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May   8

In Honor of Those Who Bore Us

In honor of Mother's Day, we asked readers to send in Mother_icon_1poems, essays or things their mothers were famous for saying. Here's what they came up.

Said every year at Parents' Night (but not just by my own sainted parent, let's get that clear, this was the price you paid back then for attending Papist schools): "If he gives you any trouble, Sister (or Father or Brother), just belt him. Don't be afraid to belt him. Just do it. Don't even think about it. Just belt him." - Richard Szathmary

I still haven't figured this one out: "Don't eat standing up. You'll get fat legs." - Karen Eisen

"If you could do one thing right in your life, it would be for the first time!" My mom always said this to me. Fortunately, I am not now a serial killer. - Stuart Weissman

"If you kids don't stop (hitting your sister/jumping on the bed/throwing toys), I'm going to get the wooden spoon!" Nowadays these words could land you a trip to Department of Family Services, but when I was a kid, this was Mom's mantra.

To tell you the truth, I really don't remember her ever actually wacking us; usually the threat alone was enough to quell the objectionable behavior. Culprit and siblings would stop in our tracks, eyes wide and breath held as she dashed off to the kitchen. Hearing the inevitable whoosh of drawer opening would be the unofficial signal to sprint.

I'll never forget the day my brother decided to do away with this daily ritual. While Mom was unaware, he collected all the spoons and hid them. As a full-blooded Italian who was proud of her culinary skills, she had quite the collection too. I will never forget the shout that issued from the kitchen that day, when she opened the drawer. She was apoplectic. Not one of us 'fessed up about who had hid the spoons and later, predictably, we were ALL punished. But it was worth it.

To this day we (mom included) still laugh about it. - Pam Gould

My mother said this as she dropped me off at college orientation on West 116th St. and Broadway, NYC, "Get out quick before the light turns green." Later when reminded of this, she said it was because there was no place to park as all the other parents were dropping off their children. So much for motherly love. Or I guess that's what happens when you're the third child. - Amy Revell

Writing about my mother makes me wish that I had a screen name, but I have nothing to hide. My mother died 18 months ago and I've been thinking about the things my mother said, trying to interpret some of her statements as though they were poems. She said that FDR taught her to swim at Warm Springs. She said she dated Paul Newman. She said she was the nurse in the famous photo of the sailor returning from war, in Times Square, sweeping her off her feet in a clinch. My mother was a nurse, but none of these things happened. She wasn't a writer or an artist. She was just out of touch with reality quite a bit of the time, undiagnosed and untreated. The last time that I saw her, she said that when she was a child, she complained about how hot it was one summer, so they put her on a slab in the morgue, and there she slept. That's what I thought about when I got the phone call that she was gone. She never saw a therapist, but I did, and I often think about the things my mother said. - Anne Marie Nolin

May 8, 2005 in A Friend Writes | Permalink


Anne Marie, I have to comment on your piece - it made me cry. You have managed to capture the essence of your mother and your love for her that was simply beautiful. You are right, there is no reason to have a "screen name" for this rememberence. Thank you for sharing this piece of yourself.

Posted by: Anne | May 8, 2005 10:07:28 AM

Anne Marie - your post reminded me of the movie "Big Fish", which is just a wonderfully touching film.

Posted by: butchcjg2 | May 8, 2005 1:20:01 PM

Anne Marie, a question. Do you have a brother named Tom and are you from Mtclr?

Posted by: Anne | May 8, 2005 1:59:10 PM

I do have a brother named Tom, and another named George, and two sisters, Jeanne and Suzanne. We're from Milford, CT. I learned a love of gardening from my mother, who had a way with plants. I hope to meet you and others at the party tomorrow night. I plan to stop by. Thanks for your comments.

Posted by: Anne-Marie | May 8, 2005 10:25:03 PM

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