There was something about Mare. She was endearing. She smiled; hardly ever frowned. There was a softness about her; no hard edges on her. She was easy to approach and was eager to offer help. She told me her goal was to be kind and helpful to someone, everyday.
She was eccentric and said things that made you laugh out loud. She talked to everyone. She wanted to know “where people came from”. She was non-judgmental. She was habitually running late, but never hurried. Her watch, the kitchen clock, and the clock in her car were hardly ever set to the correct time and she didn’t care.
Despite her outward softness and approach-ability, she had an inner steel rod of character and strength. Her constant advise to me was: “Be bold. Persevere. Show compassion.” These were words she lived by.
She was an extrovert. She loved to get in her car and “go out’. She loved her cars and they always seemed to turn heads~the 1968 Firebird, the green Dodge Charger, the black Lincoln Continental, the Ford Taurus SHO. Cars represented freedom to Mare.
There were some things Mare was dead serious about and she would let you know it. She had no use for the post office because they would return her out-going mail because she had the wrong zip code. “Now couldn’t they just figure it out?”, she would say.
Automated voice systems irked her to no end as she would try to talk as if she were talking to a real person. The telephone company was another irritant. She would dial a number incorrectly, a recording would come on and say the number didn’t exist and she would insist she dialed correctly. I would say “But Mom, it’s not a real person, just a recording.”
Red traffic lights were negotiable~ “Why waste my gasoline and time?”
She would never buy fruit or vegetables already in a bag. She thought the companies trained their employees to put one rotten piece in every bag just to make more money at her expense. She often used the 800 numbers on appliances to let the companies know that their “engineers didn’t know anything and they should ask house wives what they needed before they embarked on designing anything.”
Comcast was her nemesis as the television was a great source of entertainment and diversion for her in her later years. When it didn’t work, she got worked up. She would call customer service and “tell them off”. If I tried to defend the company or give and alternative explanation, she would say, “OH, bullshit!”.
Where my father was ‘thing smart’, Mare was ‘people smart’.
You wouldn’t want to argue with her as somehow she would always prevail, despite logic. When Christa McAuliffe was chosen as an astronaut for the Challenger Mission, Mare thought that was awful. Joe thought it was a great accomplishment. “No woman should be sent into space. Her place is in the home with her husband and children”, Mare stated. When the space ship exploded and Christa was killed, Mare spoke up for her bereaved husband and two children, aged 6 and 9.
Lesson Learned~Don’t bet against Mare. In the long run, you will lose.