It’s the day before Mother’s Day, and for the first time in my life of 69 years, I no longer have a mother. That means I didn’t have to rack my brains this year about what to send her if she wasn’t within traveling distance of me, which often happened when she became a snowbird. It meant I didn’t have to worry about sending a card or making sure I called her early enough in the day so that she wouldn’t feel neglected. Not too many years ago, I would invite her to a Broadway theater production as a Mother’s Day gift, because theater was one thing we both enjoyed. I have always been terrible at picking out gifts for people, as I seem to have been born to not shop, my taste in things generally running contrary to popular thinking.

But I can’t say that this new circumstance is really any sort of relief, for it has left a giant hole in my life. Looking after my mom had, in some way or another, become a major focus, especially after I lost my husband eleven and a half years ago.

What has become most troubling is remembering all the things I forgot or never thought to ask her. Just this evening it occurred to me that the place of my conception, where the seeds of my being were first planted, was supposed to have been the city of Havre de Grace. In fact my long-gone husband even remembered my mother telling him that and remarked on it when we passed through the city and possibly stayed there a night on our way to some place else. What bothered me is I know almost virtually nothing about my parents’ life there, except that my father was in the armed services so they were living on an army base, and it was not long before he would be sent to France where he was stationed during World War II.

My mother, a few months pregnant but completely unaware of it, went back to New York City to live temporarily with her parents in a comfortable apartment on Riverside Drive. But what life was like in Havre de Grace I never really asked. I guess at the time I didn’t care. Perhaps figuring all those details would always be available to me made it uninteresting and not worth thinking about. But suddenly, tonight, I wished I had known more. I don’t know a thing about the city, so I looked online to see if I could find any clues. In Googling, I came across an article in the Baltimore Sun that pretty much made me decide I probably didn’t want to know too much more. There is evidently a huge fight going on within the area between those who think chickens should be allowed in the city and those who believe it will spell disaster, not just for the city but because it will become a threat to our country’s safety if Aberdeen goes under, which some people claim will happen if chicken breeding is allowed within the Aberdeen/Havre de Grace area.

I quote directly from the paper:

“Will the clucking ever stop?

Perhaps, it will soon in Aberdeen, but not before one city council member warned this week that allowing chickens to be kept within the city limits might be so harmful as to contribute to the demise of Aberdeen Proving Ground.

To think, the place that developed some of the world’s most sophisticated weapons of the past 100 years – and pioneered the use of computers – might be done in by a few Plymouth rocks or Rhode Island reds.”

So there you have it! I’m not sure if this is a what-came-first-the-chicken-or-the-egg story, but it doesn’t bode well for the rest of my life if one’s place of conception has any influence on the rest of one’s fortune.