Purse holds precious memories of Mom


Lorna Marquardt, Leader Columnist

You would have liked my mom if you had known her. She was the best! Mom didn’t have an easy life. Her father died when she was only 12 years old. She was the oldest of six children. Mother had to quit school to take care of her siblings so her mother could work to provide for the family.

She became a widow at only 53 when my dad passed away. With my younger brother still in school, it was not easy for her, yet she never complained.

We all have things that are private to us, and she did, too. Her purse was off limits; we were not allowed to open it. We all respected that. Mom always kept Chiclets in it, and, even as an adult, I would take her purse to her so she could give me one.

Mom passed away in 2004. As the only daughter, I was given her purse. I placed it on my dresser where it has remained unopened for all these years. It seems lately she has been on my mind more than ever.

I guess I needed to feel her presence, so on Monday, I decided to open her purse. I suggested to my hubby that he might want to go out to our land in Wescott and do some mowing. He readily agreed. I really wanted to be alone. I felt nervous and unsure of my emotions.

Mom loved an occasional Old-Fashioned, so I decided to make myself one. I went upstairs and got her purse and headed to our family room, drink and purse in hand.

For those of you who are cat lovers, you know how perceptive cats can be. Mittens usually sleeps in the afternoon, but she came and placed her head on my lap. She was a comfort.

I cannot explain to you the feeling of calm that overcame me as I opened my mother’s purse. I could hear her telling me, “It’s OK, Lorna, you have my permission.”

As I gently took each item out of her purse, the memories flowed and so did my tears. I could feel her presence. I won’t share what was in her purse, because I still respect her privacy. But I will tell you, little things that were in her purse might seem worthless to some, but to me, they mean the world. I’m glad I waited for the right time.

Your Mother is always with you. She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street.

She’s the smell of certain foods you remember, flowers you pick, and perfume she wore (Revlon’s Charlie)

She’s the cool hand on your brow when you’re not feeling well.

She’s your breath in the air on a cold winter’s day, the sound of rain that lulls you to sleep, the colors of the rainbow.

She is Christmas morning. Your mother lives inside your laughter and she is crystallized in every teardrop.

A Mother shows every emotion … happiness, sadness, fear, jealousy, joy, sorrow … and all the while, hoping and praying that you will only know the good feelings in life.

She is the place you came from, your first home, and she’s the map you follow with every step you take.

She’s your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy, but nothing on earth can separate you … not time, not space, not even death.

I love you, Mom. I’m glad we spent some time together this week.

Answer to last week’s question: Jeanne Donald was the publisher of the Shawano Evening Leader from 1940-1974.

This week’s question: Who opened the first shoeshine stand in Shawano?

Lorna Marquardt is a former mayor of Shawano.