Sunday, May 7, 2017

"Oh, Kaye!" chats about mothers and daughters

Mother's Day isn't until next Sunday, but close enough.

Mothers and daughters.  

Much has been written of the topic of mothers and daughters.

It's complicated.

There's love and light and laughter.

But for some, sadly, there's darkness.

I feel lucky and blessed to have had a mother who loved life, loved to laugh, and taught me to find humor in most things.  

She was irreverent in what she found funny, and made no apologies.

She had a salty tongue, and made no apologies.

She was steadfast and loyal to family and friends.  Make trouble for one of her sisters, her husband, or me and deal with a fury named Hazel.

But, if you were a friend you were a friend for life.

She taught me a lot.

One of the things she taught me was a love of nice clothes.  (And jewelry, but that's another story for another day).

And to never pay full price.

Well.  Okay,  "Rarely" pay full price.  I admit splurging on a little red Nanette Lepore dress.  I make no apologies - I still love it.

Her philosophy was there was always a sale.  If you were patient enough and smart enough, you could find that special dress, shoes, purse, coat, whatever at a better price.  And if you couldn't?  Pfft.  You'll find something better.  (But she agreed, she too would have paid full price for that adorable little red Nanette Lepore dress).

We made a game out of bargain hunting over the years, and Donald was appalled the first Christmas he spent with us when I gave my mom a gift that still had the price tag on it.  But.  It showed the original price, the sale price, the next sale price and the final clearance price.  I had to make sure she saw this! 

He finally got used to my mom and I doing this. 


It did offend his sensibilities. This was not how he was raised.  You just do not talk about what something costs, and you certainly don't tell someone how much you paid for a gift you've just given them!  And, of course, he's absolutely right.  His mother and dad raised him well.

But, they didn't know Hazel back then.

Not to make it sound as though she carried on like this with everyone.  Of course not.  She had manners, and she knew how to act, and she did have her "proper" side.  

She would never have left the price tags on a gift to anyone other than me.  No matter how great the bargain was.

But this silliness?  This was one of those fun/funny Mother/Daughter things.  It was something we had been doing for my whole life, best as I can remember.

A few years back, I bought her a gorgeous black leather purse. 

And it was a steal, let me tell you.

She loved that bag and carried it for years.  

When she died and I was cleaning out her closets, I found it.  And the price tag was tucked in a zipper compartment.  The tag showed the original price and all the mark-downs.  I cried, of course, but there was laughter mixed with those tears.  There was no one like my mom.

Sometimes when I come across one of those  "too good to be true" sales, I feel pretty certain she's right there with me.

Shopping a couple weeks ago at our little Boone Mall, which has approximately 30 stores, which is (I think) just right, I found an adorable little black dress.

I have this "thing" for little black dresses.  Just like I have a "thing" for crisp white shirts.  My closet is too full of both, but if the price is right, I can't help myself.

This little black dress is not a dressy dress, it's casual enough to just toss on and go.  And my rationale for buying it was "it'll be perfect for Paris!"

And this - - - 

And I could see in my mind, my mom smiling at me and saying, "Honey.  You stole that little black dress.  I'm proud of you."

How 'bout you, Dear Reds.  Is there a Mother/Daughter tradition you share or shared with your mother?  Or one you share with your daughters?


  1. What a lovely remembrance, Kaye . . . and what a special mom.
    Even though we don’t get to shop together very often, my daughters and I sometimes share notes on the best sales. There’s something quite exciting about a particularly great “steal of a deal” . . . and my mom definitely would have approved.

  2. Kaye, I know how much you and Donald both miss your mother, but what great memories! Laughter and my Mom & my sisters together. When the four of us are together, we laugh a lot. And, sometimes I couldn't even tell you what we laugh about, but it's that laughter and togetherness that's special.

  3. That's outstanding, Kaye! Of course you left the price tag on for her gifts. That was part of the gift!

    My mother died in 2006. One of her quirks was that she would always get in bed, glance at her clock, and it would be 11:11. We called it "Mom's bedtime," and now, every time I catch the clock on 11:11--a.m. or p.m.--I smile and say, "Hi, Mom!"

  4. OH, Kaye, what a marvelous post… Love it! And you have captured your mother perfectly. Gigi, so funny! My family does that too, with 11:11. And found pennies.
    After my mom died, we found she had left cardboard bankers boxes for all of us. Full of memorabilia, photos and school papers and things like that. I opened mine, and a puff of mom's perfume came out. So I still visit it from time to time.
    And I got all of her scarves! Imagine being wrapped in mom…

    1. What a lovely idea, Hank. As I get the house ready for a move in the next year or so, I'm going to do this for my own daughters. Thank you for the inspiration.

    2. Oh, we all love our boxes so much! And I always think of her doing it, too, you know? Which is so wonderful.

  5. Joan - a "Steal of a Deal!" Yes! Those words get my adrenaline racing.

    Lesa - I love your family. Your trips and your laughter are things I always look forward to hearing about. Elizabeth raised some pretty awesome girls.

    Gigi - This made me smile. Isn't it funny the things we remember?

    Hank - I love this about the bankers boxes! Wasn't that a sweet, caring thing she did. The scarves!! Oh, my. Yes - now that is special.

