Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy MD Day

As I wrote in a post one year ago, I will always think of Mother's Day as MD Day.  A pun, really, on what we called my mother growing up—MD, short for Mummy (or later Mother) Darling.

Patricia Hewitt Darling
1921 to 2000

I am showing a photograph of MD that was taken in the mid 1940s when she was a young woman.  I keep it in a silver frame that once belonged to MD's mother and that sits on my bedroom chest of drawers at Darlington House.  The frame was a gift to my grandmother from her best friend when she got engaged to my grandfather.

I am partial to this photograph for a number of reasons.  MD is young and lithe, and she is sitting barefoot in her parents' living room in a chair whose slipcover has contrasting moss fringe.  How stylish is that?  On her lap sprawls her most adored pet spaniel, Sall—short for Sally;  she was also known as Silly Sall.  And right by MD's elbow is a large glass ashtray, sitting on top of a bobbin-turned table, for her ever-present Lucky Strikes.  I remember that table well, as it sat in our own living room when I was growing up.  That is, until MD replaced most of the antiques in our house with Danish Modern furniture in the late 1960s.

She really was something else, that MD.

Happy MD Day, Mummy Darling, wherever you are!

Photograph by Boy Fenwick


21 comments:

  1. Again you have you touched my heart. It's already Mothers Day here and I too am thinking of my mother Joanna (1924-2003).

    I have a photograph of her from the early 1940s in her Royal Canadian Airforce Uniform.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you SMR. One of the great influences on my life was my cousin Joanna, of the same generation as your mother. It is a name that I will always love, as I loved her dearly. Reggie

      Delete
    2. you're not my long lost cousin Reggie are you ? that would be a hoot

      Delete
  2. Reggie, wonderful thoughts about your Mother...

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

    ReplyDelete
  3. Charming and bittersweet, the picture and that it is a memory.
    We all have our mums around in my clan but are sadly bereft of living fathers, except me, an only child. I only imagine the feeling that cheery cards must bring when one's intended recipient is not present and I may just be insulted by the holiday instead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Kerry, While the greeting card industry has coopted Mother's Day (along with every other holida it seems), cinically reducing it to its basest, mercantile possibility--a spending opportunity--there is still much to recommend the annual observance of celebration of one's mother, I believe.

      Delete
  4. Love this picture which I have never seen until now.
    xox
    Camilla

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Camilla, I am glad you like it, it is--as I write--a favorite of mine. Reggie

      Delete
  5. Hello Reggie:
    We rather tend to avoid anything connected with Mother's Day or Mothering Sunday, some Sundays back, as it is known in the United Kingdom, but were drawn here to this very appealing photograph of your mother in a beautiful antique silver frame. What a lovely item to have on the bedside chest-of-drawers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello J&LH: MD agreed with you, she snorted contemtuously at the very thought of Mother's Day, which she considered a trumped up, sacharine greeting card day. Both my sister Camilla and I would send her cards anyway, usually of the most tasteless variety we could find, covered with ribbons and glitter and cute bunnies and such, and containing poetry of the basest sort. Most amusing! Reggie

      Delete
  6. An affecting tribute to your mother on Mother's day.

    It is interesting how physical objects can represent human emotions and relationships. The ash tray, table and even the cigarettes remind you (and by extension, us) of that place and time, and of your happy memories of your mother.

    I especially like the idea that the silver frame was given to your grandmother as an engagement present. Although the participants are gone, the frame still connotes the excitement of that romance, and the pleasure in giving and receiving this gift.
    --Road to Parnassus

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Parnassas, You are most correct that physical objects take on a special and sometimes strange significance. I will always be partial to glass ashtrays of the sort MD favored, and the packaging of the Lucky Strike cigarettes she smoked most of her life, despite the decidedly unhealthful impact they had on her, particularly in her later years. The silver frame, which is now over 100 years old, is also a favorite of mine, for the reasons you perceptively note. Thank you. Reggie

      Delete
  7. I love the chair , the dress , the ash tray and Sal especially as we have a Sally Spaniel of our own. Now to come to the dreaded cigarettes........how many of us grew up with that familiar sight and smell, not that I minded but nor did I ever smoke.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another Sally spaniel? How lovely! And yes, the smell of cigarettes was everpresent in our household growing up. The contrast between then -- when statistically over 40% of adult Americans smoked-- versus today -- when less than 25% do -- is quite remarkable. More striking is among people with college educations, where the percentage of adult smokers is much less, probably around 15%. Although I and my friends once smoked, most of us were merely social smokers, and most of us have long since given it up.

      Delete
  8. Hi RD, I enjoyed reading about your chic Mother despite the tragic shift to Danish Modern. Well, in Winston Salem, we're still smokin, so you might enjoy a spin around my post on the Reynolda Estate. Come say hello!
    Best,
    Liz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Liz, I did read your post about Reynolda. Excellent, thank you!

      Delete
  9. Oh lovely post...I like her...she looks a lot like me...

    ReplyDelete
  10. A very poignant photo, Reggie, the love of your mother for her dog.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I hope you didn't take my comment amiss Reggie, I didn't mean it to sound so harsh after your heartfelt comments about your cousin Joanna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not to worry, I took your comment in the good spirit that it was intended. Thank you!

      Delete

Please do comment! I welcome and encourage them, and enjoy the dialogue.

Related Posts with Thumbnails