Saturday, December 12, 2009

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times - Chapter 21

#21 – “Never get on a motorcycle because if you have a wreck and scar up your face no man will ever want to marry you.”

This morning when I saw this one of one hundred things on the list of the things my mom taught me a million times, I let out a big honking laugh and flashed back on a vivid memory. When I was around 16-ish, I started dating my children’s father, who was five years older than me, in college and owned a number of very fast vehicles, including a motorcycle.

One might wonder why a mother (my dad died when I was 12) would let her 16-year-old date a 21-year-old. Simple. He was from a ranching family (which by our little west Texas standards meant “blue blood”), which was every mothers dream in 1964 – that her daughter might marry “well.” Although the fact that he lived on a huge beautiful ranch, drove a hot new car every year, and could afford to take me exotic places (Dallas, ha ha), didn’t escape my notice, but I was head-over-heels in love with him, so all that was superfluous to me.
Anyway, right after “Herbie” (H. C. Noelke III) and I started dating, we were out riding on his motorcycle, slid in some gravel, and had a wreck. I recall it as if it were yesterday. The sensation of loosing the grip of gravity, everything slowing down to a crawl, and all I could think of was “Protect Your Faceeeeeee!!” My life didn’t flash before my eyes because I hadn’t lived a life yet. But the instinct to stay attractive so I could get married was cemented into my psyche. Well, as it turned out, all we really did was slide sideways and skin our knees, but I would have sacrificed life and limb to retain a scar-less face!

I don’t know about your mother, but mine was a contradiction in values. She made it clear that marrying well was paramount, but she encourage me to get a college degree as “independence” insurance when most girls my age went to college to find a husband.  She always told me to put my husband and children first, but she insisted that I have ambition and interests of my own. She taught me to fill my world with interesting things as centerpieces of my life, but she said that staying pretty and keeping my man was most important. And you know what? She was right – about it all.

So take mom’s advice, and stay off of motorcycles! Unless you’re driving it yourself!



  1. OOOh! I love this. She was a study in contrasts, and I remember all these lessons too. Loved my Mommy. Jane

  2. Sue Ann, I loved your mother. Always thought she was the 'neatest' person. Wish my mom had told me some of these things, just told me boys don't like "smart" girls and it was important to marry for real love(whatever that meant).Sandy B.

  3. Well Sandy, your mom was right - some boys don't like smart girls, and marrying for "real love" is important - real love being the kind that the challenges of marriage and just plain ole life can't kill!

    I'm curious - what did you think was "neat" about my mom?

    Thanks for your comments...