maribell&mom (1)

“Maribelle. This image is of my mother, Stephanie, and her mother, Maribelle, taken in Strevell, Idaho down near the southern border of Utah. Maribelle birthed six kids (eldest and youngest boys and girls filled the middle) from two husbands, both of whom she married just six weeks after meeting. Or so the story goes. She doted on her boys and made her girls tough, gave them all boys names. Vic, Mytch, Little Joe and Stevie. Maribelle wasn’t known by her daughters to be the most nurturing of mothers. In this image, however, something good, something romantic and loving between mother and daughter has been captured. Maribelle was fiercely independent, wore tight jeans and high heels wayyy before it was acceptable and because it was inappropriate. She shot magpies, chickens and wild turkeys with a .22 rifle she kept under the seat of her pickup truck better than any boy around and was one of the first three women in the country to work for the FAA in air traffic control towers. She was a rebel. She was boy-crazy and flirted with everyone like a pro. She was competitive. She laughed a lot and loved to tease others. Her best friends in her younger years were men, and in her older years were women. Her highest compliment was that something was “different” and she bragged on her children and grandchildren who traveled and moved the farthest from home. She loved to talk. And talk and talk and talk. She started every letter and phone call with a weather report. She signed her letters “Mom” with quote marks around the word as if she were trying it on to play dress-up. She was the life of the party. She was 5’1″ tall fully grown, wore a bra to bed every night “to keep her breasts from falling” (and recommended frequently that we all do the same) and even in the year preceding her death, her children complained (as they did their whole lives) about overhearing her passionate lovemaking. She passed these incredible genes down, unwittingly perhaps but we are grateful to her for it nonetheless, to my mom and to me. Maribelle slipped from life due to issues related to an early stage of alzheimer’s at the age of 91. On the 4th of July. Independence Day: how perfect. She’d crawled out of bed in the middle of the night, opened her bedroom window and curled up on the floor like a kitten under a nearly full moon that lit up the sky. I didn’t formally meet Maribelle until I was 21 years old, but I knew her instantly because she’d lived inside of me my whole life. I’d like to keep her and my sweet mama around my neck, close to my hear, in one of your beautiful lockets made with love.”


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