My unreal great and undeniably loving Mother passed away on July 10, 2009. She just turned seventy years old this past April of 2009. To look at her, you would never know she was seventy, really. My Mom is a true hero and inspiration to me, always will be. She suffered a series of strokes in the Fall of 1990, therefore my Mom was a courageous survivor for nearly twenty years. Not being able to speak and having paralysis on the right side of her body were the two biggest obstacles that my Mom endured for two decades. That did not stop her from enjoying life, seeing her children get married and enjoying four grandchildren. Thanks to my heroic Father who became my Mom’s full time caregiver, many people and family members were given the gift of my Mom’s presence, thoughts and love for much longer than was initially predicted by doctors. Being born from my Mom was a gift and she was a gift to me for forty three years of my life. I now am convinced, that my Mom can speak and walk again up in heaven, where she has been reunited with her parents and without any doubt… my incredible sister too. I am at peace knowing my Mom is healthy again in heaven, no more suffering… my Mom has earned her place with the angels.
Alright, as my Mom would probably say right about now… enough with all of the sad stuff, let’s have a good time. I cannot resist reflecting on good times, heck, that is why they are called that in the first place. You see, my Mom was in her own special right… a fan of Heavy Metal. She was without question, one of the biggest advocates for Heavy Metal amongst any other Mom I knew, while growing up as a teenager back in the 1980′s. Her knowledge of the past and current bands back in the late 1970′s and through the 1980′s was admirable. There was a hiccup, however, when I was in sixth grade, in regards to my being allowed to have a KISS album in the house. My Mom took one look at the cover of KISS Alive ll and she said – no way. The blood spewing from the mouth of Gene Simmons was over the top for her. She specifically said that no son of hers would have that in her house. Well, to make a long story short, after she heard the song I was Made For Lovin’ You by KISS, the decision to allow KISS and any of their albums into our house was cleared to go. KISS was in… the world of Heavy Metal had a new fan… my Mom.
The neighborhood in which I grew up in, was a definite attachment to the downtown area of the small city it belonged to. There was a surplus of families living around me for blocks, that struggled to make ends meet. I was the luckiest kid in my neighborhood, having the record and tape collection that I bestowed. This collection of Heavy Metal was earned, I worked many different part time jobs after school and did a bounty of chores around the house and yard. Every penny I made… went to Hard Rock/Heavy Metal albums and tapes. No regrets ever, just a cool life of Heavy Metal enjoyment. My neighborhood buddies and me, well, none of us had a car until our senior year of High School, so making any out of town treks to the “real” record stores was out of the question. Step in my Mom.
Yes, my Mom would go out of her way to drive me and my buddies thirty minutes – out of town, to Strawberries Records and Tapes. These Heavy Metal excursions, (as we called them back then), would happen at the drop of a dime! After school, on the weekends, on days off from school and during the Summer… with my Mom it was no problem. She loved those trips to Strawberries. We sometimes would have four dudes in the back seat, with me up front and my Mom leading the way behind the wheel – those Heavy Metal journeys, (we called them that too), are memories that no money can buy. At least half of my Heavy Metal collection of albums and tapes, were courtesy of what my Mom would pick out on her own back then. We would storm into Strawberries and my Mom would seek out albums like a bobcat seeking out it’s prey. She is responsible for my having every Rainbow album ever made at the time. Iron Maiden too. Honestly, I never would have listened to Scorpions World Wide Live if not for my Mom, she would find and buy some prime albums for me back then.
This last memory I will reveal is one for the Heavy Metal record books. It is true and quite unbelievable. I would have many of my buddies from the neighborhood over to my house, almost on a daily basis. The door was always open to them… per orders from my Mom. Listening to Hard Rock and Heavy Metal albums was our number one priority back then. We played the music loud, as all of us have done and still do… no big deal. One day, while a few of my buddies and me were cranking up the Metal tunes in my bedroom, there was a knock at the door. Crap, I thought. Has my Mom finally had enough of these Heavy Metal hang outs? We all stared at each other not knowing really what to do or say. Again, the knocking at my bedroom door continued. One of us was knowledgeable enough to turn the music down low. I opened the door, hesitantly with a semi-gulp in my throat. Behold it was my Mom standing there with a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies!! She smiled at all of us and said, you can’t go hungry while having so much fun with your music. Needless to say, my buddies were stunned. Unreal memory. A real memory. An unreal Mom that I will love and cherish forever, even if she is far away in heaven.