Tag Archives: Mom

Ernestine Hinton

EJH November 1978Ernestine Hinton loved all kinds of fabric. She frequented fabric stores, buying yards of cloth she liked, which she piled in an out-of-the-way corner solely to paw through, no specific project in mind. She loved sensual materials like satin, silk and velour. She loved color and was happy to put colors next to each other that some might call daring. When she remodeled the house — transformed it, really — she brought together golds, yellows, reds, greens, sage and Chinese lacquer, all unified by a carpet that might have pleased Jackson Pollack, a studiously patternless palette of color blotches that gave every first-time viewer pause. She wanted you to be comfortable but never complacent and she trusted you to know the difference.

Ernestine was a natural hostess, welcoming everyone with such genuine charm. Out and about, she spoke to people most others ignore, extending courtesy to everyone equally. She worked to improve the lives of many and was outraged by those who did the opposite. She did not suffer fools. She would be appalled by what we’ve become.

She preferred to be called Teen, but I could only call her Mom, or in occasional shock, Mother! And shock me, she did. She was her own woman and expected to be accepted as such. In conversation, she was alive and witty. She could turn a deft phrase to knock you off your feet and then pick you up and dust you off and make sure you were still OK. She was brilliant.

Although Teen was a feminist role model before that concept emerged, she loved being a mother and loved children without reserve. There was nothing more important or valuable than nurturing children. We make our future by teaching our children and by loving them.

Many people and events have shaped me; she did it first and gave the world what there is to work with.

Today, Mom would be 84, though she wouldn’t admit it. That is, had she not been killed just over 20 years ago by cancer. That was the event that convinced me that if there were a god, I would hate him with all my being.

love, mjh

mjh’s Blog: Cut January 14, 2004
mjh’s Weblog Entry – Ernestine Justice Hinton January 13, 2003


Every year for some time now, I’ve cut my hair on 1/13; Merri cuts it, as she does the few times throughout the year that I have it cut. January 13th is the anniversary of my Mother’s death. Ernestine Justice Hinton died 19 years ago. The grief is no longer crushing, but still nearby. My Mom may have loved everything about her kids (Elizabeth, Danny and me). But, with me, it was always my hair that seemed to make her light up. And, so I cut it.

This year in memory of Mom, I did something different (after my ritual haircut). I stepped into a parallel universe, where Merri and I have 3 kids. I picked the kids up from school in the minivan. Donald, who is 6 1/2, had a better day than yesterday (which was “the worst day of my life” — I refrained then from telling him much worse days will come). Dean, 5, was very talkative once I startled everyone by driving home a different way (he doesn’t like change — too bad). At the neigborhood day care center, little DJ, 2 last week, washed his hands in the little sink after his diaper change — they say he’s the best kid they have (they probably say that to all the parents, but I believe them). We went to the park and frolicked (from the German word for ‘happy’, I didn’t tell them). On her way home from the grocery, Merri stopped by with super-cheddar goldfish cuz she knew we’d be hungry and getting cold. As the sun set, I drove the kids home. Dean showed me his wildlife coloring book; DJ kept bringing me different toys; Donald changed into a TV zombie.

The boys real mom, Lavern, came home with McDonald’s for dinner; dad, Donavon, will be home in a couple of days. I slipped into the darkness, walked out of that parallel universe back to mine. No real regrets in this world, except that Mom never saw it. mjh

01/13/2003: Ernestine Justice Hinton

Ernestine Justice Hinton taught me to love quick wit, language and laughter. …