Tag Archives: Mom

Remembering My Mom

Mary Carole Hoyt. 1938-1983.

Today marks 29 years since my beautiful mother left this planet. Taken from us way too soon, we barely had time to process that she was sick and then she was gone.

It amazes me that although I’ve lived more years now without her than with her, I still miss her so very much. Mixed with the sadness is this anger at the cruelty of her life cut short just as she began to experiment with spreading her wings.

But I don’t want to write about all the grief and angst surrounding her untimely death. I want this to be about honoring her life – and the amazing gifts that  Carole gave to all of us, to everyone who touched her life. People flocked to her because Continue reading

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Remembering Carole

My mom on some long-ago Mother's Day morning, reading a card presented to her by my sister, Betsey.

I don’t know what awards my mother might have won in high school – something tells me maybe none, since she was too busy getting expelled for things like sneaking downtown to dance on the American Bandstand TV show.

But if awards for given out for vivacity, boldness, audacity and the sheer love of fun, my mom, Carole, surely would have won them all. She gathered friends and admirers around her like the Disney version of Snow White and her birds and critters of the forest.

Carole dancing with a long-forgotten neighbor or friend in the kitchen in Larchmont.

“Sock it to the world!” she’d shout, cranking up the volume on the stereo. Cigarette waving, she’d dance into the living room, grabbing my hand. “Let’s dance!”

Carole was at her happiest when surrounded by people. Gesturing vividly, she could tell story after story, her resonant laugh ringing through the room. She charmed everyone around her. I guess she just had a gift for making people feel good. Basking in her radiance, they could rediscover their own zest for life.

In seventh grade when I arrived home in tears because I hadn’t been invited to the first boy-girl party, she snapped her fingers in dismissal.

“Don’t you worry,” she declared. “You’re going to have your own party!”

The following Friday as the cluster of adolescents milled around our living room in bewilderment, wondering what exactly we were supposed to do at such a party, Mommy burst in and cranked up the stereo.

“Hey guys, time to dance!”

Within moments we kids were shaking it up to “Bad Moon Rising,” by Credence Clearwater Revival – forever after one of my favorite dance tunes.

My mom didn’t care a whit about what other people thought. “Screw it!” she’d say when I hesitated about squatting by the side of the road during a long car trip. “If they haven’t seen it once, there’s always a first time!”

I always longed for her spirit, for her boldness and her ability to shuck off concerns about what other people thought. It’s funny how as I grow older I’m able to access some of those qualities that she surely passed on to me both through the umbilical cord and by example.

Somewhere in Europe, circa 1972

She spoke both French and Spanish with fluency, and during our years in Europe she collected friends with ease, chattering away with enthusiasm even when she didn’t know the world. She loved nothing more than making people comfortable and happy. Carole gave and gave – of herself and of everything she had.

Carole in L.A. during the early '80s.

Passion could have been her middle name. Exuberance her handmaiden. When I find myself sinking into the practical, left-brain, analytical side of my nature – to the point of feeling bloodless – I turn up some music and invoke Mommy’s energy.

It’s been almost 30 years since I lost my mom, since the world lost Carole. She left us far too soon as she was barely blossoming into her 40s.

Like so many others who said goodbye to their mothers  too soon, no matter how much time passes the pain of missing her still persists. Maybe not so sharp as in those early years, but a dull ache that I will carry with me till my own time comes.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Here she is (on the left) with her best friend Ann Arfea - maybe early '60s? Always beautiful

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What’s Next?

Nest is now empty. Brain space is freed up. Is it finally time to decide what to do when I grow up?

One minute you’re looking at a blue line in a pregnancy kit, the next you’re walking a chattering little girl to her first day of kindergarten, then the next you’re comforting her as she sobs through her first brush with romantic heartbreak, and then suddenly you’re driving away after leaving her standing in a new apartment or dorm room.

Life revolved around my two daughters ever since the day I discovered I was pregnant. Twenty-one years old, freshly grieving from my own mom’s recent death, and absolutely clueless about how to be a mom myself. Continue reading

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