I've spent the past week reconnecting with family, sharing the memories of her life, and of all of us growing up together. She grew up with five sisters and three brothers. At this time one brother and four sisters remain.
One memory has risen to the surface and become fixed in my mind.
When I was nine years old I had fallen in with a bad crowd at school. At the time we lived in Bradbury Heights, Maryland, a suburb of Washington D.C. My Dad was working two jobs to make ends meet and keep food on the table, allowing my mom to focus on raising us kids. At the time I had a sister, two years younger than me, and a two year old brother.
After cutting school me and one of my so called friends, found ourselves outside a 7-11. The plan was my friend would distract the clerk and I'd grab a pack of Kools that were displayed on a plastic shelf within easy reach. Everything was going as planned. I grabbed the pack of cigarettes just as the clerk turned back to me and grabbed my hand. I tried to pull away but he had a pretty good grip. My friend, seeing our intricate plan collapsing right before his eyes did the only thing he could do. He ran, leaving me alone to take the fall.
The Police were called and I was taken to the local station house where they called my mom to come pick me up. After nearly an hour she arrived to take custody of me. I believe at the time I would have preferred jail time to what I knew was waiting for me.
We leave the station house and I climb into the passengers side of the car. Between us on the bench seat sat a bag of groceries. Sticking out of the top of the bag was a brand new pancake turner. You know the old metal kind with the oval holes.
"I see you did some shopping." I said as her eyes remained fixed on the road before us, her mouth set in a grim line. "You got a new pancake turner."
"That's because I'm gonna wear the old one out on your ass when we get home." She said.
That was my mom. She kept us straight, and out of trouble as best she could, and in my opinion I believe she did one hell of a good job. The more enlightened may frown on the fact that she resorted to smacking her children's ass when they got out of line. Others might classify it as child abuse. That's neither here nor there at this moment. Because even though my ass was indeed sore, it wasn't the beating that hurt, it was her disappointment in me that cut the deepest.
Mary Juanita (Crowe) Schiver
June-19-1935 to May-27-2013