By Suzy Gibson
Your mom. What do you call her? Mom, momma, mommy, step-mom or MOTHER? Do you call her by her first name? “Oh Becky, stop being so dramatic!” Whatever you call your mom, she’s your creator, the one who gave you life.
My mom was such a huge presence in my life, and I lost her April 8, 2008. She was the beat of my heart, the oxygen in my breath, the core of my being, the love of my life. The day she passed, my two best friends Kim and Mara were there for me when I fell to my knees in grief. There she was, my mom, my momma, lifeless. I went to hug her body, and she was so cold, but her back was still warm. That warmth is a part of me now. I like to think of it as her telling me she had exited her earthly vessel, but would always be watching over me. As I prepared her for the coroner, I was bothered by the fact her lips were pale, and she had one toenail that was not painted. As I painted that toenail, Kim picked an outfit, right down to the jewelry and applied tinted lip gloss to my mother’s lips. Kim and Mara were there, in that moment, and they entered my heart, more than they already were, and filled me until I was busting (think Grinch… “I’m leaking!”) and helped me prepare my mother for cremation. Now that I have successfully made you tear up, (Oh come ‘on… you are middle-aged with children, you cry at commercials with kittens), I want to talk about the babe-a-licious woman who gave me life.
You really didn’t think I would drone on about the death of my mother this entire blog did you? This is a fashion blog for heck’s sake! I am so excited to explore my mother’s fashion choices, some good and some very polyester. My mom’s favorite color was baby blue. In the house where I grew up, she had blue fuzzy lamps on either side of the bed, which by the way, was on a platform…sooooooo 70s! My mother was very unconventional for a woman of the 1950s. She received her degree from Miami University, Ohio, and became a teacher. She saved all of her salary and went on a three-month-long cruise to Europe with her two best friends. She pledged Sigma Sigma Sigma in college and was pinned to a Delt. She dated a Catholic (oh my heavenly stars!), but ultimately had to end the relationship because he wasn’t Episcopal (neither was my dad, but I guess Methodist is close enough). She was a life guard, loved children, learned how to play the ukulele, and was a HOT tennis babe. She is all I aspire to be every single day of my life. She enters my dreams in her baby blue polyester suit, and tells me how proud she is of me. So let’s explore my mother, her fashion choices, and celebrate Mother’s Day!
I told you she was a babe! This is her high-school graduation photo. Her full name was Clara Emily Sakemiller, and my Grandmother called her Clara-Lee. Look at those pearls, which are currently hanging in my closet, and those LIPS, thank you, sweet baby Jesus, I inherited those lips!
This was my mother on her cruise. She explored Europe from June 28 to August 14, 1957. The fondue and the beaded sweater scream 1950s, along with the embroidered dress. Let’s not pay attention to the dude with his eyes closed, must have been slim pickins’ on the boat!
Did I mention that my mother was also a majorette? I can’t get enough of those boots and batons. She made me take twirling lessons in grade school but I quit because it interfered with my Saturday-morning, cartoon-viewing pleasures (Scooby-Doo, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, Josie and the Pussycats and Puff the Magic Dragon with that creepy flute). Emily is second to the right.
I love these photos; they show a playful side of my mother. I love the halter dress in the first photo, and look at that gingham dress in the next. But I must say, those bunk beds must have been miserable!
My mom and dad. I can’t get over how young they look, and how much my oldest son looks like his grandpa, and my niece looks like her grandma. The plaid shirts and high-waist pants were so classic, a look that is timeless and will never go out of style.
My mom was definitely a fashionista in the 50s. She is wearing a jacquard dress and satin, floor-length jacket. She accessorized with a choker necklace and drop earrings. Now I know where I get my love for fashion. It’s obvious, isn’t it?
My mom and me: first is 1980s, then is the 90s. Does this classify for a throwback? I’m pretty sure we were stylish, but that hair!!! What was I thinking??? My favorite place to shop was Fashion Gal. I know you remember that place!
This is my favorite photo of me, my mom and my cousin Emily. My mother took Emily under her wing when her mother (Mom’s sister) passed away. She loved her like a daughter.
She protected me when I was a little girl and loved the woman, wife and mother I became. She accepted me for all of my faults and stood behind every decision I made. Even when I got a tattoo, she tipped the artist 50 bucks! Everything in my life is recorded in photos, thanks to my mother. She is my everything, and I have her to thank for all of the beauty that is inside of me.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, Y’ALL!