16 February 2010

Mrs. Bird Redux

It has been one year and 107 posts since I started my blog. You cannot know how much it and your readership and friendship has meant to me. I was just airing the difficulty of watching my mother fade in an email to my friend Stefanie. Mother's pain is increasing, her weight is now within a single digit of her age, her hair is gone and her nails are starting to come off. I closed the email with "I sound much better on facebook and my blog huh? It is the persona I am hoping to live up to."

This explains how vital this blog has been.

I wanted to honor this one year by replaying a post I really liked. It was posted 11 months ago today. I hope you like it. Thank you for everything. I appreciate you.

I ran across this vial in a large button bag I purchased at an estate sale a year ago. I love this bottle so much. In 1956, a Mrs. Bird was prescribed something to take after meals three times daily. She kept the little bottle and placed buttons in it. I have not opened this bottle. But she surely did. What was in it?

Mrs. Bird may very well have been in the kitchen wearing a wonderful little organza apron, baking cookies and making potato salad for the ladies auxiliary. Maybe she had a bit of dyspepsia from all that dough rolling and such and was taking a little something for that.

Perhaps Mrs. Bird was having a bit of arrhythmia from rheumatic fever she suffered as a child. Though sickly, she had a lovely childhood where her dearest mommie and she would spend time embroidering pillow cases where they would lay their dear heads at night. Wee girl needed quite a lot of sleep, but she was a pistil and didn't let her frailty get her down. She graduated high school and married Mr. Bird just after the war. They were raising their little clutch in their happy little nest known as home.

However, my first thought was that Mrs. Bird was using mother's little helper, something in the diazepam family. Valium, perhaps. Small enough to fit a month's worth in this wee little jar. Maybe she wasn't as gleeful as everyone had hoped over that Hoover for her birthday from Mr. Bird. Maybe all the chirping from those little nestlings running around the house, screaming for their next meal didn't fulfill Mrs. Bird as Better Housekeeping suggested it might.

Maybe Mrs. Bird was in a desperate situation of longing and lust for a neighbor with whom she shared coffee and lingering hugs.

Maybe Mrs. Bird had lost herself in the needs of others and found solace for a few minutes a day writing poetry no one would read. She eventually would throw away the poetry, give up on her dreams and slip into the comfort of what that little jar held.

She outlived everyone of the other ladies in the neighborhood. She buried Mr. Bird, finally, he had gotten so much kinder in his last years, trying to get into Heaven and all. She missed him. She finally gave up all the care giving and gave herself many joyous hours of reading and writing, and needlework, until her fingers could do no more. She teetered around in a garden wild and chaotic with roses and hydrangeas and viburnum. She rocked and thought of the lost years she happily let go. And she fell asleep dreaming of her mother's hands....


  1. That's some lovely writing.

    Keep on keepin' on.

  2. The end gave me goosebumps.

    Hang in there.

  3. *hugs* to you. I think we all hope to live up to our blog personas. If only life were as neat and photogenic as blogland ;)

    Thinking of you and this journey you're on with your mother~

  4. I knew I liked Mrs. Bird a year ago. I know that Mrs. Bird had an egg that she hatched and that lil' bird is helping her take flight now.

  5. I love reading these delightful and interesting little tidbits you write!

  6. Wow you are quite a writer! That was lovely!

  7. That little story had every element a story should have. It took me back to a simpler time...or was it really? Maybe it just seems to me that there was a simpler time, but maybe we all just go through the same ol' crap! Anyway...beautifully done, as usual.

    P.S. LOVE JemJam's comment...I think she's right on!

  8. You are unbelievable girl! I wish you would write a book and I would be in line to get the first signed copy! Congratulations on the blog. We all could take lessons from you.

  9. How do you like me now!!!!!!!!! It worked today.....

  10. I'm so sorry to hear that life is giving you lemons right now- that must be so difficult to watch. But you are doing a wonderful job of at least attempting to maintain your happiness, and this post was a nice way to share a bit of that happiness with your readers. I really enjoyed the journey through Mrs. Bird's potential illnesses. And did I see a Stones reference there? If so, I like you a little more than I already did. And if not, well I still like you. HAVE A GREAT WEEK, Robin!!

  11. So wonderfully written...you are a strong bird.

  12. Oh, Robin. You've made me tear up with this exquisite piece. Did you always know you had the talent to write? Not just to write, but to write well? The picture you conjure with your words is every bit as imaginative and creative as your handicrafts.

    I love your understanding of Mrs. Bird. So many women (even in these modern times) still live in quiet desperation. With all the little "nestlings" and the Hoover vacuums as gifts, they feel a piece of them has been taken--and worry it may never be reclaimed.

    But then, just as you described, in the winding down days we learn to accept the choices we've made and find beauty and fulfillment in what we have labored over (though it wasn't always just we thought it would be.)

    In the twilight of days, we come to realize that to everything there truly is a season...

  13. Breathtakingly poinient and distrubingly thought provoking. Beautiful piece of writing.


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