Apr 2, 2008

B's and P's and Q's

by Faith St. Clair

Last week marked the two-year anniversary of my Mother’s death. I really didn’t think about it too much last year at this time, but this year three funerals surfaced in a week and a half. One of those was Anna Arnett’s husband, Charles. Although I didn’t physically attend his services, reading about his life, his influence and his funeral (as well as those that I have attended) has brought my emotions and memories to a head.

Although I have relived the pain of my Mother’s suffering and have succumbed to the usual and intense loss for not having her here on this earth to guide me, bug me, hug me, inspire me, make me laugh and enjoy holidays with, the main thrust of my emotions has been fun and excitement. I think of the fun and funny things about her and I am excited about where she is and the great work I know she is doing on the other side of the veil.

For the fun and funny:

Belch, bellybutton, burp, butt, barf, or boobs. If it started with a "b", you would never hear it come from my Mothers' mouth.

“There are such things as the use of proper vocabulary, dear.” She would say.

We didn’t talk about our “time of the month”, or refer to our “fanny” very much. We didn’t show our “navels” and the only thing that was allowed to “burp” was a baby. She held our hair back as we “vomited” and our bodies were “torsos”. We “tinkled” and went “number two” but talking about bodily functions was pretty unacceptable (since I guess “body” started with a “b”). Jeans were what farmers wore and girls were meant to have long hair and boys, short hair. “Two-piece swimming suits” (bikinis starts with a “b”) were out of the question and “respect for your elders” meant you did not address them by their first name – EVER – and what they said, went.

Thinking of her prompts me to remember my P’s and Q’s (not my “b’s”). She would get so flustered in the company of base remarks. Although I’m grateful for her example, she still makes me laugh.

I also get excited when I think of her and where she is. She is amongst great company and I often think that when my time comes, how excited I will be to see God, Christ, Mom, Doug, Gary, Robin, Linda, Popsie, Grandma and Grandpa, Max, Charles, Dale, Randy and so many more. I will enjoy the reunions, the visiting and the lack of sorrow.

Until then… on this balmy bench I banter a bunch of words for my beautiful mother to bask in. These are “b’s” she actually enjoyed…

Ballet, butterflies, bouquets, Brahms, babies, blessings, beautiful, big band, black strap molasses, books, breezes, belief and bells.


  1. And here I thought I had the only mother like that. Wasn't it such an elegant time?

  2. I wish I could have known your mother, Faith! I love your tribute to her. I am encouraged to keep up my efforts to teach my children the "better" way. You are my hero!

  3. An especially enjoyable offering. Thank you for all the memories it triggered.

    You not only described your mother well, you could have been talking about my mother. More to the point, you came pretty close to describing ME. But then, I'm probably in the same generation as your mother, for my sister was sixteen when I, the baby of the family, came along.

    I think we might blame this reticent phenonomon on Queen Victoria, whose prim morals reformed the outward, at least, customs and language of the English and English-speaking nations. And I'm glad she did. We learned a precise and 'proper' vocabulary. Though I suffered some from not being able to tell a boy to please excuse me because I had to use the rest room, it was a given among my peers that you never spoke of such in mixed company. However, we shared many a story among us girls.

    I undoubtedly still have some vestige of hangover from my growing-up days, but I've also lived in a generation of free speech. I may blush, or cringe, but I don't faint.

  4. This made me laugh. How true that once upon a time we didn't speak of certain things and used much more proper language.

  5. Yes, I can remember a time when you would nevr hear an advertisment for feminine products, much less something for 'male enhancement.' I miss those times. I remember listening to William F. Buckley (God rest his sou) speaking on Johnny Carson's show about the time Hair was playing on Broadway and there was this great hoo-hah about the nudity. Someone was vociferously defending it, and he said, smiling in his inimitable fashion, "Yes, well there's a reason we refer to them as our 'private parts.'" Everyone applauded, including me.


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