My Blog

October 28, 2015

Elderly Mothers and an Active Life

Mom has spent her entire adult life, almost all 96 years of it, in doing and going and being active. Painting landscapes with her best friends, the three Marthas – Martha Gottfried, Martha Sauer, and Martha Lou Castillo, pus Mary Ann Hendricks. They could be seen all over Mexico City painting, and playing bridge, and visiting, and putting on extravaganzas for the Junior League.

Sister Sara coming to clean out the trailer.

Sister Sara coming to clean out the trailer.

How hard it must be to be trapped in a trailer with nothing to do but read Jack Reacher and watch Rugby. Or maybe not. She seems to find ways to stay active. She used to be able to garden and weed and tend her flowers but she can’t now. So there is always clearing my stuff out of her trailer. (All right, yes, there was that much, and Sister Sara is coming back today to help her remove more, the little sneak).


Mom was always busy.  As Halloween looms, I can remember the creatively monstrous parties Mom and my father, plus all the grownups in Coyoacan, used to throw. Halloween became a wonderful neighborhood endeavor with the parents creating terrifying worlds for us kids. Beautiful princesses, fire-breathing dragons, terrifying witches, Martian monsters complete with hovering space ships. Disney had nothing on us.

Mom captivated by the debonair artist José Castillo

Mom captivated by the debonair artist José Castillo

My father was a commercial artist—the first in Mexico City in 1945, according to Mom—and he put all the resources of his shop at the disposal of the neighborhood: painters, woodworkers, designers, builders. He could create whatever Mom and her friends could dream up. And they did, gathering for months before October in order to produce the scenarios that scared all of us into fits.

One little girl clutched her magic protective rock so hard it dissolved into goo (it was rock candy) and she thought surely the monsters would get her. The ‘wicked witch’ (Mary Ann) threw too much gunpowder on the fire to awaken the beautiful princess (Martha G.) and nearly blew us all up. The fire-breathing dragon (with a welding torch for breath) almost caught us on fire when the assistant set it off too soon.


Visiting with guests at Sister Sara's.

Visiting with guests at Sister Sara’s.

Even with Al, years later, Mom stayed active. Beside swimming every day, Al squired her to art show openings and tennis matches and horse shows on the weekends (all free, you’ll notice). And took her to breakfasts at whatever hotel happened to be having a nice FREE buffet. When she stayed with my brother in Atlanta or with Sister Sara, she attended our parties and took part in whatever excitement was going on. And there was always something.

Until now. Al’s gone off to Florida and she can’t follow.

So, yesterday, when I began work on the Power Point presentation for the Daughters of the American Colonies, she offered to help by writing, or cutting, or just anything. But there was nothing I could give her to do. Technology is not her friend.

Selling merchandise at DAC

Selling merchandise at DAC

But wait! The ‘merch’ table! (That’s merchandise, for those not in the know). I took Mom with me to the DAC meeting and she sold my books! Even made $60 whole dollars. At last. A useful and worthwhile endeavor. I wish she had the energy to go with me all the time. But, we’ll just be as active as we can.

Elderly Mothers, General , , , ,
About Caroline Castillo Crimm
Retired Professor Emeritus from Sam Houston State University, interested in writing novels and speaking about topics such as the history of Latin American. Would like to share the AMAZING world of the 18th century in Northern New Spain, that's Spanish Texas and Mexico!
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