Elizabeth Mary Anderson and Her Mama

>> Friday, June 8, 2012

This story got knocked out of the running for the topic, Current Events, this week.  Just a second too late.  Sad, huh?  So I'm sharing it here today.  I happened to catch a news story on Good Morning America yesterday that gave me the idea.  I wasn't even going to write an entry but it got me awake and my mind moving.  Parents and graduates were getting in major trouble for cheering excessively at graduation.  Can you imagination?  They were being fined, jailed, and some given community service.  Just crazy!  

Another idea I was going to write about was this new law about putting your dog in seat belts.  Another stiff fine if it's not done.  In many cases, it's a higher fine than if your children aren't buckled up.  Again, CRAZY!!  

Here's my story that was born from GMA and written two hours before it was due.  

Elizabeth Mary Anderson and Her Mama

My dad, he ain’t been in my life.  Just me and Mama struggled through.  She a good mama too.  There were days I didn’t want to get out of bed for school but Mama made me.  She even pulled the mattress out from under me one time.  I came up cussing and she ran and got the soap.  I ate a bar of Ivory for breakfast that day.  My sophomore year, she caught me running with a gang and I didn’t run nowhere for a month.  That ole gang, they scared of my mama after that.  She called their mama’s too.  There were lots of full pews in church that next Sunday.  I sure did feel holes burning in the backa my head though.

We did it!  Me and my momma.  It was a hard four years but she pulled and pushed me through high school.  Every night she stood over me while I did homework. 

Mama say, “Edu-cation important, Lissibeth.  You gonna make sumpin of youself if it kill both of us.”

Sometimes it did just that.  I felt murdered one hundred times over.  Mama a slave driver.  Weren’t no tv in our house.  No cable.  No computer.  I go to the library and work for hours and when I got home, Mama, she be home from work by then and have a meal ready for me then she make me read books, like To Kill a Mockingbird.  She say they good for me.

Mama don’t read.  She never learned.  Don’t know why.  She smart. When my homework done, I bring out Dr. Seuss and she read The Cat in the Hat.  She embarrassed but she also proud.  Proud I want to teach her.  Proud I’m not ashamed of her.   I would never ever be ashamed of Mama.  She my Rock. 

At night she ‘read’ the Bible to me.  It was years before I found out she wasn’t really reading it. Many parts she had memorized and others, she told the stories.   She sat in her rocking chair and the words spilled out.  I closed my eyes and pretended like I was right there.  Sometimes though, I be so tired, I fell asleep, then I felt Mama’s wrath.  She whacked me on the head and I sat up straight again and she picked up where she left off.  We both worked hard but Mama worked way harder. 

After I went to sleep, she stayed up and cleaned our little apartment.  I heard her working on her words in the book too.  I always left my homework out on our little kitchen table.  She opened it up and looked at it then I heard her pray over it every single night.  And she prayed for me.  My mama, she special.  I sure love my mama. 

So today, you see, is special for both of us.  We’re both up early.  She ironing my graduation gown and my dress I’m wearing underneath.  We searched every thrift store in Chicago looking for the perfect one.  We had so much fun.  I never saw Mama giggle like I did that day.  It like she graduating instead of me.  Wish she could stand up there with me.  I’d let her if she could.  She did it with me. 

“Lissie!  Getting’ late.  Getta move on!”

That my mama.  She just a little bit excited.  I gathered up my things.  It was time to get to the L for our trip to the school.

“Mama,” I had to talk loud above the other excited voices on the train.  “Remember, there’s no loud cheering when I walk across the stage.”

She just looked at me. 

“Said they enforcing it this year.  They mean it.”

Mama grinned.   She’s so excited.  I can’t take this away from her.  This her graduation as much as it is mine.  If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be here.  I leaned over and kissed her on the cheek.  “I love you, Mama.  Thank you for everything.”

She smiled a big white toothy grin.  That’s my mama.

Elizabeth Mary Anderson

And she did it.  Sweet Mama stood and hooted.  She hollered.  She whistled. 

The school…they good on their word.

My sweet mama.  She taken away in handcuffs.  

Her crime:   She too loud. 

Really?  My Mama?

I demanded handcuffs on me too. 

We in jail right now.  She teach me my about civil rights and the greats like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr…    

Mama always say school never ends.

I  love my mama. 


Author’s Note:

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