I found it – my mother’s occasional personal splurge when it came to ice cream. Chocolate might do it for the rest of us, vanilla, strawberry, three flavors – but the ice cream treat my mother occasionally required was black walnut. Sometimes it gets called maple walnut, and I looked for some yesterday in my neighborhood frozen food cases. Eureka!
Nothing much changed for my mother at the June end of each school year. She still had to do the daily load of laundry, the house cleaning, the preparation of my father’s dinner and ours. Summer lunches for us just added to the work she was accustomed to the rest of the year. No ironing of school uniforms, though! The sacrifice she and my father made for private education certainly made for a busy life.
Without a driver’s license my mother was limited for much of her life to our family outings for her distraction. Every other Sunday was a day-long trip to our four grandparents. Secret: there was a young doctor in New Orleans who paid her some attentions when she had just graduated from high school. Her choice of my father, though, the brother of a classmate, was one she made and, but for her children and sisters, no one would have heard her say a word against life with him.
Might her life have been different with that doctor or a lawyer or a college professor? She might have thought so. What about a summer house? A dream come true. The chance at a job that would take her regularly out of her house? Not in the stars for her.
For the first time in fifty years I had maple walnut ice cream last night. I like to think that pleased her.