A tribute to Mother

This is my attempt to tell you about my Mother, Alice Larson Hodges:
What can I say about a mother who paraded around Geneva, Alabama in bright clothes, big hats and jewelry? “Gossips be damned.”

What can I say about her?

She wore loud bracelets. They clanged as she played the piano at the First Baptist church. She often sang louder than the choir.

What can I say about this unique woman? She took me and my sister out of school in the middle of the year and drove to New Mexico from Alabama to see the Caverns in New Mexico. And during the summer, she stuck us in camp while she studied art.

What can I say about this oldest daughter of Norwegian immigrants? She once told me she married Daddy because he promised to buy her a piano and teach her to drive. After Daddy died, she never married again.

What can I say about a mother who loved water and painted beautiful pictures of water, but never learned to swim? Yet, she encouraged me and my sister to become good swimmers.

What can I say?

She raised two daughters alone while preaching: “Cleanliness is next to Godliness. A stitch in time saves nine. Early to bed, early to rise, makes a woman health wealthy and wise. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. You won’t like most of what you do every day, but if you do one thing you like, you should be happy.”

She seemed fearless.

She single handedly drove us to New York City to see the musical “My Fair Lady.” During our trip, we toured the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.

When we arrived in New York it was the middle of the night. Alice Kay and I were asleep in the back seat. As she reached the Brooklyn Bridge, she woke us up, shouting, “Wake up, girls, New York City.”

I could go on and on about her. How she filmed us as if we were movie stars. Thank God, we were able to salvage the rolls of film.

My sister had some of it spliced together, chronicling our lives as children, teenagers, young adults and mothers. In the beginning of this video, Mother is featured as young and beautiful, smiling for the camera. My father, who died when I was seven, is dapper and handsome, often puffing on a cigarette.

One thing’s for sure, Mother never failed to surprise me.

Years ago, after she suffered a stroke and had been in a coma, the doctors offered little hope of her recovery. I didn’t want to accept that diagnosis, and as I was talking to her, she opened her eyes and said, “I’m so proud of you.”

Years of Mother’s Days have come and gone since then, and she is no longer on this earth, but I wanted to write something to honor her and all mothers. As for my mother, she lives on in me, in my children and granddaughter, and I hope they know how proud I am of them.