When I was growing up in Binghamton back in the 1960s, I often appreciated the grace of other people’s moms.
One of my favorites is the woman to the left in the picture. Of all of my classmates’ moms, Mrs. B was probably my favorite. I don’t remember the particular event, or even if I were there, although that looks like my 6th-grade teacher Mr. Peca in the window.
The thing is that she was always hosting events such as this. And her family owned a cottage on a lake and she hosted a motley crew of us down there.
When I was 19, she told me that I could call her by her first name. No way I was going to do that. She’s still around and I still wouldn’t.
Another mom I was fond of was Mrs. Lia. I wrote about her when she died in 2020. Coincidentally, she and Mrs. B. lived fairly close together on the same street.
Mrs. Hamlin, first name Marcheta, who died in 2015, I wrote about here. Besides her being the organist at my church, she and her sister Pat Jones were quite possibly the only black moms I knew from my K-9 school, Daniel Dickinson. And they lived a block or so from the school.
In fact, my parents were Pat’s son Walter’s godparents. I inherited my newspaper route and my library page job from Walter. And the Whitfields, the parents of Marcheta Hamlin and Pat Jones, were my godparents.
But I was in the Hamlin house much more often, spending a year trying, and failing, to learn piano. Incidentally, Mr. and Mrs. Hamlin are buried in Spring Forest Cemetery, about as close to their home as my grandmother Gertrude Williams is from her home to her plot in that cemetery.
Since my mom died in 2011, it’s been especially nice having a smart and good mother-in-law. We get along well much of the time and agree on most topics, especially theology. Much of the recent Saturday conversations on Zoom involve the family finally planning the funeral of her late husband Richard.
This means us writing the obituary and creating the service, although the pastor has, in Richard’s handwriting, what he had wanted to happen. Undoubtedly, he hadn’t counted on a pandemic. On the other hand, more people may be able to attend virtually, notably his elderly siblings.
And my mother-in-law may be selling her house in Oneonta and moving to the Albany area in the coming months. Which’ll mean she’ll be 15 minutes away, rather than 75. That would be nice.