Jan 1 2010

Meet My Mother

swinging on a moon

swinging on a moon

That’s not actually her in the photo. It’s a photo of her necklace, worn by me. Someone gave it to her because she was a Cancer, and Cancers are “Moon Children”. I never heard that before, but I’ll just accept it as being the truth. Cancer is a water sign, water/moon, blah blah blah.

This necklace became mine when she died. And like all her jewelry — not worth millions of dollars, but priceless to me — I put it in a box, afraid to wear it. Afraid to lose it.

And then after I came back home after my mid-life pyrotechic chapter a couple of years ago, I weeded through all my belongings. And realized I had a box of jewelry — stuff that she handled, adored, used to accessorize — just sitting there for over 20 years. Lost for 20 years.

So I wear this necklace every day now. Ditto the hoop earrings she gave me at Christmas when I was 14. Two months after I began wearing them, I lost one, and was actually grateful for the two months I got to enjoy them again. And then walking to get coffee, not even looking, never expecting to find it again… there it was, on the sidewalk. There you see? I was meant to wear it, lose it, find it. Let it be.

This necklace is not subtle. I used to worry — it being prominant and solid gold, bordering on blingy — that it might get snatched right off my neck when I ride the bus or walk through the Tenderloin. But the opposite has proven to be the case.

People who I guarantee you have a rap sheet as long as I am tall stop me to comment on the necklace. They are complimentary, respectful, and thoughtful. An example: A loudmouth little gangsta girl — who’d been talking smack moments earlier with her homies on the bus — went out of her way to say, “Pardon me, ma’am, that’s a real nice necklace. I don’t normally talk to white people, but that’s a really pretty necklace.” And so I tell her the story about my mother and we proceeded to talk for fifteen minutes, parting with “Merry Christmas!” as I got off the bus.

So that’s what I mean when I say “Meet My Mother.” Because it’s like she’s with me when I wear it. That’s the effect she had on people. She was the great equalizer, making everyone in the room (or on the bus, in this case) feel comfortable enough to talk to her and really glad that they did in the end.

I may lose the necklace. Hell, someone may snatch it right off me on the bus. It would be devastating, but I  know she’ll keep doing what she does best, wherever she ends up.

Mar 15 2009

Seen on the Streets of San Francisco

Mother and Child

Mother and Child

He brought his mother into the city to see “Wicked”. They assured me that the matching gowns were pure coincidence, though I didn’t buy it.