Star of the New Moon ~~ A tribute to my mother
By LoRee Peery
~There is no one so special as a mom
Since we wouldn't be here without one~
LaVera Reikofski Mosel was a beautiful woman, inside and out. Classy and sophisticated, she looked like the movie stars she modeled her clothing, hair, and makeup after. When Mom was a teenager she worked at the New Moon Theatre in Neligh, Nebraska, and could study those stars of the silver screen to her heart’s content. That’s where she met my father in the late forties, when he took a date to a show.
My absolute favorite family photograph from childhood is of me sitting on Mom’s lap while she read to me. It was taken at Grandpa Mosel’s and we were sitting on an oak dining room chair in front of the buffet. Mom’s eyebrows were arched and penciled, her lips painted, and her hair rolled up and away from her face. I wore a dress accented by a white lace collar, white socks, and leather sandals. We were both engrossed in the book, and there was another closed book underneath, waiting its turn to be read. Mom’s lower lip protruded with whatever she was speaking. My brows were knit and my mouth worked in concentration (probably wishing I was four, so I could read it myself). The snapshot captured her love of reading and her pleasure in passing that love on.
The photo also revealed Mom’s talent as a seamstress, evident in my red taffeta dress. Mom expressed her creativity in sewing and decorating. She sewed aprons for her various waitress uniforms, matching or accenting them, trimmed in lace or rickrack. I remember pink, turquoise, and black nylon dresses, which showed off her tiny waist.
We lived in the country near Brunswick when I was a preschooler. My first memory is of a vanity Mom made me from orange crates. She sewed a ruffle curtain of red calico fabric to keep my treasures private. She also made curtains for the whole house, even one to hide the sink pipes.
Her creativity extended beyond sewing. Once when my 4-H group met at our house, Mom had nothing for a sweet treat. She cut down the amount of cold water in Jell-O and made cookie cutter shapes that we could eat with our fingers. No other mother I knew did that in the fifties.
Mom worked hard. A typical farmer’s wife of the times, she put up pickles, preserves, tomatoes, tomato sauce, green beans, plums, peaches, and pears. Corn was frozen and potatoes put in the cave, some to sprout for planting the next spring. She baked yummy desserts like pineapple upside-down cake. My culinary attempts never came close to her results. Mom couldn’t cut a cake straight, and I think of her each time my knife curves offline when I attempt the task.
Many teenaged girls are embarrassed to be seen with their mothers. I was proud to walk next to mine, and hoped that I would look as good as she did some day. We didn’t talk about boys or sex. She said she trusted me. What a responsibility!
Mom kept her own feelings inside and didn’t talk about her family problems any more than she would gossip about the neighbors up the road. She limited talk about other people, and made it positive. When I was a teen yakking with a friend on the phone, she cautioned me, “What you say today may come back to haunt you tomorrow.”
How much of the woman I am today has to do with who my mother was? I would like to think that I am the star of something, maybe our acreage near Walton. Whatever it may be, if my children think of me the way I remember my mother, then I am blessed.
Proverbs 31:28 ~ “Her children arise and call her blessed.”