Mother

by John C. Westervelt

My mother had been a widow for two years when I entered summer school at Oklahoma University in 1945. My year-older brother was in the navy. My year younger-sister was attending Classen high school in Oklahoma City. A Sears Roebuck scholarship for $300 enabled me to enroll in physics and analytical geometry. I thought taking some college courses might mean a better assignment when my turn to be drafted would soon arrive on my eighteenth birthday in December. The Franklin House dormitory food prepared for forty boys was satisfactory to me in those days.

One day that summer Mother called to say she would like to take me out to lunch. I canít remember why she came to Norman. It could have been her plan as a Home Economics teacher to get a masterís degree, which was awarded to her four years later. The Copper Kettle, close to campus corner, was Motherís choice for our lunch. I had not yet eaten in a nice restaurant in Norman. Mother and I ate and talked. I donít suppose we had talked as two adults before. I donít remember what was said.

I remember turning the clothes wringer handle as a boy to help Mother and Daddy with the laundry. I remember Mother, for good reasons, always sitting between my brother and me in the pew at Wesley church. I remember a decade of Christmas Eves at Motherís, with my brother, my sister, our spouses, and all our children spending the night. I remember Mother dying at home in her rocking chair when her worn-out heart gave up.

For reasons I canít explain, lunch at the Copper Kettle is my most treasured memory of my mother.

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