Sunday, May 13, 2012

Our Mothers.

Mother's Day.
 Waking up to the most exquisite morning here in Sri Lanka where the weather is a constant 28* I went on my quest to find more Cowrie shells. While searching along the shoreline I remembered it is Mother's Day and thought it appropriate to pay tribute to all our Mothers, Past, Present and future. I still miss my own mother very much.

My lovely Mother..
Joyce (Winter) King was a beautiful, young redhead when my tall dark and handsome Father met her. They were school buddies and loved each other from the start to the end. They married very young while the clouds of W.W. 2 were hovering over the world and no sooner had my elder brother been born, Father had to go off to join the army. He was probably only eighteen or nineteen years old. Mother struggled on with the help of family on both sides, to work and bring up her young son. She must have been on her own for five or six years. Returning from the war there were good opportunities for men in the building line and once he started working for a renowned building firm Dad was sent all over the land, including what was then Southern Rhodesia!

 My Mother, together with three young children boarded a train for the unknown and just accepted each challenge as they came along which showed her amazing tenacity. Living in daub and wattle bungalows, fetching water from the well, mixing with women from all sorts of backgrounds and making a lovely home for her beloved husband and her young family. The only regret she ever carried was that my eldest brother did not join us on these adventures and stayed with his loving and persuasive grandparents. Lang never really lived with us again but we spent lots of holidays together. Eventually, on return to S.A. And a few contracts later my Mom and Dad welcomed a fifth child into the family...twenty years after their fist son was born!!

 My father died far too young and needless to say my Mother was broken hearted. Her one wish which echoes in my ears to this day is "Just give me one more day with your Dad!" The lessons I take from her and hope I can pass on are Kindness, Compassion, Caring about the underdog, never complaining,(not easy), looking for the good in everyone and every situation and many more which are deeply imbedded.
Miss you Joycie.

 Warren's mother was quite a character who loved to laugh and have a good time. At times she could be the proverbial drama queen and just loved being teased. I met Jean when I was just eighteen years old and she welcomed me into her home and treated me like another daughter. She was very domesticated and loved cooking and cleaning and at times I think I frustrated her with my total lack of interest in all things domestic. I would far rather read a book than do housework of any description.
Jean loved her children and was passionate about her grandchildren of which there were a dozen. The love for Nana was mutual and the children have many treasured memories of the times spent with their Grandmother.
 I have beautiful memories of both my Grandmothers and I was fortunate enough to meet both of Warren's. We come from interesting stock! Today I pay tribute to those Grand Dames and I also pay tribute to our daughters, daughters-in-law, nieces, sisters-in-law, girlfriends and all the Mothers I know. Have a blessed day.

Collecting Cowries.

Collecting Cowries.
 Cyprea Guttala Surinensis....what a mouthful for a beautiful little shell! Despite this, there is even more to tell about this favourite little shell of mine.
Some of the cowries I picked up.

 I invite you to share a few interesting facts about this darling little shell which hides amongst the lesser shells and takes a skilled eye to find. The word porcelain is derived from the Italian word porcellan which is the Italian word for Cowrie because of the translucent shine many have. Originally in Africa and Asia shells were used as currency and the Chinese pictograph used for money, is the shape of a cowrie shell!! Excavators have found brass and silver cowries in China. Chieftains in Fiji drill holes into them and wear them as a badge of rank, to show how important they are. For some they are seen as symbols of fertility and some tribes weave them into the young bride's hair to increase her fertility. Many young people love wearing cowries as jewelry, especially the surfers round here.
Tiger Cowrie.

 My Grandmother used the very large "Cyprae Tigris" a tiger cowrie for inserting into socks when doing the darning!! ( I wonder if they would help with quilting?)

 Here in Sri Lanka, the cowries are used in board games and are called Pachis. Our man who runs this place, gave us a lesson on how to play this game....I can't wait to teach my grandchildren. Spiritually, according to African legend, if you are attracted to Cowrie shells, you could be family to the Ocean Spirit of wealth and earth. It represents fertility, prosperity and love. Putting one under your pillow every night is a very good idea all round.

 One of my best things to do is to spend hours searching for cowries. When I see the them "heads" up and shining as the water washes off them, I get such a kick out of picking them up and putting them in my collection.  If it is "smiles" up. I am equally delighted. Maybe I am so blessed, as I have bottles of these beautiful shells collected from many different beaches.
 Anyone needing a little, slip a cowrie under your pillow tonight.