Musing Of MOTHER
BY LEMMIE LACOUR MAXWELL 1948
To Odis, Lila,
Paul and David- with all my love.
Paul has an intense
desire for a horse - of all things. He talks about it constantly, and
"rides" an imaginary one all the time. Watching him, you can almost see
the horse. "He sits in the saddle well," says Odis. Today, to my
horror, I caught him on his knees lapping water out a mud puddle.
"Paul!" I demanded. "Do you want to catch polio and die?" "Yeah,' he
answered. " Then maybe I could go to heaven and get my horse." I
suppose he thinks that is the only way he will ever acquire one!
April 30, 1948
John, Julia Quinn
and the boys came up for a visit last weekend, and the weather was
lovely for a change. Usually it pours cats and dogs the whole time they
are here. And, as usual, John kept us in stitches with the enchanting
stories he tells in "Cajunese." He vows they are all true. I tell him he
should write them down, but it is practically impossible to capture the
accent and inflections of "Cajunese" with paper and ink. It is a pity
that it cannot be done justice in "writing" because it is utterly
delightful. Julia Quinn is going to have another baby. We are a little
worried as she doesn't look at all well. Perhaps that means she will
have a girl this time. We all hope so. We can't help noticing the
wistful look on her face when she is watching Alice and Kitty and Lila.
Speaking of Lila,
the little charmer has always had a most terrific crush on John. Every
time they come up for a visit, she follows his every step and pesters
him to death. At least, I am afraid she is annoying him, but I noticed
every time she says "unca John" he gives her his undivided attention. I
think he must want a girl as much as Julia Quinn does.
May 3, 1948
When the Savarios
were here, we all got together and took pictures in my back yard, and we
caught Mother unaware and snapped one of her. I don't know why she has
such an aversion to having her picture make. It surely isn't her looks,
because she is striking with her height and hair and clear skin. As Papa
Maxwell said to me the first time he saw her, "Your mother is the
prettiest one of you girls."
Anyway, she was
sitting on the terrace holding Pierre, and even though they were in the
shade, the white wall of the house cast a perfect light, so while Julia
Quinn distracted her, Kathleen motioned to me, and I snapped the camera
Afterwards we burst
out laughing and she said, "Oh my goodness. Did you take my picture,
Lemmie? Well, I'll just tear it up." But today, when Odis brought in the
developed films and she looked at the snapshot, she said, "Maybe we'd
better keep it-it's very good of Pierre." It's very good of her too!"
May 16, 1948
This morning when I
was hanging clothes, I saw a "sleep baby sleep" with its tiny pink
blossom still wet with dew, it seemed like a miracle. I plucked it and
put it in a small perfume bottle - one of my little-girl treasures- and
watched it until if faded. I remember how I hurt inside because it was
so beautiful, and when if finally withered and crumbled away, I cried
myself to sleep.
Children should be
surrounded by beauty so that they may grow up walking through it.
June 29, 1948
Julia Quinn lost her
baby this month and had to undergo an operation afterwards. She came
here for Baton Rouge to have it done so that Mother and I could attend
to Johnny and Jimmy.
I was alone with her
as she came out from under the ether. Semi-conscious she began to weep
like her heart was broken. "Ssh,", I said. "It's all over. It's all
right." then, her voice filled with anguish, she sobbed, "Oh, Lemmie, I
was in purgatory and I saw Daddy and he said, ' Baby, please pray for
me.' I was there and I saw him in the fire and he was begging." I broke
out in a cold sweat. Where does one go when she has been put so deeply
July 18, 1948
Lila, Paul, and
Susan were playing right near the kitchen window today. "Let's play
house," said Lila. "Okay," said Susan. "Paul, you be the Daddy and go on
to work," making it very plain that two was company, three a crowd. Lila
gave Paul their "twin" look, and he walked off a few steps then promptly
came back. "Didn't we tell you to go on to work, Paul?" demanded Susan.
"Yeah," he said. "But I forgot - it's my day off." Lila's deep,
infectious, joyous laughter came, and when she could stop laughing long
enough to talk, she said, "It sure is Paulie. I forgot too."
July 23, 1948
A most wondrous
thing is happening to Odis and me - we are going to have another child
in February. Perhaps the more children you have the more you want! I
have suspected it for almost two months now, but as before the doctors
had to consult a rabbit before they would listen to me. Why on both
occasions did they make every conceivable test to see what ailed me
before they had to murder a poor little rabbit? I shall always have a
tender spot in my heart for rabbits. They give their lives for human
babies, so to speak.
The doctors don't
seem to pleased. They have insisted I might not carry the baby. Pooh.
They do not know that - only God does. We shall see. I have told Lila
and Paul. And they want two babies! " One for me and one for Paulie,"
see about that, too. But, deep in my heart I keep thinking how wonderful
it will be not to have to divide my attention between two babies Just
one little baby at the time to cuddly and fuss over and rock....just one
little baby at the time....
October 18, 1948
I am sick to my very
soul - physically, and sometimes, I think, mentally. I am cross and
rude, and have no patience with Lila and Paul, poor little things. They
give me such bewildered looks when I am haranguing for nothing. Odis and
mother have the utmost patience with me. As for that matter, everyone
does. I believe they know I am not myself at all. I spend days in bed
with not enough energy to open my eyes. I have been hospitalized four
times already. The baby is almost killing me, but is still alive and
kicking, thank God, despite all the threats of miscarriage. On my good
days, I try to make up for my mean ones. And when I am in bed and strong
enough to sit up, I crochet and sew baby things. I am prepared for a boy
or a girl or both - but the X-rays show just one. Dear Mary, Mother of
God, give me strength, let the baby be normal, take from me but give to
I have had two weeks
of feeling human again. I was actually able to Christmas shop and cook
Christmas dinner. We stayed at home for the first time since our
marriage this year. We are a family now, and the twins are old enough to
start remembering Christmas at home. The baby will arrive the latter
part of February - by normal delivery. No section this time. It is a big
baby, and the doctors say it is strong enough now to survive even though
it tries again to enter the world ahead of time. But, even though I have
been miserable for so long - and made everyone around me miserable, too
- I still want these last two months for the baby. Every singly day I
carry it is most important. I am praying for something else - that I
shall be able to nurse it. Dr. J. says "Just wish hard enough and it
will come true. The will to nurse a baby sometimes makes milk when diets
fail." Well, I'm wishing.