Becky Says...

May 2006

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Sort of Mine - May 17

Back in 1976, when my mother retired from teaching, her fellow teachers gave her several goodbye gifts. One of those was a cigarette lighter. It's a small classic chrome one, and beautiful in its simplicity.

But she never used it. She was more of a matches person, and then she wound up quitting smoking. So the lighter, in its pristine state, was in a dresser drawer until after she died and I was sorting things.

I brought it with me, to use. And I have enjoyed having it and using it. But it took me the longest time to get past the twinge of guilt over taking it out of Mother's dresser.

It's funny how that has worked. There have been moments when I've wanted to use something that I inherited from her that I've caught myself wanting to ask permission. Kitchen gadgets, mainly. Books, too. And her best pair of scissors.

This hasn't been true for any of her clothes that I could wear, because we had an unspoken rule that allowed wearing each other's clothes if the owner of the garment hadn't indicated a desire to wear it in the next little while.

But I will admit that if I wear something that had been hers, I'm still likely to refer to it as "Mama's (item)." I just consider it to be on permanent loan.

Same goes for the cigarette lighter.

Text © copyright 2000-2006 Becky