Umber (19.4 – Vera’s Story)
March 17, 2012 § 2 Comments
How I missed my mother! As strict and as sanctimonious as papa was, that’s how sweet my mama was. That night, after she died, I remembered how, some weeks earlier, I had been helping her pull weeds in the garden while everyone else was away in the fields. She had abruptly put down the hoe, plucked a pink chrysanthemum from the flowerbed by the gate, and tucked it behind my ear. Then, laughing and singing a song about sleeping and morning bells, she twirled me around like a ballerina in the grass. Then we sat hidden between rows of dry, crackly pole beans, and she told me about her ancestors from Picardy. They had boarded a ship called the “Spotted Cow” and floated across the Atlantic Ocean until they bumped into New Jersey, and, she had said, that’s why I spoke English instead of French.