring to.
"Why Mother dear. I'm actually amazed that Charles is still asking. You've certainly dangled that rope long enough"
"I have done no such thing Darrrling. Enough about that anyway. Why that's not even the reason I phoned. I need you to go shopping with me now. I simply must have a new dress for Saturday night. Charles and I are going to dinner. I need your help Timmy. I know you're tired but please do your Mother just this one small favor--after all dear I'm doing this all for you"
I arrived at Mothers house around three. I hadn't even made it up to the top of the hill when I saw Mother coming outside thru the backdoor. In yet another outfit that I had never seen until that very moment. Mother always did enjoy shopping.
"I've decided on the Salisbury Mall dear"
"But Mother you know I have to work tonight and the Dover Mall is much closer"
"We'll stop by on the way dear and say hello to your Auntie Lydia. And please Timmy. Remember to put your hair in a pony tail and tuck it away. You know your Auntie Lydia doesn't approve"
Mother was at the point in her life where she only heard what she wanted to hear. Auntie Lydia had sold her home and moved to Laurel soon after Uncle Lucas had died. Laurel was right next to Salisbury.
Shopping with Mother was fabulous as always. Mother loved trying on all the latest fashions, admiring herself in the mirror, being admired by the sales ladies and always buying much more than planned. The afternoon slipped away into evening and bags in hand we headed back to the car and then to Mothers. After opening the door and carrying in Mothers purchases I kissed her cheek and told her to have the time of her life Saturday night.
"You deserve this Mother"
"Oh my dear boy, I've already had the time of my life with you today son but believe you me I'll make the most of it--and remember I'm doing all of this for you my precious son YES it's all for you--now you get back down to the beach and make sure you give Patrick a kiss from me and tell him I send my love"
Mother had been so wrapped up in her shopping and in me that she had never even asked if Patrick was down that week. It really didn't matter. What did matter was that they both adored each other.
On the drive back down to the beach Mothers words kept echoing in my mind. "I'm doing this all for you my precious son Yes it's all for you."
It would be a few years before I would realize exactly what Mother had meant by this. But that's a story for another day.
I got home with just enough time to pull back my hair, rubber band it into a pony tail pin it up and slide my wig on. The only draw back to my union job. I had to wear a wig. I first learned how to wear a wig to cover up my long hair. This would change over the years. Sometimes Life is ironic.
Yes! Sometimes. Life Is Ironic.
Mother. I adored her!