Scout & Birdie
Scout & Birdie
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My mother has no middle name.
She is a second child. One of four. Three sisters and the youngest a boy.
My mother was not given a middle name.

My mother is in not small like me. She has big hips and big breasts.
I lay on her like a pillow. Feeling her warm body holding mine.
Her thick, curly, brown hair pulled back in a tight, perfect, ponytail.
She smells clean, always.

My mother cleans the house. No one else does.
My mother makes dinner. No one else does.
My mother worries. No one else does. But my mother does.

We tease  you worry too much / you’re obsessive / you can never relax

My mother is eleven when her mom comes out as gay. She is eleven when her father moves out of their family’s apartment in the old Jewish side of Milwaukee. She is eleven.
Her mother goes out a lot. Her big sister goes out a lot. My mother doesn’t go out.
She goes to school taking the 12 bus and transferring to the 10. She comes home taking the 10 bus and transferring to the 12.
She does her homework, helps with her sisters, help with her brothers.
By the time she is a teen she is both sister and mother to them.
They are poor. She rides the 45 to the grocery store with three dollars and fifty cents for dinner. She makes macaroni and cheese with slices of hot dogs.

My mother tells me she always knew she would have a little girl,
She always knew she’d have a little girl and call her Annie Rose.
Rose, after her father’s mother. My middle name.  A name my mother wasn’t given.

My mother’s hair is frizzy with volume and wild beautiful curls.
I have seen my mother wear her hair down twice. Once in a little picture I stole from her bedside table of her on her wedding day. And once for my sisters bat mitzvah, where I straightened it for an hour, making it as flat as a pin.

My childhood home is clean. We live in an upper middle class, or lower upper-class area. Our house is organized. Things belong where they belong.
Our house - my mother’s house - is thought out.
The walls are beige and the furniture brown. The bathroom is clean and the kitchen is spotless. My mother likes it- want it- needs it that way.

We yell  you’re always controlling us / you’re overreacting / you can’t let anyone just be

My mother moves out at eighteen. My mother meets my father at eighteen.
My dad says that when they met my mom had two full outfits. A pair of jeans, a dress, sneakers and a pair of bright red boots.
He laughs that, when she met his family, the first thing my father’s mother did was take my mother shopping at Nordstrom’s.
My Grandma says  get whatever you want sweetie.

My mother shops. A weekend’s activities with my mom are: a run to the Bay shore mall, to hit up Gap, Gap Kids, Gap Body, Gap Outlet, followed by T.J. Max, Marshals, and Nordstrom’s rack.
She buys clothing, she buys shoes, she buys bags. Bags are her favorite.
She is happy when she shops, she is young when she shops, she is a kid when she searches and finds and pays with her silver credit card.

We lay our finds for the day out on my parent’s big bed. My father isn’t allowed in the room, we don’t want him to see just how much we got, just how much we spent -he’d kill us if he knew.
We talk about each item, how great of a deal it was, where we found it in the store, what we will wear it with.
We laugh, take pictures, try them on.
We cuddle up on her big bed in our new finds and I lay on my mother like a pillow, feeling her warm body, and her thick, tight ponytail.
And when we’re done, my mother folds her clothing up in a neat little pile, and puts it away in her neat little closet.

My mother never let me take the bus. My mother didn’t want me cooking dinner. My mother never had me make my bed, or do the laundry, or clean the dishes.

My mother cleans the house. No one else does.
My mother makes dinner. No one else does.
My mother worries. No one else does. But my mother does.

She tells me she always knew she’d have a little girl.
She always knew she’d have a little girl and call her Annie Rose.

She says  you’re not a baby, but you’ll always be my baby.

My mother cries when I cry, she is angry when I’m angry, she is in love when I’m in love, she hurts when I’m hurting.
She says I wish I could take all your pain away.

My mother is eleven and rides the bus to school.
She is eleven and cares for her siblings.
She’s eleven and dreams of having a baby girl.
She’ll call her Annie Rose.

 

About the author...

Anna Rose Wolfe is an writer / performer. She is the co founder of Scout & Birdie. Anna is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, where she earned a BA in Acting and a minor in Gender Studies. She performs regularly with The LIVINGroom, a solo performance ensemble. Anna has been featured in venues and fests around Chicago, such as Life Line Theater’s Fillet of Solo Festival, Greenhouse Theatre Center’s Solo Celebration, Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins Festival, National Cool Shorts, Flat Iron Comedy,  Greenhouse Theatre Center's SoloPerformance Lab, The Plagiarists Salon, and The Election Monologues. 

Want to read more of Anna's work?

Check out her piece, Gan Israel, from our First Impressions issue and her piece, Montreal Bae, from our Messy issue!