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  • The front of my Mother’s Day card would have an image of myself - content in every pore of my being - sitting at the kitchen nook table in your St. Louis apartment while you are standing in front of the open refrigerator picking out things for me to eat. I have just come in to visit and we are both talking a blue streak to get caught up, to get me fed, to bask in the AC current of total acceptance.
    You fill me in on everybody – family, friends, and colleagues – with an opinion on each one. I can’t stop smiling, except to chew on something tasty that you put in front of me. You want to know everything about me. I am seen. I am known and rediscovered by you each time. Your life since the divorce is one of constant movement as you open one new door after another.

    The image on the inside panel of the card would be us at the drive-in movie theater laughing uproariously in the front seat of my car? Can you still remember that night nearly 40 years ago?
    The roles are reversed and You are visiting me - for the first time since I moved to California ten months earlier. I am 20. You are Mom. That morning I picked up some friends who were hitchhiking and the woman spontaneously gave me the keys to her apartment for you and me. She would spend the weekend with her boyfriend. That’s how things could work on the good days in this new hometown.

    You are so excited – telling me about the new class you are teaching at the community college – women’s studies. It is 1973. Four years since your move to St. Louis and the job as a college instructor and you have a host of new friends and a social milieu that runs parallel and separate from your familiar world in the Orthodox Jewish community. You say that lately you are spending a lot of time with one man in particular and his friends in the St. Louis Black literati community. Here’s the caption for the card – from what you said as we drove from the airport to our weekend apartment. “We’ll sit in a circle in somebody’s living room and they’ll start passing around marijuana joints. You’d love this group and their conversations. It’s all about art, politics, and lots of laughter……Do you know how to get some of that stuff?”

    I wish I could remember the scene where we scored an ounce – the look on the dealer’s face staring at this unlikely customer-duo. I wish I could remember the particular movie at the drive-in we went to. If I had known how few visits that we had left, I would have written down every little detail. I do remember a lot of giggling and popcorn. I also remember some sense of passage – being goofy together like roommates or buddies, even while at a core level nothing was different. As always, you were my primordial anchor. A year later you came West again at the invitation of a young student of yours and I remember a group of us going to a Jerry Garcia Band concert at The Great American Music Hall and smoking joints at the table. How great it was to have a mom with whom I could share those times…...the music, the political-cultural paradigm shifting, the new doors to walk through. It was a blessed, great run. Happy Mother’s Day!
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