Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Sylvia Hodder, R.I.P.

Current mood: grateful

Today I'm remembering my mother Sylvia, who died twelve years ago on July 1st after wrestling with breast cancer for a long (but too short) time.

She was a latter-day convert to vegetarianism and communism, (preferring you not to remind her that she voted Conservative in the Sixties), and I learned my political engagement from her, though I was never very keen on our local Communist Party. The day she joined my mother was interviewed by the local party leader P*** C*****."You aren't joining us because you want to change the world, are you?" he cautioned her."Because we're not interested in trying to change the world." When Thatcher left office and the grassroots opposition in the country collapsed, the ever-pragmatic P. joined New Labour and got a seat on the local council.

There are a thousand stories I could tell about my mother and maybe I will; but not right now. It's early and I'm a little hungover. But I find myself remembering one thing in particular this morning, with a weird sense of pride: the day she got into an epic bad mood because somebody else in the family threw away the marijuana stash she was hiding in her ornamental teapot. That mood soon transformed itself into something closer to shame and pity that someone who'd sprung from my mother's own loins should be so straight she didn't recognise what the hierba buena looked like.

Ma, you were a card. And your later years were an education for us all.

I wish you were still around to rant and rage with about the conservative hell we're all walking into so blindly.

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