You Used to Be Beautiful!

Kathleen Holdaway in flowered dress0002One warm afternoon in late May, 1960, Billy and I were lying on the living room floor as Mother reclined a few minutes with her feet up wearing the heavy surgical weight stockings the doctor had ordered. She was six months into a difficult pregnancy with her last child,and was supposed to be off her feet. She had spent a good portion of the morning tying to keep an eye on her fourteen-month-old, Connie, while trying to coax twelve-year old Phyllis and me at ten to do a little housework, help with Connie, and even get a little work out of seven year old Billy, while keeping him out of trouble. Phyllis was watching Connie. We were all terminally lazy, slacking off at the first excuse. None of us had any intention of doing anything we could avoid.

As we dawdled at her feet on the floor in the draft of the attic fan, one of us pulled out an old photo album. I quickly found a picture of her made her senior year of high school, the peak of her youth and beauty. “I graduated thirteen years ago today,” she remarked smilingly.

In my infinite wisdom, I proclaimed, “Oh Mother, you used to be beautiful!”

I turned for her smile, only to see a snarling, slobbering, swollen beast ready to pounce on me in rage! “”Used to be beautiful! Let’s see what you look like when you have five kids in twelve years! Put this stuff up, right now. Linda, you take your smart mouth and get those dishes washed. Phyllis, you put a pot of beans on for supper. Billy, you…”

By the way, this is not the picture in question. That one mysteriously disappeared

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56 thoughts on “You Used to Be Beautiful!

  1. I’ve been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be a lot more useful than ever before.

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  2. When I was in my mid-forties, my youngest daughter found a photograph of me from a couple of decades earlier, taken when I was a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding. My daughter was astonished to learn that the slim, attractive brunette in the picture was her mother, and she said, “Mom, you look so beautiful in this picture, you look like someone else!”

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  3. I probably shouldn’t say this, but the photo looks a lot like you. The mouth has the exact same structure and the eyes. Not what most of us want to hear. I’m glad they found a cure for what ailed your mother. Birth control showed up just in time for me. My mother didn’t do well with 4 of us so the overflow all fell on me. I’ve heard the comment from people who have seen my younger self that I used to be a hoty. If I cared anymore it might bother me but I never thought I was and don’t care to be now. Being pregnant, your mom was probably quite strained already. Well told story. Loved it.

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  4. Your mother was a beautiful woman. I’ve seen her when elderly and was still a pretty woman. it’s hard to look pretty when you have the problems your Mom was having at the time. Sometimes kids can say the darndest things. I’m sure you were sorry. It’s a shame. — Suzanne

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  5. Step 1: Open mouth.
    Step 2: Insert foot.

    I have a tremendous amount of sympathy because I did similar things as a child more that once. I particularly remember expecting the other person to be pleased and then being stunned and a bit hurt that they were angry. Incidentally, your mother really was a fine-looking young woman.

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