On September 1, 1965, I was in Buenos Aires serving in the Argentine Navy as a conscript sailor. My mother was in Veracruz, Mexico teaching in a one room schoolhouse to the American children of the engineers of Alcoa Aluminum. Her school was called Aluminio School. It was sometime around 1974 after my mother had died that Rosemary and I decided to have her poetry notebook bound in leather. It was then that I found this poem she had written to me.
I will only translate the last paragraph as it is the one that has haunted me all these years. She had told me many times stuff like, “You are not as intelligent as…” or once when I was 21 she said, “I have always loved you because I am your mother. Mothers love, by nature, their sons. They have no choice. But I have never liked you. But I sense that you have changed for the better and I am beginning to change my mind.” She told me that I had one very positive quality which she said was integrity. Sometimes this weighs on me like a ship’s anchor but lately I have been wondering if I should leave instructions in my will that my tombstone should read, “He died with integrity, the only talent this man had according to his mother.”
Dear son, may God bless you
May the Virgin Mary protect you
So that you will always remain
Good, equanimous and whole
All this and much more I wish for you.
Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.