|Karen at age 22, about a month |
after she was married
I loved my mom, but I didn't always get along with her very well. She used to say we were too much alike, but I think it's more that we were alike in one significant way that colored all our other interactions. She and I both have the stubbornness of a recalcitrant mule. Look up hard-headed in the dictionary, and you'll see both our pictures there, side-by-side.
She raised my sister and me as a single mom from when I was about three on. We saw my Dad during summer vacations and holidays, and he helped out financially, but she managed the day-to-day tasks of caring for two young girls while holding down various jobs and then attending Virginia Tech as a graduate student. One of my early memories is being prepped for school at the gawd-awful early hour of 3:30 am and then wrapped in blankets to sleep in the car while she worked at a local dairy farmer with the morning milking. She got fresh, raw milk as a side perk.
|Sister Linda, brother Steven, and Karen|
growing up on Long Island, NY, 1947
Mom was fiercely independent, never wanted to ask for help. One Christmas, when I was probably about eight or nine, we really didn't have enough money for a Christmas tree. We always put our presents around the "Christmas Castle," a wonderous structure made of empty boxes covered in wrapping paper and stacked together to make a castle. But Mom's friends at church knew her situation, and all pitched in to get us a tree, dropped anonymously on our front door on Christmas Eve. What a great Christmas that was! Oh, and she always played "Santa," handing out the presents one at a time from under the tree. The rule was, the next present could not be opened until the last present handed out was appropriately oohed and aahed over.
Another Christmas, when I was older, in college, I think, she and my sister played a funny little joke on me. They got me a two-part gift, and made me open the less obvious part of it first. I opened this package that was yards and yards of a very nice green plaid material, opened on one side, and backed with a white cotton backing. I had *no idea* what it was supposed to be. They howled with laughter as I tried to guess what it was. It all made much more sense when I opened the second half of the gift...the down comforter. The first part of the gift was the duvet cover.
|Karen Mundy, photo taken for |
Waialua Community Church, 2009
My sister and I found a box of memorabilia yesterday. She kept EVERY SINGLE letter and card we had ever sent her. And some of the very worst artwork any kids could ever make. I thought she had cleaned out most of that stuff when she moved from Virginia to Hawaii almost four years ago...but nope, there it was.
Thanks, Mom, for all the years of your love, generosity, strength of will and body, and independent spirit. Rest in Peace, as I know you are now.