My Life Will Be Different From My Mother’s...

May 6, 2011 by

During the 20th century, it was a common goal of determined females: That our lives would be different from that of our mother’s. I was hell-bent to take the road less traveled for females from ethnic blue-collar families when I packed my trunk and took the train from Jersey City, New Jersey to Seton Hill College, Greensburg, Pennsylvania.  It was 1963, before the women’s movement, so none of us at that all women’s Catholic college articulated what we were after.  But, you bet we were after not being our mother’s daughters. In the new book Art And Madness, Anne Riophe records the same fierce conviction.  In 1962, she recounts, “I lived near her [mother], the economics ruled. But I would have a different life from hers, I told myself.” That different life turned out not...

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Notes from a Deliberate Non-Mom...

May 6, 2011 by

I’ve never been a mom. Even though I had the kind of mother every kid hopes for – one who was always there when I came home from school, who baked the best cookies in the neighborhood, who patiently listened to my teenage tales of angst and romance, and who taught me things I’d never learn in school like how to make my own clothes and tend a garden – I just never saw myself in that nurturing kind of role. This was apparent from an early age when I’d be “playing dolls” with my friends. While they were busy with their “babies”, feeding them, changing their diapers, dressing and undressing them in various outfits and taking them for walks in their carriages, mine would always be sleeping until my imaginary husband came home...

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Mother’s Day Strawberry Shortcake...

May 6, 2011 by

Strawberry shortcake is a Mother’s Day tradition at our house, not because my mother particularly cares about it, but because I do, and this will be my 35th Mother’s Day as an actual mother! The reasons behind the tradition are twofold:  1) I love strawberry shortcake, and 2) I’m the cook! Somehow I’m always the cook.  A favorite family story relates the year my oldest daughter bought her first home. Long about early November I got a phone call. “Mom, now that I have my own home, I would really like to have Thanksgiving Dinner here.  We can still have Christmas at your house, but I want Thanksgiving in my own home.” (How touching!) Pause… “So how early do you have to get here to start cooking?” Tani’s Strawberry Shortcake Strawberries A pound or...

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Giving My Mother Her Due

May 6, 2011 by

For years, when people asked if I were close to my mom, I’d demure. It’s not that I have a vitriolic relationship with my mom, we’ve never had a huge fight, rarely had harsh words. Never called each other names. She’s not mean. If I ask for help, even at age 85, she bats 800. If the request is to pick up an item at Target or Mall of America, she’s on it in a flash. If it’s to have my dog stay with her when I go out of town with the promise that I will hire a dog walker to take care of all the walks, not so much. She’s always seems happy to see or hear from me and has never told me how to lead my life. As a child,...

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Post Great Recession: Our Mothers, Ourselves...

Mar 1, 2011 by

There was nothing my mother loved more than scanning the economic horizons and finding possible signs that The Great Depression was going to again happen. Family members, neighbors, and even the parish priest had down cold every one of my mother’s floor ladies in the factory and how the owner played had cute with her. That went on and on until she died in the mid 1980s, with a pile of money socked away for us three daughters. Of course, the three of us ran out and bought houses and cars we couldn’t afford.  Rebellion against all the tales we had heard about how degrading working was in a factory during The Great Depression had been was bound to happen.  Giving money importance, we were convinced, would make us our mother, ourselves.  It wasn’t...

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