Mothers Day Gift is in the post

In honor of a woman who shaped so much of my life, as part of my journey, I thought I would take a few steps back in time to decorate from memory.

My mom and I

When I think of my mom, I think intelligent lively, opinionated, talented. A woman who could make things happen. Who could decorate a paper bag and in fact wore a paperbag on her head when driving a car she refused to be seen in.

The youngest of five girls. with a turkey for a pet.  Turkey Lurkey would walk my mom to the bus stop every morning, and trundle home back to wait at the bus stop at pick up time.(some how Turkey Lurkey knew what time to leave)  What a vision.  I love all the stories my mom told me about her childhood.  I can picture her having tea with the headmistress at school, after being thrown out of every class, the outspoken rebel child who did not fit in the mold.

My mom, who swam like a fiend,  and who spoke her truth.

Who hid her little dog under her hat on the train, who taught herself so many things.

Conquered her shyness and almost conquered the world. Or could have, if she had only wanted it badly enough.

Self taught to cook, wild child, dream dresser, superb dancer and scintillating conversationalist.  She collected dishes and plates of every hue.  She taught herself to sew so she could wear the latest fashion. And later frequented the most stylish boutiques. The best dressed woman. Mom fashioned a home with such style, beauty and grace wherever she landed.  She built two homes; both incredible spaces I would love to call home right now, with big rooms, lots of light and incredible views.   I can still remember every detail including  the sweeping veranda, and her lavish marble bathroom with mirrored walls in the second home.

Oh, the meals we had.  My mouth still waters, at the remembrance of those feasts. The lunches, afternoon tea’s those huge summer spreads with the table groaning under the tastiest fare, the indoor and outdoor rooms resplendent in blue and white.

Lavish dinners, dressed all gold tables, or red or green, unique menus and stylish settings.

Housecleaning day, every Friday, the space was upside down. Beds stripped and sprayed, indoor plants on the lawn for a good soak, floors washed, chandeliers dusted. Fresh cut flowers filling the beautiful Italian ceramic vase.

My mom had the most amazing costume jewelry, hats bags shoes coats, we sometimes would get dressed up for tea.

Tea at four, sitting around in the blue room talking about life, the universe and everything.  Staying up all night when family came round, to chat laugh drink endless cups of tea, play games. Live. Laugh. Dance. Decorate like no one was watching.

Mom & Me in France as we celebrate my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary

Sunday mornings my mom would rise early to bake for the day, in case guests dropped in.

Beloved Mom, you really did influence my life, you filled it with riches. Books, flowers, dancing, music, card nights, dinner parties, food to die for & a huge love of life.

Do you  have a special Mom Memory?  I would love to hear it.

If you are longing for a space to celebrate you, give me a call  Jennifer Duchene at 650.644.8592

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Mothers Day Gift is in the post — 22 Comments

  1. How wonderful to remember your opinionated and outspoken mother! She sounds like a powerful force for you (and funny, too). My memories of my mother are mixed but I am no longer burdened by the colder or more harsh parts of her personality. I remember how lovingly she read to us every day, and the comfort we found in museums. One day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we went to see the costumes exhibit, which was in a less-familiar part of the museum. We enjoyed the exhibit but then got completely lost trying to find our way out. It had just the touch of extra excitement as we wandered the nearly-empty halls, feeling both lost and safe. It’s a day I remember fondly.

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer
    “My cat owns me, my clutter stymies me, my writing frees me. Word maven loves—and learns from—ordinary life.”

  2. Fabulous pictures Jen. You look like your mother! Love how earnestly you are listening to her i the second picture. I have many memories of my mother, of which I overviewed in my own blog post thanking her this mothers day…but one that stands out in my mind is when I joined swim team at the age of 11 because I loved to swim…I hated it 2 days in. My mother wouldn’t let me quit though…she said I committed to being part of a team so I had to stick it out. While I thought I hated her at the time, I now know she taught me about commitment and to never give up…both great lessons in my life. So again, thanks Mom!

    • Thanks Irene. yes that picture reminds me of many hours of conversation we have shared. Funny how when our moms make us do things that infuriate us, only to discover later that it was a gift.

  3. You are lucky that your mom was such an inspired chef, fashionista, and DANCER! Sounds like good times growing up. I love the visual of turkey lurkey, they are such funny creatures. I bet there were piles of giggles in your house.

    • Yes Shoshanna I was lucky in so many ways. There were piles of giggles and good times, and some miserable times too. I am happy to remember the golden moments, and let go of the rest.

  4. Beyond beautiful! Made me cry, so fabulous! I totally felt and saw the character of your mom and could see so much of you as you described her 🙂 Something about my mom that makes me smile is her unstoppable determination…she’s a force of nature and I’m glad she’s on my side – LOL! I also then love to see the contrast of her with her grandkids as they have her wrapped around their little fingers!
    Brandy Mychals

    • thanks so much Brandy. Funny how connected we are to our moms. I was looking at old pictures of her and saw how beautiful she was. It was so sweet. Love it that your mom was so determined and yet now as a grandmom she is soft. That is so sweet.

