Today would’ve been my mother’s 99th birthday. Though she’s been gone for a long time now, I still miss her everyday. I miss her unconditional love and I miss hearing the stories of her youth. I wish I had listened more closely. I wish I could hear them again with adult ears and know who she really was a little bit better. Today I remembered her talking about going to the 1939 World’s Fair and this is what came from the memory.

Happy Birthday in heaven, Mom. May your spirit soar.

petahmayer / Pixabay

At the Fair


Twenty years old at the 1939 World’s Fair,

daring, with the future looming ahead,

you stand on a line for the parachute jump

that seems to go on forever,

with friends you will never see in coming years.

Before the War, before rationing,

before marriage and children tied you to the earth,

you dared to climb and take a leap of faith,

to plummet with fear, to scream with joy,

and embrace the sky.


I never knew that bold young woman,

though I wish I did.

I caught glimpses of her from time to time—

a mischievous raise of an eyebrow,

a little flirty and fun.

I’d like to stand behind her in that line

to observe her in her natural state,

to see her laughing and free,

when her spirit still had wings to fly.


~Elise Skidmore ©2018

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  1. I’ve wished I could have known my mother in her younger years as well. Then I look at my kids and sigh…because they never knew their mother as a young woman, either.

    1. Lisa, that’s so true for all of us. Some of us may have a little better idea of what our parents were like when they were young than others do, but we can never really know. The truth is that the vast majority of us don’t really even listen when they tried to tell us.

      Thanks for reading this and sharing your thoughts.

  2. That was a beautiful poem for Mom. That would be something if we could know our younger Moms. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you. When we’re young, we never even consider what our parents were like when they were children, even when they tell us stories about it. I think as we age, we see the world differently, and sadly, it’s usually too late to really get to know our parents in that way.