The Legend of Cloud and Her Mama, Part 3
My Mama, Caron McCloud, recently participated in one of our online classes, Leading A legendary Life. During the course there is a fair amount of writing that needs to happen — and she wrote this incredible story. The next five mondays you will get one chapter of Cloud and Her Mama delivered to your inbox. Are you ready for the insight into my creative beginnings – well here is more than you ever wanted to know! My mom, is my best friend, and I am humbled and tickled by these sharings…thanks Mom. I am super blessed and I know it.
The Legend of Cloud and Her Mama
By Caron McCloud
Cloud appreciated the fact that her mom didn’t make her do dishes or take out the garbage. Mama Cloud would say, “Anyone can do dishes. That’s not something you have to learn how to do. Go learn something, read, study history, draw pictures, memorize a poem — something important.”
She also appreciated that though her mom was very tidy and organized about the whole house, she let her do “her own thing” in her own room, and Cloud was a very messy kid. Because, not only was she a “Material Girl”, she was an artist. She needed a lot of stuff to work with. Her mom always said, “When we move” (which was really often) “we have to rent one Uhaul truck for the household stuff and another just for Cloud’s stuff.”
The problem was that after a certain amount of time her mom would come in and clean her room and when Cloud came home to find her room all orderly she would go into shock because she knew that when she looked under her bed, there was going to be a big black hole where a lot of her “materials” used to be.
Sometimes she thought her mother to be really insensitive. How could she possibly have thrown out that lonesome fuzzy pink sock and those broken-in crayons, and all those papers, and pieces of papers, and puzzles, and pieces of puzzles, and string and pieces of string, and that little lone red Barbie doll shoe, and little blonde Barbie doll heads, and coloring books, and, and, and…..
Didn’t her mother know she was a great artist? Artist’s needed their stuff! Her mom wouldn’t even put her art on the refrigerator door like the other kid’s mothers did. But then she would console herself with the fact that her mom didn’t put anything else on the refrigerator either. She said she hated “Refrigerator Art!”
It was pretty easy for Cloud to forgive her mama even though she wouldn’t put things on the refrigerator, because when she really liked something Cloud had created she would frame it and hang it on the wall along with all the other art her mother collected. Some of the things she had made when she was just a little girl would still be hanging on the walls when they were both old. And, not that long ago she found some drawings, which she had thought the black hole had eaten, in an old album along with pictures of her.
Though neither Cloud nor her Mama could know at the time, after Cloud grew up and left home and her mama got old and sentimental she did give in and put things up on the refrigerator door. Mostly cards that Cloud sent her. Cards with lots of sparkle and glitter. Cards with pictures of red cowboy boots, legendary women on horses, mermaids, forties movie stars, elephants and bees. Cards from all the places and towns where Cloud traveled and lived. The best were from Cloud’s own card line, usually with pictures of the Madonna and Child or the Guadalupe.
Then periodically — like when she used to clean Cloud’s room — she would take them down. She would read the wonderful things Cloud had written in them, calling her things like Mama Bear, Wolf Mother, Daughter of the Bee Queen, and Mommie Cloud. She would tell her she was beautiful and brilliant and funny.
Sometimes there would be poems inside that she had written, saying things like: “If there is anyone God likes to please / with His riddles, rhymes and prophecy / I Have no doubt / that it is my mother.” She would tell her how much she loved her even if she had made them move all the time. She would write things like, “I miss walking with you along all our shores, especially the one where the seagulls sing with their bird breath smelling of Pizza from Waterfront Pizza Parlor. I forever long for home and that home is always with you.” On those future days and shores her mother would kiss the cards, cry, and put them under the cloth on her altar next to the refrigerator to make room to put up the next batch. And some she framed.
The truth is, when Cloud was a kid she didn’t really care that her mom didn’t put her stuff up on the refrigerator. Even then she knew her art was too good to be on a refrigerator door, unless, of course, it was a card. And it wasn’t even so much that the stuff from under her bed periodically disappeared that traumatized Cloud. She appreciated the clean room. It was that when this happened, sometimes it meant they would soon be putting the rest of their stuff in a Uhaul truck. Again.
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Caron McCloud writes and performs poetry, and is a member of the Washington Poet’s Association where she has been a semi-finalist in the “Bart Baxter Performance Poetry” competition three out of three tmes entered, and in 2000, besides winning a “Carlin Aden Award” for her Alexandrian sonnet, Last Trump Tango, she was 1st place winner of the “Charlie Proctor Award” for her poem Holmes Ranch Hags, which she also read as the introduction for the Alice Walker/Sue Sellars event “Neighbors and Artists.” She was a participant in the “PoetSpeak Reading Series” at Frye Art Museum in Seattle, with poems published in “PoetsWest Literary Journal.” Her poem Common Ancestry was 1 of 14 of the 400 contest entries selected to be included in the poetry contest periodical, “Saltwater.” She has been a guest on several radio shows, and was a reader for the poetry collection by J. Glenn Evans CD, “Windows in the Sky,” which is periodically played in Washington on PoetsWest at KSER 90.7FM, Besides publications in various other venues she has over a dozen chap books to her credit, and has recently published RACHEL’S BAG In Search of the Qabalah of Our Mothers, a book about the radical actions of Old Testament women, for which her youngest daughter Shiloh did the introduction, the cover, and the illustrations. McCloud is currently working on a book on Qabalah, Living the Tree of Life, to be used in a workshop format.