I make friends easily. It’s not like I go around trolling for new pals — it just happens.
My Mother was the same way, she made friends everywhere she went. Some early memories include having many cups of coffee — I got milk and delicious homemade cookies — with the newly-widowed woman across the street. I vaguely remember her husband mowing the lawn and trimming the bushes and then one day he just wasn’t around anymore. I was too young to go to the funeral but I did understand that he had died.
The woman didn’t speak English very well and my Mother was a bit better at the only language they had in common. (For some reason, I think she might have been Polish.)
There was the nurse from my school. I remember her a bit better; she was from Grenada and she had a son about my age. We played together while our Mom’s talked about whatever it was they talked about. Coffee was also involved.
My Mother also had many friends at Motorola where she worked for almost 20 years. I remember the company Christmas parties because of the cool toys we received but also because of the many people my Mother chatted with at the events. One time I got called on the stage to help a magician with a trick and I was so scared I almost peed my pants — but that’s a story for another day.
My Mother, I think, made friends easily because she was curious about people and made them feel comfortable. She was also pretty funny in a self-deprecating way. My favourite Aunt has the same sense of humour but takes it to the next level by talking about herself in the third person. It’s really cute, especially with an accent.
So it’s pretty obvious where this is going, I guess. I am a lot like my late Mother. She also had a bit of a temper — she would threaten us with the slipper when we misbehaved — and was more than a bit compulsive about cleaning. I remember having to dust the intricately crossed legs of the dining room table by scooting underneath with a cloth and some Pledge. Apparently I was “small enough to get all the dust.”
I wonder how much of this is genetic and how much is learned. But in the end it doesn’t really matter. My Mother’s gone but she left me the gift of friendship and a healthy appreciation for all manner of cleaning products. She was all about the J-Cloths but I bet she would’ve loved my collection of microfibres for all occasions and surfaces.