Thursday, October 14, 2010


It's getting late and the weather forecast is looking threatening. A cold front is coming in and thunderstorms are imminent. For some reason, I have been caught off guard. I usually keep up with the weather when I think a storm is coming, but due to busyness of the day, I have no knowledge of any such weather. For a lot of people, this news would just be a small annoyance, but for my mother and me, it's a huge event.

As I sit in the comfort of my home, I can see the lightening flashing in a distance and the rumbling of thunder, which mother would call "God moving His furniture around." Knowing that mother will be frightened, I tell my husband that I need to call and let her know that we are thinking about her. Mother goes to bed rather early each night and it is already some 45 minutes past that time. My husband advices me not to call in case she's asleep and I might wake her. I do as he says, but worry about her being afraid.

The next day, my sister Sue who lives in another town, emails me at work, telling me that she had seen on the news where we were to have bad weather that night, so she had called to check on mother. Mother had told her that she was in the bed and had told the children to lie down on a piece of carpet and they would be safe from the storm.

Growing up with a mother who is utterly terrified of thunderstorms, can bring a variety of inhibitions for the children which may linger with them for a lifetime, myself in particular. I can remember the approaching of many a thunderstorm and all the frightening routines that mother would instruct us to perform, just to keep her children safe.

The first thing we were told to do, was to turn the television off and unplug any and everything that used power. Next, we would draw the drapes. I suppose this was so we wouldn't be able to see the lightening flashing so vividly. Lastly we were to go lie down on the bed, couch or once I even remember crawling under the bed. All this without being able to say one word! Mother somehow felt that if we talked during the storm, it would be irreverent! And of course, we could never talk on the telephone during a storm. Now there was one place that mother felt safe, and that was in a car. The reasoning in this was pretty clever, you see, a car is supported with four rubber tires, thus safeguarding those who chose to brave the weather and ride around in it. I remember several times mother talking my daddy into taking us for a ride when it stormed. I'm not one to blame my parents for any weird things that I might have acquired during the rearing days, but I must say that this is one monkey on the back, I would rather she had kept for herself.

On any given fourth of July, you will find me sitting in a car, watching the fireworks from a distance while everyone else is standing with family and friend enjoying the display. Thunderstorms for me are debilitating. They govern my life in the summertime. I choose where I will go and what I will do only by what the weather forecasts. If there's a parade that I'll be attending, I find out ahead of time if there will be those silly cars which backfire from time to time or if the veterans might be shooting their guns occasionally. I remember a trip to New York City several years ago and the privilege to see the Phantom of the Opera. Not knowing that there would be firecrackers thrown on stage, I was forced to sit with my ears stopped up during the whole performance while onlookers sat around me with a funny look on their face. I could go on and on about the many fears of loud noises which I carry around with me daily, due to my primitive days at home with my mother.

I suppose that each of us have come away from our childhood with some things we would rather have left behind. I could never have wished for a better mother than the one I have in spite of my noise phobia. It's like the old saying..."My mother wasn't perfect, but she was close."

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