I sat beside my husband at the graveside service for his mother. This dear lady had died only a few days ago. She was not only my mother-in-law but also my friend.
As the minister began his eulogy I tried to concentrate on the words as he spoke but my mind strayed back to other times. . .
. . . I could see the red curtains gently swaying in the breeze blowing through my kitchen window – those red curtains she bought for me.
Bill and I were married in June 1954 and by September I found myself pregnant. I didn’t mind that I was pregnant; actually, my husband and I were excited. However, I had not expected the constant nausea. Rather than morning sickness I had 24/7 sickness. I had to leave my job because I could not work with the constant queasiness.
We had only recently moved into our house and as I was no longer working it was wonderful to be “just a housewife” and I wanted everything to look as cheerful and cozy as possible. I loved the big kitchen and the way it looked, except for the faded blue print curtains that covered the window when we moved into the house. For some reason (maybe lack of money – I can’t recall) we had not bought new curtains for the kitchen window.
Our first purchase, just before the wedding, was a grey chrome dinette set. The legs and trim on the table and chairs were chrome but the seat and back of the chairs were plastic with a grey swirl design and the tabletop was Formica with the same grey swirl design. We also purchased a matching kitchen stool and there was a small apartment sized stove in the kitchen. The trim on our canister set was red and I recall that our kitchen accessories had some red on them. At that particular time “red” was in-color for kitchen decor.
My attention was suddenly drawn back to the present; I didn’t want to dwell on her dying but on her living so it was easy for my thoughts to go back to those red curtains.
One day, when I was feeling particularly bad, my mother-in-law came by for a visit. She made a thoughtful gesture to her young, pregnant daughter-in-law that was never forgotten. She walked over and handed me her Macy’s credit card and told me to go buy some new curtains for my kitchen.
The curtains I chose were trimmed with a two inch scarlet border on the panels that hung on the lower part of the window and on the valance across the upper part of the window. The inside design on the fabric had small red flowers with yellow centers and tiny green leaves on a white background. They were so pretty. Now my kitchen was complete.
My mind came back to the present when the minister began the closing prayer. The service was over.
I survived the pregnancy despite the nausea and in June the following year, 25 days before our first anniversary, I delivered a beautiful baby girl.
We had another beautiful daughter four years later and over the years our family grew to include two sons-in-law and two wonderful grandsons. My husband and I were married for almost forty years when his mother died.
I was truly blessed with a wonderful mother-in-law and I have never forgotten the red curtains.