By Rosalie Tirella
Back to Elliott Smith tonight, after a day of working around the apartment and listening to Aimee Mann, Beatles, Fats Domino. All great artists but, I don’t know, at this point in my life, Smith’s melodies are the most beautiful and addictive to and for me. I love his lyrics, too! – so sweet and cutting. And true. Elliott puts it all out there in his songs. That is so hard to do! Strangers read/listen to your essays/songs! They learn your deepest pain – or joy!
Yesterday was the day my late mom, CECELIA, was born. Yesterday, was her birthday, and I worked to see her before me, in her prime, for me. Ma in her early 40s, a single working mom but with energy, hope, great love for her three girls – good girls who always make her proud. She is standing before me, a half hour before parent teacher night at Lamartine Street School, where she will learn how I am doing in sixth grade, Mr. Chickarian’s class. She is heading out the door – and looks so pretty! She us happy and excited because she knows I am an all A student – and she will hear nothing but accolades about her first born, me. Her favorite child. Her shining star – the girl who trims her 60 hour work week ar the dry cleaners with magic! Beautiful book reports that she has read and loved. English grammar work sheets that her Rosalie finishes in 10 minutes flat. So smart she gets extra work, special assignments for a special student … Tonight she cannot hear: HEY, MULE! HEY, F**K NUT! from the bedroom, my father closed off, mean and miserable. Daddy never goes to our parent teacher nights, but admits, grudgingly, that “the kid is smart.”
🌷Ma’s fine naturally black hair is in a soft curly perm, her Elizabeth Arden classic red lipstick on her pretty mouth with its perfect, white teeth, her thick eye brows black and exotic looking … her pretty figure looking a little matronly in her special Marcus dress (she is 42, after all) but still attractive. I love this dress! It is a nubby, short sleeved, cocoa-colored number that skims Ma’s pretty knees. It has white trim along the hem, around its round neckline and sleeves. A thin matching white belt tied around Ma’s waist makes her look like a model to me. Basic high heels – black – and a new pair of No Nonsense Panty Hose – nude – from White’s Five and Ten on Millbury Street, bought special for tonight, round out the outfit. Ma is also wearing her good jewelry: costume jewelry she’s had since her early working days – when she was a maid/housekeeper, along with her two older sisters, for the Bishop of Sprinfield. Single and free and young she loved to buy nice clothes and good costume jewelry at Springfield’s Steadglitz (I think) Department Store in downtown Springfield. Tonight she is wearing my fave fancy jewelry: big pink stones set in shiny silver-plated necklace. Matching earrings! Ma’s perfect white teeth sparkle against her Elizabeth Arden red lipstick, her Heaven Scent perfume (her fave) fills our Lafayette Street kitchen. We kids are clamoring about her – our beautiful mother-rock-star walking by our old gas stove, to make sure the gas knogs are all on off before walking out the door to make the short walks to my favorite school where my fall leaves drawing, along with my classmates’, adorns our big classroom windows – taped up by another grade 6 star student, Mary A.
Ma has another dress just like this one, the same style – but in a bright yellow, with black trim and belt. She wears this dress to our school plays and musicals. Same hair do and shoes. New panty hose and different Springfield jewelry. Always the same because we are poor – but always beautiful because she is Ma♥️.