A Mother’s Unexpected Legacy

My mom died 4 years ago this October. She was a few days away from her 92nd birthday.

I’m still going through her paperwork. Every time I sit down with a box, I have to fold everything up and put it away when it comes time to get tough. I can’t bring myself to throw her personal paperwork away. There are old cards, lists, newspaper clippings, and odds and ends.

Going through a box the other day, I found a scrap of paper with a verse in her handwriting. It was about planting a garden, except each vegetable name went on to become a homophone. Peas became peace, squash became, well, squash, and lettuce became let us. So you would plant 3 rows of peas – of mind, heart, and soul. 4 rows of squash – indifference, selfishness, grumbling, gossip, etc. It was inspirational and I was so impressed with my mom for writing it.

I decided it was a rough draft of a card she was making for us children. I lamented that she didn’t actually make the cards. What a wonderful gift they would have been.

Today, right before I sat down to write the story of my mom’s lost verse, I googled the first line. To my amazement, dozens of entries popped up. It is obviously very well-known.

At first, I was disappointed, then, not to be deterred, I decided Mom must have sent her verse to a publisher a long time ago. I studied the scrap of paper. It seemed old. There were add-ins above lines, like she had changed her mind as she wrote.

But, as I did more research, I found that the poem was attributed to other people that weren’t my mom.

Instead of feeling sad, I realized this episode was actually an incredible tribute to my mom. I’d always known she was a talented writer, so I readily gave her credit for this verse. She was definitely capable.

This helped me realize how much respect I have for her.

Her legacy will live on, verse or not.


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