In the days of my mother’s last go around with the aging process, when she was chair-bound for the last few years of her life, I came to know a different side of my mother that I didn’t really know about, probably because I was living on the other side of the continent, and our brief visits were always such a blur. I moved back to California to regrow my own life, and it was during a period of five years that I got the chance to be a friend to my mother while she grew less active physically. It was then that I discovered my mother had a profound curiosity about almost anything under the sun. Her curiosity probe was delightful at times, when we had the time to really delve into subjects that interested her. Sometimes she would say the most incredulous things, which led me to believe that she possessed a natural instinct to already know things. Perhaps it was an innate capacity to retain information or perhaps she possessed the intuitive notions that led her to know or to understand things far beyond what I thought was her realm of reality. Perhaps it was the wisdom that she collected on the way to her old age, or maybe she probed everyone she met and comprised an archive inside her brain which retained facts that she could question me to consider ideas.

We would discuss the Humanities, (history, art, ancient philosophy, and literature), politics of the city we lived in, inanimate things, human nature, and even beastly inclinations. We also discussed books, life, our oral history, her whims, her artwork that she created long ago, her library, and we even discussed her friendships with her children, my siblings, her love for my Dad, and her loyalty to her own mother and, how her life had progressed. It wasn’t until more recently that I came across the word, “perspicacity” and then I knew that it fit my mother exactly. It seemed that her will to influence us, to teach us, to push us along as children, and as adults, every bit of her nature and interests boiled down to this one word.  She possessed a perspicacious nature, even though she was afflicted with her own lifelong disability of not being able to walk very far, she never let on to anyone that this congenital disease had robbed her of long walks and mobility, yet, her mind, made up for the difference in the understanding of things… How many of us can actually say that we have such understanding of life and human nature? Some of us may have some idea of the foils of human nature, and how things work, but I would venture to say that the crux of the population hasn’t a clue as to how we exist, or why we exist as we do.  With this understanding she had of nature, whether human or beast, or inanimate or animated, she propelled and directed me towards my writing, even though sometimes I came up sputtering. She relentlessly pushed me into directions that made me consider and think about why she was so curious about a topic.  What I realized from her excitement about a topic, that I too became interested in knowing more about it.  It gave me a chance to explore, tap into subjects, use angles to write in my perspective, and then something profound happened – I became the writer I always wanted to be just by sharing in her excitement and knowledge and awareness of how things are.

Copyright 2010 Helen W. Holden-Gladsky



Writing little snipits on notecards, doing little watercolors were always things I would do to stay in touch with friends and family. Today those little snipits are woven into the stories and they have also become the illustrations in my children's books: Elephoot, Elephoot Returns and Penelope - The Tea Mouse. I am currently working on my next book...
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