Monday, March 17, 2008


My mother's been ill.. it's nothing new. I pretend to be 47, (I'm a lot older.. I am sometimes astounded at just how old I am) and my mother was 27 when I was born.

At best (if I were 47), she'd be 74—not a spring chicken by any definition—but as I said, I 'm older than 47.

She is prey to age, and all that entails; she quit smoking 20 odd years ago—after a major heart attack—but the years of smoking took their toll, and she's never fully recovered from the damage of the heart attack or the smoking.

Her breathing is poor, and her heart, was damaged back in those pre-war, pre-antibiotic days of her youth, long before she ever smoked.

She is unhappy in the hospital, and wants to go home.

I heard that, and wonder, where is home?

As a child, when my mother spoke of home, she never meant where we lived. Home was never where she lived, home was not her husband and family, or her bed or kitchen, in the apartment. Home wasn't New York--where she has lived some 60 years. Home was Ireland.

I remember how startled I was when, as a family, we went to Ireland.

I have wonderful rich memories. I love visiting Ireland, but I didn't feel at home there. Ireland was a wonderful place, but it wasn't home.

Home for me was my parents, and siblings, the apartment we lived in, my friends, my school. Home for me was New York.

Tonight, New York's Channel 13 (our PBS station) had a short film, HOME. Written and narrated by an Irish immigrant, it explored the idea of home—and the New York experience.
I realize how lucky I am to be at home. To feel at home in my city, in my apartment, in myself.

The cliché is that Home is where the heart is.

I think my mother is heart broken-- in ways beyond physically--and home, too, is a fractured place. And that, more than anything else I can say, is the saddest thing.


Mag said...

I don't feel at home anywhere, because I've lived in so many different places and my family home is long gone.

Great post.

teabird said...

I'm so sorry about your mother and your own melancholy -

Anonymous said...

Thanks, of Troy.
This is a beautiful "snapshot"

Can I make you both some tea & cookies?
XXO --LaBou

sulu-design said...

This post as well as the previous one are just wonderful. I'm sorry to hear about your mother - I've heard you speak about her often and hope that she can find some peace soon.

Angie said...

I'm so sorry for how you're feeling right now. Please know that you and your mom will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Domdarling said...

Hi !
I've just come across your blog by chance through Wordsmith and I've read the last five issues. I'm a French woman in her early fifties and I was amazed at the skills required to knit socks (I've sung opera and melodies for years and it required a lot of work too and I quite understand how one can be dedicated to a passion).
Not strangely enough at all, your photos and explanations about details of sock knitting reminded me of my old uncle who was a war prisoner in a camp in Germany during WWII ! He was the only boy among much older sisters and he was used to seeing them knit and sew and do all sorts of handwork. In his prisoner camp they desperately needed socks and he started knitting them with the yarn and the explanations (and I guess the needles, but maybe he had to make them himself)that his mother and sisters had sent him. I remember he said that after some time he had become quite experienced and he was able to knit steady and fast, encouraged by his companions who were waiting for him to finish pair after pair in this very cold area of Germany. In this regard, he had been lucky to only have had (skillful) older sisters who had previously initiated him to knitting, probably as a game.
I hope I shall see one day or another hand-knit socks as an installation in an Art Gallery. My fantasy would be to see socks in all the shades of the rainbow, some of them unfinished still attached to wooden needles hanging from the ceiling from nylon threads, with a tittle like : "What's at the feet of the rainbow" or "How do rainbows move"... Just a fantasy. I think hand-knitting socks, among a lot of other things of course, is quintessential of some of female activities : making people warm and comfortable, using skills and time protecting and warming people's feet, according to physiotherapists a key element of well-being. Yes, I hope that one day there will be a whole exhibition of hand-knit socks in a modern art gallery and that it will be humorous and touching. I do remember seeing a long time ago in an exhibition a white pair of nun's socks that had been repaired many times to the point of becoming a work of art. Later on the photo appeared very often in magazines as it seems they had struck people's imagination. I wish the same destiny to your socks, that they become one day art icons and be famous to the general public.

Monbert said...

So sorry to hear about your mom.

I understand that wanting to go home feeling. I've lived in about two dozen places. I hope to someday find a place I can go "home" to.

zippiknits...sometimes said...

Hello, dear one, I am here and am reading whenever you update.

I know the feeling of not being at home where I live now. My heart is with MY family, my daughters, and they live a long ways away. Thank Heavens for email. Sending some *HUGS* for you and for your mom.