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Mom’s Mexican Plates

Author Photo
By Renee-Lucie Benoit | Feb 22, 2016

We’re packing and packing getting ready for our Big Move to our four acres in Madera. I reach back into the recesses of our closets and cupboards to remove everything and carefully wrap and box it up. Things that I put in the cupboard up high and back are things I forgot about. Now that I bring them back into daylight I re-visit some nice old memories.

When my mom and dad went to Mexico in 1948 they took my Aunt LuVerne with them. Aunt LuVerne is my mother’s sister and she is a great lady still with us very much so at age 95. She served as a WAC (Women’s Air Corps) in World War II and later she was an English teacher. She still corrects my grammar for which I am very grateful. Nothing like having a living, breathing “Elements of Style” in your family if you’re a writer.

They drove a classic Ford Woody all the way from Chicago to Mexico City. My mom bought the car with her wages from teaching art at the University of Illinois in Chicago and it was her pride and joy. All along the road the three friends had adventures and they told us the stories off and on during the years. In a little nameless village my mom and her sister went shopping while my dad took a nap with his brand new Panama straw hat over his face. When he woke up the hat was gone. A brazen thief had taken it very carefully from his face and my dad did not wake up once.

Later a total stranger proposed marriage to my beautiful redheaded Aunt LuVerne. Everywhere they went the local people were enthralled with her. One day the three of them enjoyed at day at the beach and thought it strange that everyone was packing up to go while the sun was still high. Minutes later they were covered with biting flies that the locals knew all about but did not know how to warn the English speaking gringos. After finally arriving in Mexico City they got pick pocketed at the Post Office. But that deterred their enthusiasm only a little bit. They kept going and outside Mexico City Mom found a St. Christopher’s medal on the lava at the ruins of an old city after a volcano erupted. Only the church steeple was still visible. She made up a story about a villager fleeing the volcano and dropping their necklace never to return.

My mom brought home many treasures. When she passed away the most beautiful treasures were given to us kids and her surviving brother and sisters. The rest was sold to pay expenses as is often the case. I got The Plates. They’re most certainly painted with lead based glaze so I never use them to eat off of. I just look at them and think about the artisan who made them and then I remember my mom and dad and the good times they had before I was born.

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