My mother was my first love. She was my first love, even before my father, because my first recollection of feeling something like love, was when she’d have to go to work and I’d be left with a babysitter or other relatives. I longed for her company, her hugs, kisses, and smiles. She would play games with me – long tea party sessions and make-believe camping trips where we’d fight off attacking bears (Square Toes is what we called a particularly aggressive bear, lol).
Back in the 1980s, it was easier to bring and keep your child at work. My mother worked in the San Francisco and worked at least fifty to sixty hour work weeks. I would go with her to work on Saturdays and play as if I was a banker. I think that’s how I learned to type, as I played on the old typing and adding machines with other little kids who were there, too. We’d run from cubicle to cubicle, taking papers, pens, and any other office supplies we could fashion into airplanes or paper dolls. My mother and their mothers never scolded us.
She worked for Crocker Bank, started in the check processing lockboxes and moved her way up to computer operations. Crocker Bank was bought out by Wells Fargo, which merged with First Interstate, then Norwest, and now Wells Fargo again. I remember her and her co-worker/friends smoking cigarettes as they worked on mainframe systems. The air was cold and smelled of faint cigarette smoke and new computer machines, fresh out of the box. She was a computer operator and I was fascinated watching her work with these big, smart machines.
After work, we’d shop at Esprit, or Emporium, and then head to the toy store. I remember a doctors kit from TJ Maxx she bought for me. We’d stop at Woolworths for some candy and no matter how tired my mom was, she’d let me talk to the pet birds and fish they sold. Then we’d catch the BART train back to Oakland, and people watch. At night, she would read as many books as I’d give her, often reading stories over and over again.
Everyday my mom tirelessly walked to the bus stop, caught the bus to the train, worked all day, then caught the same buses and trains back to pick me up. One time, she picked me up from daycare. We stopped and picked up a pizza slice from Cybelle’s. As soon as I got that lovely piece of thick crust and pepperoni, it dropped and splattered on the ground. I threw a fit. My mom, ever the appeaser, tried to buy another slice, but the parlor didn’t have anymore pizza slices that were ready. My mom consoled me enough to go home. She had a little surprises for me in her bags, sweets or toys, I can’t remember. What I do remember is she was a magician in my eyes and all-powerful enough to make things alright.
My mom: so smart, so beautiful, so loving, and so kind and indeed, was my first love.
Love you, Mommie. Thank you for always being so selfless, giving and loving to me, Jenni, and your grandkids. We’ve been so blessed and taken care of for as long as I can remember, because God packaged you into the amazing woman who you are. I aspire to be just like you when I become a grandmother. Thank you.
~Your Curator of all Things Inspirational, Kimberly Jo Cooley