Storyphile | Your life. Your story. For the people you love.

Remembering Mama

Had she lived, today would have been my mama’s 102nd birthday.

It would also have been my parents’ 77th wedding anniversary. My parents got married on Mama’s birthday because my grandfather, Mama’s dad, thought that would be an auspicious day.

But poor Mama found herself in a predicament when it came time to sign the bridal registry.

Daddy signed first, and listed his age as 24. Mama recorded that she was 24 too, although she had just turned 25. In those days, there was a huge stigma around older women marrying younger men. It simply wouldn’t do to have people think she was a whole year older than her husband!

Even decades later, when we were ordering a tombstone after Daddy died, Mama made it clear that we were only to inscribe their years of birth. We were not to list their exact birthdays. People didn’t need to know that Mama was 4 months older than Daddy!

It’s more than two decades since Mama died, on January 1, 2021. And thankfully, it’s no longer a scandal for a woman to be older than her husband. I’m sure Mama wouldn’t mind me spilling her secret now.

I miss Mama a lot, even though—these days—I see her hands when I look at mine. And I see her face looking back at me in the mirror.

May she always be remembered.


This is a rare picture of little me and Mama. By the time I came along, the family’s old box cameras no longer worked, and it would be some years before we got a magical new Polaroid that printed pictures while you waited.

Leave a Comment