  5. Oh, Jen. This made me sad and smile at the same time. I’m sorry she’s gone, but it’s clear there is so much of her left in your heart, memory and in all that you are. Post a picture of turkey lurkey if you have one!

    • Oh Debbie I dont know why I made it sound as if she is gone. She is still living, although she cant be the whirlwind she was, she is still full of vim and nonsense! I wish I had a picture of her and Turkey Lurkey!

  6. Oh my God, Jen–the energy picture you create of your Mom’s life, her homes, her style and all that she gave you! I can see it, feel it just in this brief telling. Ever thought about writing more? What a fabulous woman who left all of us such an amazing part of herself…in you.

    • dear Maridel, my mom did indeed create magic, and still doing it in a small way. I am blessed to have come after her. Oh yes I have discovered a sleeping scribe. All I want to do is lock myself away and write….

  7. Wow….BIG smiles as I read this. Jennifer your way with words is unmatchable…I could sit and listen (or read it) for hours…you brought me right there into your life…with mom. I LOVE her…and I busted out laughing about the paper bag on her head….we’d get along fabulously! She had such an influence on you….and yes, you look just like her:) What an inspirational post….makes me want to do more for and with my kids… have an impact….give them memories….great ones! I have quite a few funny memories of my mom…none that she would want on the web….lol! Thank you for sharing your beloved mom & memories with us…I feel like I know her! You lived a beautiful life with her…..filled with love. Hugs.

    Rita Brennan Freay

    • Dear Rita I can picture you with a paper bag lol! thanks for such lovely kindness. Ah yes, you would love my mom. And yes there is so much to be done with kids and adventures. So many memories to bake. Enjoy each moment, it goes so fast.

  8. I really love reading the stories about moms. Your story just sounds like a movie. All the visuals you provide in how you describe her just comes to life in my mind. I can see how she has influenced you with your many talents. Thanks for sharing your mom with us.

    Alara K. Castell
    Your Sassy Spiritual Guide

  9. I love that last picture Jen. I love the way your mom is leaning in, the way her hand is poised and she is saying something that seems important. You are listening, but your mouth is covered (are you eating one of those apples on the table?) It makes me want to know more about that moment. I really dig those overalls you are rocking too! To your question: what popped into my head was this time that my mom had applied for a job and she was being tested with several other applicants. When she came back, she told my brother and me the story of the experience and we have this quote that is one of our “Judie-isms”: “You should have seen them…” comparing herself to them. It was awesome, because she didn’t always exhibit self-confidence, but when she did it was a beautiful thing.

  10. What a wonderful descriptive post about your mom. For some unknown reason it brought back the memory of my mommy telling me that the scar on her tummy from the cesarean she had having me was a zipper and that her name was Cookie because she had a raisin in her belly button! This little girl believed her! Always makes me smile.

    Susan Berland
    A Picture’s Worth

  11. Hi Jen,
    What a beautiful memoir! And what great good fortune to have had your mother’s inspiration as you grew up. And even now, no doubt you embody her flair and zest for life as you embrace the world, decorating as you go. One lesson I learned from my mom was the value of determination and persistence. Good qualities you need if you’re self-employed.

  12. Jen It sounds like your Mom was quite a woman and it is so wonderful you have those memories. i have a memory of all 6 of us Mom, Dad, and 4 kids all sleeping in our car. It was so exciting and I remember watching the Flamborough Head Lighthouse flash on and off as i lay there in the car. Years later, I asked my parents why we were all sleeping in the car. My Mom told me that we were on vacation but had run out of money and didn’t have enough to pay for the hotel room so instead of bringing us home, they figured out, if we all slept in the car a couple of nights, we could afford to stay the whole week. It was then that i realized what wonderful parents i had.

    Julie Labes,…The Fierce over 50 feels much younger point and click junkie loves to travel does not use a jogging stroller and before you ask this is NOT my granddaughter..Woman

  13. You have such a beautiful way with words, weaving the memories so perfectly that the only thing I am missing of knowing her is the smell of her perfume! Thank you so much for sharing what a beautiful woman she was, and for opening a glimpse of a life lived so colorfully. You don’t get it from the wind! xoxo
    Jillian Todd Portrait Couture

  14. Unfortunately I don’t 🙁 I love my mum and she loves my girls to bits but we are so different there’s always been a barrier between us. I only once remember her hugging me (and a heavy mirror had just fallen on my head). I never felt that strong connection – just frustration. I have accepted that but I find all these mothers day posts difficult to comment on as she has great qualities but nothing I want to emulate.
    Louise Edington
    Fearless For Freedom

  15. Oh how I loved this post, it was like you were sitting next to me walking me through a picture show of your life — very vibrant images that you expressed.
    I love my mom and the strength that she showed me and taught me, the openness to new thoughts and ideas and people, the warmth to everyone and that everyone is welcomed and loved; equally. And most importantly the willingness to laugh! my dad was the funny one, the one causing the laughter. But my mom encouraged it, and enveloped me into it! Even in the roughest times we always had love and laughter ~~ and that is what I want to leave my children as well;)
    Yvonne Hall

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