Childhood parent

Today, I got to hear a recording of my mom when she was 15, turning 16. It was a tape recording of a phone call for fathers’ day, and her birthday was going to be the following day. The recording started with my Opa, her father, talking to his father. He then handed the phone off to my grandma, who sounded a lot like my mom sounds. Then my two uncles went on, in age order, and then my mom. I cried, and so did my mom, when she started speaking. I somehow felt myself wanting to give that little girl a hug…

I had never heard her voice other than how it had sounded in my lifetime. I had heard people mention that she had gone off to college (at Rice), and had come home sounding all snooty (versus the strong southeast Texas accent of where she’d grown up and where my grandparents remained, even after their children had grown up and moved out). To me, my mom has always sounded like the regular Houston accent. Whenever she is with her family, she always ends up talking just like they do. However, she otherwise speaks with the extremely neutral Houston accent. (Truly, even US Americans find it hard to believe that Houstonians are from the South, because we really just don’t sound like it. Only our use of “y’all” makes it clear that we are southern.)

However, on the recording today, I heard a bright-eyed, teenage, southeast Texas girl speak with delight. I almost couldn’t hear my mom in her at all. She most certainly was southern and from southeast Texas, but I was shocked at how little she sounded like my mom.

On the second listen, though – it was only a minute or so that she was on the call – I began to find her in the girl. The way she spoke, and the intonations, the cadence and emotion – those were all clearly my mom. But that accent and voice… I could tell she was a lifetime away, unaware of what life would bring her beyond age 16 and a driver license after her drive training over the next couple weeks…

It was bizarre, but I would love to hear more from her. The tape had a whole section of her and my aunt, who is younger, singing the songs from Godspell (my uncle was in the musical back then), and I really heard my mom there, in the singing. That was super cute.

Anyway, I am wiped, and on multiple levels, so I’ll go attempt sleep, now. (It’s set to 79° in here, because my grandma doesn’t have the body structure and function to keep the body heated anymore. Apparently, she even uses a heated blanket to keep warm enough overnight… with the 79° air…) We’ll see what happens…

Post-a-day 2021