May 11th, 2014

Happy Mother’s Day: mothers and babies

[NOTE: This is a repeat of a previous post. It was written while my mother was still alive.]

Okay, who are these three dark beauties?

A hint: one of them is the very first picture you’ve ever seen on this blog of neo-neocon, sans apple. Not that you’d recognize me, of course. Even my own mother might not recognize me from this photo.

My own mother, you say? Of course she would. Ah, but she’s here too, looking a bit different than she does today—Mother’s Day—at ninety-eight years of age. Just a bit; maybe her own mother wouldn’t recognize her, either.

Her own mother? She’s the one who’s all dressed up, with longer hair than the rest of us.

The photo of my grandmother was taken in the 1880’s; the one of my mother in the teens of the twentieth century; and the one of me, of course, in the 1950s.

Heredity, ain’t it great? My mother and grandmother are both sitting for formal portraits at a professional photographer’s studio, but by the time I came around amateur snapshots were easy to take with a smallish Brownie camera. My mother is sitting on the knee of her own grandfather, my grandmother’s father, a dapper gentleman who was always very well-turned out. I’m next to my older brother, who’s reading a book to me but is cropped out of this photo. My grandmother sits alone in all her finery.

We all not only resemble each other greatly in our features and coloring, but in our solemnity. My mother’s and grandmother’s seriousness is probably explained by the strange and formal setting; mine is due to my concentration on the book, which was Peter Pan (my brother was only pretending to read it, since he couldn’t read yet, but I didn’t know that at the time). My mother’s resemblance to me is enhanced by our similar hairdos (or lack thereof), although hers was short because it hadn’t really grown in yet, and mine was short because she purposely kept it that way (easier to deal with).

My grandmother not only has the pretty ruffled dress and the long flowing locks, but if you look really closely you can see a tiny earring dangling from her earlobe. When I was young, she showed me her baby earrings; several miniature, delicate pairs. It astounded me that they’d actually pierced a baby’s ears (and that my grandmother had let the holes close up later on, and couldn’t wear pierced earrings any more), whereas I had to fight for the right to have mine done in my early teens.

I’m not sure what my mother’s wearing; some sort of baby smock. But I know what I have on: my brother’s hand-me-down pajamas, and I was none too happy about it, of that you can be sure.

So, a very happy Mother’s Day to you all! What would mothers be without babies…and mothers…and babies….and mothers….?

10 Responses to “Happy Mother’s Day: mothers and babies”

  1. kit Says:

    Happy Mother’s Day, neo and to all mothers, aunts and grandmothers everywhere.

    You are a beautiful family and I love these photos.

  2. James Says:

    Grandma’s looking pretty solemn.

  3. Ron Says:

    Happy Mothers Day Neo!

    And thanks for your devotion to this blog.

  4. Molly NH Says:

    Mother, daughter, grandaughter, you all have the same Maternal
    mitochondrial DNA passed down from the great grandmother
    and all the other female line great, great grandmas.
    The line ends though if there are no more girls born to the
    daughters in the family.
    Happy Mother’s day ladies !

  5. Mac Says:

    Young Neo looks as if she’s already reflecting intelligently and judiciously on some serious question. Perhaps the pros and cons of hand-me-down clothing?–no doubt giving fair consideration to the parental point of view despite coming down on the con side.

  6. neo-neocon Says:



    Oddly enough, I remember when the photo was taken. I was looking at the book in my brother’s hands and trying very hard to figure out how to read.

  7. Mac Says:

    Amazing. Very precocious. 🙂 And observation over the years leads me to believe that women remember more from their early childhood than men. I have few if any memories earlier than 6 or so.

  8. neo-neocon Says:


    Did you ever see this post?

  9. Mac Says:

    No, I hadn’t seen that. I need to go walk my dogs right now but will leave that page open and read it tomorrow.

  10. Mac Says:

    Well, that is fascinating. My wife has a vivid memory from the age of two: she’s hanging around waiting for her mother to come home from the hospital with her new baby brother, and feeling pretty down about the whole thing. Her mother and others doubted that it was a real memory at first, but she was able to describe the exact configuration of the room (I think it was in her grandmother’s house), which had been changed substantially not long afterward (a wall removed, or something).

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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