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  • Writer's pictureShana Ritter

A Small Epiphany

I hadn’t submitted anything to the last issue of Rattle, the theme of single parenthood didn’t apply to me. At least that’s what I thought until poem after poem resonated, and it occurred to me I was raised by a single parent. How can I have spent fifty years without recognizing this? 

Widowed in 1965, after 26 years of a good marriage, my mother was left with a daughter just entering adolescence. That first year we shared a room, by the next year my brothers were gone and we rooted ourselves in our own rooms. I hardly remember being in the living room at the same time. Dinner was quick and silent, roasted chicken from Daitches, tv dinner, turkey pot pie. After, I would stretch the phone cord to reach behind my closed door, my mother would watch tv in her room. When I started going out I came home to that blue light of the black and white tv.

 There were some connections- a trip to Canada to visit family, a short stretch when we both had boyfriends, we were both against the Viet Nam War. But there were many more arguments; skirt lengths, curfew, my escapes to the city, housework.  Mostly I remember the silence between us.

 Now, I have two grown daughters, and compassion for my mother. I imagine what she must have imagined about the way things would be; a daughter to share time with, a guarantee against loneliness, companionship. Reading the poems brought back memories, and the realization that my story was a part of that larger one.

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