#29 MIMO : Mimosa

 Framed Photo I took of Mimo & Maggie  I am glad she loved my photography and encouraged me in it  from about the time I was about 12 years old.

"Government subsidized apartments"..........what does that mean when you are a child?  it means everyone that lives near you. around you , next door and even in your house needs a reduced rate of living.... for one reason or another........... we lived in the Southside of Richmond, that could only mean "Town &Country Apartments."   Single Mothers, young mothers, the disabled, blue collars and old maids rented the townhouse apartments.  Southside Richmond in the 70s.

We lived on Cargreen road, but we didn't have a green car, I don't think I ever saw a green car there as a matter of fact.  The two strips of townhouses faced each other , there were about 8 to 10 on one side that backed up to the playground and then about 16 or so on the other side facing them.  The sidewalks connected everyone to each other and people had to pass each other on their way to their vehicles that all parked along the side perpendicular to the set of facing townhouses.

Mimo........... I met Mimo in these apartments.  She was the best friend a girl could ever have...... through thick and thin , she stood by me, even when I made mistakes, even when I hurt her feelings and even when I didn't take up for her when I should have.  When Mimo loved you , she loved you with "all she had" and let me tell you , she had a huge heart, there was plenty of room in there for her to love you and many others all at the same time.

Mimo stood up for the underdog........... always.......... and did it well.  So did her first  husband, Leo............. taking up for me as a child when no one else did.   I met Mimo when I was 10 years old, she remained my friend until the day she died............ that day............ this year............ a month after my Father died.  2 of the most influential people in my life gone..............poof...............just like that ........... in a blink of an eye the world lost a wonderful woman , one that actually made a difference ........to a lot of people........

Mimo and Grandson Mikey
I was just one of many and I adored her with all that I had.   You know they say "you always hurt the ones you love the most?"  well I think everyone loved her and everyone at one point or another hurt her ....... not intentionally........mind you but because she was so sweet and "took your pain" even when you didn't know you were giving it to her.  She was one of the most tenderhearted, vivacious ........... human beings that I have ever known........... if you didn't know her or meet her ......... it was your loss.

She was unique.........you see .........she was the only real life clown I ever knew, she also hate the talent of storyteller, caregiver, and could float in the pool without even trying grinning ear to ear with the widest eyes meeting mine saying "fat floats"  I would bust out laughing every time!

Mimo with her husband, Mike, who died several years before she did, she loved him with all she had until she died..... they are together and are taking care of my son SHANE....... and that is the only good thing I can think of about her leaving this earth.
She cuddled her own babies and everyone else's babies too, saying "they only want to be loved." and looking at them with the gentlest face and earnest heart a person could have.
I told her everything I have typed here face to face in my house the last time I saw her .... after I hurt her feelings once again. I didn't mean to by any means but I did. I watched the crocidile tear go down her face when she explained that i should have left....... I should have gotten my things together and left and taken her with me when she was insulted by another guest there.   I didn't know why she was insulted...... but she was.

 She was telling a story about Oatman Arizona at a party for July 4th that I had taken her too.  We were all sitting around talking like a bunch of old hippies always do........ and having a backyard cookout on a farmyard porch..... and she was telling them about a trip down route 66 she had taken on a recent trip to reno with a friend.  She was telling about this being a ghost town....... and the little "wild west" town had a population under 200 and .....there were ghost and there were donkeys all about town.  someone who had a few too many drinks said "really?" "real ghosts?" and started laughing......... like they didn't believe her,  I guess I didn't understand the impact that had on her but later she told me that we should have left..... that she had worked her entire life to be credible and trustworthy and that person had insulted her and made her cry. Then i didn't see really why we should have left..... maybe just "ignore that guy" and move on to someone else ...... as his loss ........ and we didn't leave and his wife apologized for him later directly to my friend. Today I am sorry that I didn't leave.  I should have but I didn't think that way...... I didn't protect my friends pride instead we stayed I didn't even offer.  

