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The Lady Loved Pink.

2 May 2009
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Pink Knitting and a Postcard

Pink Knitting and a Postcard

My mother was, as they say, a woman of contradictions. She grew up in the fifties and sixties in a small town in Oklahoma. She was Phi Beta Kappa her junior year – and voted the Engineer’s Queen, which was one of those beauty-and-charm honors. I think there might have been a sash involved. She moved to Washington, DC in time for the late sixties, and remembered going to work on Capitol Hill the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and the city was put under curfew.

Mom's the looker in the middle.

Mom’s the looker in the middle.

To me, Mom was an example of the tension between feminism and tradition. She protested the Vietnam War and married young, as soon as my father got back from his tour in Vietnam. She was one of the first women hired by IBM as something other than a secretary – and, later, she left her job on Capitol Hill to raise her children. She went to one of the balls for Nixon’s inauguration – and then to a counter-inauguration where a naked man wearing a pig mask was sworn in.

Explanation of pink squares, after the jump.

Hitting the Trail

Hitting the Trail

Later, Mom returned to work and eventually became an elected official. She was smart and competent and relished working on legislation — but also clothes shopping with my sister and me. She went dogsledding in Minnesota, kayaking and hiking out west, and eventually climbed several fourteeners — and she loved pink.

The Tag on the Squares

The Tag on the Squares

When I read about Codepink’s Radical Act of Knitting for Mother’s Day, calling for pink and green knit squares for a “White House Cozy,” I felt Mom needed a few squares for herself out there. I’ve never been involved with Codepink, and I try not to be political in this blog, but Mom and I protested together a few times – against apatheid in South Africa, against the first Gulf War – and she taught me to stand up for what I believed in. I do believe in peace, in supporting our troops by bringing them home. And so there will be four pink squares with Mom’s name pinned to them up there this weekend.

The dogwood outside the post office was in bloom when I mailed the squares.

The dogwood outside the post office was in bloom when I mailed the squares.

Mother’s Day is beating on me, with the ads and the e-mails encouraging me to buy my mother something, to celebrate her in some way. The bottom line is that I miss her: I just want to call her and talk. I can’t send her flowers or pajamas or books any more. But this gave me a way to celebrate the essence of her – always pretty, always sympathetic and loving, but tough as well.

I miss you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.

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