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Seeing the mug

Bette’s Ocean View Diner

I think of

my mother

Bette Hutchison Silver


I am the connection

of every member

of our family

to my mother

Bette Hutchison Silver (date 1996?)

I am becoming

the connection

to my father


Constructing that connection

began seven years ago

after my mother’s death


Discovering documents

hidden in her attic


Researching online

to write

a book

that is and is not

the story of my father


So remember

through me

you are connected

and ever shall be

Last Thanksgiving (2010) I was in Kansas City.  Just my mom and me.  I spent several days looking for a restaurant that did NOT serve only turkey and all the trimmings… found nothing.  So my mom and I had a no turkey, just side dishes for Thanksgiving:  cornbread,  cornmeal stuffing, cranberry relish and sweet potatoes.

My mom’s recipe for cranberry relish is simple: cranberries, an orange and a cup of sugar through a food grinder.  Yummy.  Her cornbread recipe comes from the vintage  The American Woman’s Cook Book, first published in 1938, revised in 1972, a fat green book that I saw my mom using many many times.  My mom  became a very good, traditional American cook.  She often told me that she had never cooked until she got married.  Her family was so poor that her mother was afraid she might ruin some precious ingredients, so my mom was never allowed in her mother’s kitchen.

Last year, I helped my mom write Thanksgiving notes to friends and relatives.  She was feeling sort of down, so I wanted to try to get her thinking about others and the good things in her life.  I hope I succeeded. I miss her.

Bette Hutchison Silver at Bette's Diner in Berkeley CA 2003

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