August 23, 2021
Many years ago, I took my mother to Starbucks. As I was frantically trying to maneuver my young, obstinate daughter away from the dessert display case, my mother pushed her way ahead of the melee.
“What can I get you?” the very young saleslady asked my mother while she glared at my struggling youngster.
“Coffee,” mom said looking straight into the girl’s eyes.
With a slight catch in her tone only I would recognize, mom said, “Pick up the coffee pot and pour the liquid into a coffee mug.”
“A cup of hot tea with a slice of lemon for my daughter, and…” mom added but was interrupted.
“What kind of tea? We have…”
“Tea. A tea bag in hot water. And lemon.”
“We don’t have lemon,” the salesgirl grimaced.
“Why ever not?”
The girl seemed to shake involuntarily as her face changed swiftly from pale white to a crimson pink. “I, um, I don’t know. No one has asked before.”
Without missing a beat, Mom continued the order. “And a tiny slice of coffee cake and hot chocolate for the hyperactive child.”
“I don’t think we have coffee cake,” the salesgirl said with embarrassment.
“This is a coffee house, isn’t it?” Mom asked sweetly.
“I want coffee,” my child screeched as she pointed to what looked like coffee cake.
“Do you want a regular or Grande hot chocolate with regular, 2%, or low-fat? Is that with or without whipped cream and cinnamon?”
My mother gave the girl a pathetic look and reiterated the order. “A cup of coffee, a cup of tea with lemon, a hot chocolate and a slice of coffee cake.”
Mom turned to me, took her granddaughter’s hand, and gave me a $5.00 bill. “That should cover it. Tell the poor creature to keep the change.”
Your nostalgia was my life. I always loved that old expression. As for my mom, she tried to keep up with the times and stay on top of things through an ever-changing 20th century. She was always eager to try out the latest computers or cellphones, but I often remember her as my 1950’s mom reminiscent to the description of her character in UNIQUELY STELLA.
LaVerne Stella Kossler passed away a few months ago. In my mind, Rosie and Maddie hovered close by. In reality, I held my mother’s hand as my sister rushed to open the window so mom’s spirit could float away from her 94-year-old frail body. Somewhere in the distance, an open window alarm went off. As in life, LaVerne Stella Kossler had a way of setting off alarms causing the fragile nostalgic passing of time to dramatically influence a better future.
This unique woman was my inspiration and my greatest hero