About a year and a half after John and Louise Koroschetz married, their first and only child was born, Lillian—my mom. To get a tiny bit of insight into my mother’s personality, just take a look at these two baby pictures. She seems to be about the same age in each—I’d say about six months. Now we all know that baby pictures can be pretty hilarious in the goofy expressions the camera can capture of these unknowing little souls, and those photos don’t necessarily reveal the true personality of the subject.
But in this case, I find these two photos prescient of my mother’s dual nature.
Picture 1 above:
Little Lillian is lying on a bed, energetically pushing herself upward. She’s adorable! Her eyes sparkle. She looks at the camera with a combination of enthusiasm and coy delight. She’s cute, confident, bubbling with happiness and confidence. This is a girl who seems to say, “World, here I come.”
Lillian is glaring at the camera with a fierceness that would make a marine back off. I mean, that’s a take-no-prisoners expression. Here Lillian looks like she’s about to take charge, dress down a miscreant, tell you exactly what she thinks, and if you’re in her sights at this moment, you don’t want to hear it!
Mom would evolve through girlhood and into an adult with both these traits, although the first one was more prevalent in her youth. She had immense self-confidence, a strong moral sense, and clear expectations of how people should behave, but she wasn’t a prig. It was virtually impossible to sway her from her beliefs. Sometimes that’s a wonderful feature. Other times…not so great. But that’s who she was, and once she started writing regularly in a diary—at the age of ten—her go-getter personality came ever-more into focus.