Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Mom, Lenna Aileen Scoggins

My favorite picture of Mom
Mom & Dad
Mom holding me

Since Allen e-mailed me a few days ago reminding me of our Mother's death, she has been on my mind and I decided to dedicate a blog to her and my memories of her.

Mom was born in  Siler City, North Carolina.  She was the second child born to John Prichard Scoggins, and Cora Mae Smith.  Unfortunately her Mother passed away shortly after my Aunt Kay was born, leaving five children behind.  They were all shuffled around to different families and Mom being around nine years old went to live with her Grand Father Greenberry and his second wife Spicey Ann Stokes.  Spicey Ann was a very ambitious woman and expected my Mother to keep up with her, and according to Aunt Mary, was working my mother to death.  So Aunt Mary came to the rescue and took my Mother back to Salt Lake City to live with her. I think Mom had to be around eighteen or nineteen when this event happened.

I am not sure if it was when Mom lived with Aunt Mary or shortly after she married my Father, she had to have some kind of stomach surgery.  As told to me by Aunt Mary, the doctor had to take all of her insides out, and lay them on a table, so I am wondering if she had peritonitis from appendix that got infected. I know this sounds crazy having your insides taken out and laid on a table, but that is exactly what I remember Aunt Mary telling me. I don't remember Aunt Mary telling me what was wrong, or why they had to take her insides out. I am thinking it was her intestines.  She almost died, and the doctor told her to drink beer to regain her strength.  When I heard this I was so upset that a doctor would give this recommendation.

Mom met and married my Father and this is where my memories begin.  We lived in a home across from the Salt Lake City fairgrounds and I can remember Mom washing clothes in an old wringer type washer. I thought I was going to help her and got my arm caught in the wringer.  Things were good at this time, and I didn't find out what a horrible temper my Father had until I was around four.  He had always been good to me.  We used to go to the Great Salt Lake and one night on the way home after Dad had been drinking, he got into a confrontation with another driver.  He took us home and went back to fight the other man.  He came home with blood all over, and of course I was frightened and asked him if he was OK.  He smacked me and told me to get out of the bathroom where he was cleaning up. So thus began the life of being afraid of my Father.

I was an animal lover and would chase a dog or cat, and got lost a few times.  So Mom decided to tie me up to a clothes line with a rope tying it to my overall straps and  leaving a loop so that I could run up and down the length of the line.  I saw a dog, and ended up taking off my coveralls with the rope intact and took off following the dog.  Poor Mom was besides herself as they couldn't find me.  I can remember coming home in a police car.

My love for animals got me into trouble more than once.  I would practically drag a dog home and then beg to keep it.  Unfortunately for me the dog had an owner and had to be returned.  Another time when we were living in Rose Park, I was trying to save a bird that had fallen into the oil ditch across from our subdivision.  Instead of me saving the bird, I fell in to the ditch with the bird in my hand and we were both in trouble.  The bird of course died, and when I got home and Mom saw what I had done, she put me in the tub and I have never been scolded so harshly by her and scrubbed so hard in my life.  I know it must have scared her to death to think I could have drowned, or injured by the oil.

Mom was a beautiful Southern woman and had black hair and olive skin.  Later in years after being teased immensely from the kids at school about my freckles, I would look in the mirror and wonder why I couldn't have had my Mom's looks.  Family and friends loved Mom and when my cousins, would come over to our home they would head to the kitchen to see what good food Mom was cooking as she was always cooking something good. I can remember Larry, my first husband telling me I had to learn how to make gravy like my Mom's.  After many trials and failures I finally could make gravy like Mom's.

I can remember when we were living in the duplex, Mom played hop scotch, jump rope. and jacks with me, and on the nights that my Dad was at work on his two day trips with the U.P. Railroad, I would crawl in bed with her and we would listed to the radio programs like The Shadow Knows, Inter sanctum, and others.  I can remember playing outside and hearing Mom's voice calling me to come home to dinner.  I would come into a kitchen filled with wonderful aromas of her good Southern cooking. While living in the duplex, I got a new pair of roller skates, and Mom helped me learn how to skate.  When I got discouraged after falling so many times, she encouraged me to get up and try again  Soon I was skating around the Salt Lake City block we lived on.

Later when we moved to Rose Park, Mom planted a vegetable garden among her flower beds and this is when she did her best during the summer months working in her garden.  I remember taking the salt shaker out to the garden and finding the perfect tomato and eating it right there with the juice running down my chin.

I remember having talks with my Mom about this and that. When out of town family members came to visit I would sit on the stair case listening to them talk, and later as I grew into my teens, I would join in the conversation.  Unfortunately Mom had been drinking during all these years.  It started out as just social drinking with family and friends, then it escalated to full alcoholism.  When I was in Jr. high school and would walk home from the bus stop, I would never know what kind of condition I would find Mom in.  Like I said the summers were the best. A lot of times I would fine her in her rocking chair, drunk, and I always felt she was missing her North Carolina family.

Mom loved children, and especially babies.  She baby sat for a cousin, and also for my Aunt Marie.  Many times when I would get home from school, I would find her in her rocking chair rocking a baby to sleep. One of the babies she baby sat was my cousin Jimmy's daughter, and Mom would be so upset at the condition the baby would be in when she was brought back to her on Monday mornings.  The baby had diaper rash so bad it was bleeding, and Mom would get it all cleared up during the week, and have to start all over on Mondays.

Aunt Mary told me Mom had a boyfriend in North Carolina, and they were engaged. Mom lost her engagement ring in the sand at a beach.  I have often wondered if she had married that man, maybe her life would have been different?  I don't think she was happily married to my Dad, but she couldn't drive, no job, and had five children.  One time she left him because of a horrible beating. We moved in with my Aunt Mary, and I was never so happy only to come home from school one day to find Mom gone with my siblings.  Aunt Mary told me that I had to go back home.  I cried and cried and Aunt Mary had to console me.  I feel Mom was trapped and had no where to turn, so her bottle of booze became her escape from a painful life.  I loved her very much, but she became a child trapped in an adult body as the booze destroyed her brain cells.  So I lost her long before she passed away.  Mom I love you and forgive you and we will be together again some day not to far in the future.

Mom passed away from Cirrhosis of the liver when she was only 50 years old. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. Yeah, why couldn't I have her skin as well? Seriously. Not fair. You know, looking at her picture kind of makes me a little sad. I don't think I resemble her whatsoever. I feel so disconnected from her and grandpa really. I have always felt everything was so hush hush because of all the drinking and the problems that ensued. I just don't feel like I know anything about her and what she was really like. I have always just heard the bad stories. My question is do you think she drank before she met grandpa or was it only after? Keep sharing!


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