  6. What a nice way to remember your mom, Kaye. I love the time I get to spend with my daughters. When they visit we make time for a shopping trip to our local Marshalls, always. Then arguing about whether they'll let me pay. Actually my favorite part is driving there and back. You find out all kinds of things just chit-chatting in the car.

  7. I agree, Hallie. That time in the car when there's nothing else to call out for your attention - no laundry, nothing. It's such a great time to talk. We don't have a Marshalls here in Boone, but we do have a TJ Maxx - I don't know how I'd stand it if it ever closes!

  8. Kaye, love this post! Many thanks to your mom for you!

    Most of the traditions with my daughters involve food, either cooking it together, or sharing some unique dining experience. Last year my youngest daughter took me to high tea at the Mandarin Hotel in DC; this year she and I spent a lovely evening at a winery in Virginia, gazing out over the verdant mountains. But all three enjoy finding new places, and new food, with me. And I enjoy them!

  9. Thank you, Karen. Ah - food. What's lovelier than sitting down with people you care about and sharing a lovely meal? Tea at the Mandarin sounds divine!

  10. Kaye, what a lovely story about your mom. My mom loved a bargain, too, and some of our best chats were undoubtedly had on shopping expeditions.

    For mother's day, my daughter and I are treating ourselves to a visit to Northpark (the fabulous Dallas mall, which my mom and I visited regularly from the time it opened in 1965.) We'll have a chance to catch up on the drive and while shopping, but the very best thing is snacks and happy hour on the patio of our favorite restaurant.

  11. Now this sounds just perfect, Debs. You and Kayti have such a sweet relationship; I always enjoy seeing pictures and hearing stories.

  12. My mom would have loved your mom! She also loved a great bargain, and if someone complimented her on her outfit, she would always reveal its price history. She and I loved to shop together, and now my daughter and I share the same passion. The 11th anniversary of my mom's death just passed, so thanks for this sweet reminder of good times spent together!

  13. S.W. - isn't it a shame we didn't all live closer in reality than in one another's computers?! Our moms could have added a whole new dimension to their worlds.

    Libby - thank you.

  14. What a wonderful story! I love that you left the price tags on each other's gifts. It makes so much sense and adds so much to the gift--after all, you had to wait for those markdowns. That's tension creating in and of itself. I don't have daughters, but if I did - that would be lesson 1. It's perfect.

  15. I'm so happy you're one of the ones who "gets" it, Kait. Not everyone is so appreciative!

  16. Kaye- I love this! And I love the picture of you, your mom, and Harley - precious! My mom and I like to take long drives together. It was a Sunday thing back when I lived nearby and we ended up, depending upon the season, near the shore for lobster rolls, at the apple orchard to pick a bushel for pie, or we'd find an outlet mall for sales. We never knew where we were going to end up when we set out but we always spent the drive grateful to be together. I miss that but when she came to Hawaii with me recently, we did the same thing. Off in the rental car, driving wherever the wind took us. It was great and those drives are full of moments i will cherish forever.

  17. Oh, Jenn - I would love to meet your mom. She raised one very extraordinary woman.

  18. Laughing. I still have my mom; she's 97 and she is on that downward slide I'm afraid. We both love to read so I bring her books I've just read or gotten from the library. I just handed over the latest Hamish MacBeth yesterday. Many years ago I got turned onto Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, Helen MacInnes, etc because she read them. After reading the latest one I would ask her if she was positive she wasn't holding back any deep dark family secrets. She'd grin and say "afraid not." Of course she is a west Texas gal so not likely to have secret families or castles she's hiding from.

  19. Kaye, what fun you and your mother must have had. I wish I could have met her. I know how proud she must have been and still is of the wonderful woman you are.

    I left home too early. After high school and college, I got married at 22 and moved to the other side of the state from my family. I feel like I missed out on some wonderful times with my mother that living close geographically would have given us. Visits in were never long enough to establish a routine, and when the kids came along, I was so busy with them, my mother and I got lost in the shuffle. I was 40 when she died, with my younger child being 7. I think I had finally gotten to the place where I appreciated just what a great mother mine had been when she was gone. I don't mean to be posting a downer post. I have great memories of my mother when I was young, growing up. It's just that I think having an adult relationship with your mother, where you get to enjoy each other's company one-on-one is quite something. My daughter and I have gone on trips together, the latest being the New Orleans Bouchercon, and it's so lovely having that kind of time together.

  20. Pat, you've come up with some of my favorite authors here - Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, Helen MacInnes. I can already tell I would enjoy chatting about books with your mom, and you.

    Kathy, I think I can put my finger on the exact time I realized my mom and I were really friends. It was the evening she called me on the hall phone in my college dorm. Bobby Kennedy had been shot. She was heartbroken, and she knew I would be heartbroken. I don't really remember talking so much as just sitting on that phone knowing we were there for each other. You, sister/friend, are such a great mom. I enjoyed meeting and spending a little bit of time with your sweet daughter in New Orleans, and it was easy to see what great friends the two of you are. You're both quite lucky to have that relationship and I'm betting your mom is smiling down on you both.