What I did do............... Is prove him wrong,  I went to Oatman Arizona to check it out and take photos....................

My Mimo............. I would do anything to have you back here and redo that moment........ you didn't hold it angainst me , we remained friends and you were the first and only person who walked my walk with me all the way through and offered to do anything you could for me ....... my entire life ......unconditionally..... and now you are gone.

You are gone , I cannot call you , I cannot come see you and I cannot take you up on any more of your offers to help others , each other or our selves.  I am just one story.  There are many.  All of the people that were in her life "for real" and were shown a "new world" dispite the obstacles  she had the ability to grab on to every ounce of positive there was to grab on to , even in famine.

Dear Mimo............. I miss you dearly.
You were always my biggest cheerleader..... from such a young and naiive girl who you convinced all of the other adults that I was "cool."  I wouldn't tell the secrets of the young adults of the70s. I was "cool."   You were one of my hippy friends, my role models.........

and the one that taught me that walking to the bookmobile was worth the effort and carrying all of those books for 1 mile straight built muscles in your arms too.

I was the skinny kid on the block..... chicken legs, twiggy girl......... much more underdeveloped than most of my friends physically, but mentally I was an old soul....... a little adult with adult responsibilities with which many grown men............ took adult liberties....... starting at this time of my life.

Mimo a real live clown.........
My respite was being a "little girl" at Mimo's house.  I was old enough to babysit Shannon and Ruthy.... but still young enough that the nuturing of Mimo was the healthiest part of my life.  I remember she would cradle Shannon with his runny nose on one side of her while Ruthy slept in her playpen and Leo was out working and I would go there after school, on weekends, all summer , any time I could.   She played Hall &Oates on her state of the art sound system in those government subsidized apartments we lived in, music that made so much more sense than the Englebert Humperdink I heard at my house.

Her husband, Leo, drove a Harley.  They were actually quite like "Sonny and Cher."  They fit together ....... perfectly, they were a team.   Not only were they a team but Mimo's sister, married Leo's Brother making everyone doubly related and several of the other relatives lived in our same apartment complex.   But I didn't hang with them, instead I hung with Mimo.

Mimo and Grandson Xavier
Mimo was dislexic and had only learned to "enjoy" reading a few years before me and was showing me what "good books" were. She read with me "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" that I let her borrow and from her I borrowed some adult books that I changed the cover on, so that know one would know what I was reading.  We had our own little book club between us, we would discuss the book the characters and all about it.  She was so alive and colorful that she would change her voice and the octave , roll her eyes back and smiled and shook so alive that you could feel the meaning in the words she read.  It didn't matter what it was , when she told a story, you listened and laughed and cried and shivered or what ever the story called for............she was good.

When it came time for a school field trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania (yep right from the ghetto of Richmond we traveled all the way to HERSHEY PARK!)  I don't understand that now as an adult but I was thrilled then and still am thrilled that I was able to bring my friend, my adult friend on that field trip to a different state.  Mimo knew how to enjoy things....... much better than any other adult that I knew, she was the epidome of "cape diem" in a human.

My life would have never been as colorful or as full without you in it.  I will always be here for your children and their children if they need a friend.  I will tell them stories ...........of a time when they don't remember .  I promise........
 Mimo's ashes are in this urn that her children crafted for her. They loved her so much, she would have cherished such a box in life as a prized possesion.  They could not have done any better. 

I just read on facebook ,  Mimo's daughter Maggie is pregnant.  She is having a boy, he will be named Dominic ,   Dominic SHANE ............. ........ I am so honored.  I wish she lived here in town where I could spoil him,  never as well as Mimo could but I could try.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know how I missed this post. Maybe because it was right around the time of Cade's birthday? But I loved reading it. All I could think was how much she sounds like you. I think you have become her in many ways. You remind me of Andrea in that you have found your own family, and you've been creative in doing so. I'm sorry for this loss.