To Moms


To Moms, the ultimate kid wranglers

This month, in honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to share some of my favorite mom anecdotes from our life story projects over the years. Here’s to Mom: the keeper of many stories, the subject of many more, and without her, we would be lost.

*

Once I went to the principal’s office and had to see Sister Mary Benedictine.

Sister says, ‘Call your mother and tell her you were causing trouble.’

In Spanish I told my mom that the nun says I’m a very good student. I don’t cause any problems, and she should be proud of me.

Sister was nodding her head as I said this.

My mom said, ‘When your padre comes home, I’m going to tell him and cook your favorite meal. I’m so proud of you.’

*

My mom, she told me stories. When I was two, the German soldiers came to the house and asked my father, ‘Do you help the partisans?’ He was holding me in his arms and denied it. He was a father holding a little girl, so they didn’t kill him.

*

Academics were not my strong suit in grammar school. I found a note that my mother wrote when I was young. In it she said, ‘Grover finished eighth grade and is going to Fenwick. Richard is going into second grade. I just hope he makes it.’

*

My mother was very caring about others. When I was a sophomore at Notre Dame, I was home for the weekend and my sister’s friend invited me to a high school dance. I had no interest in dating her. My mother laid a lot of Catholic guilt on me.

I remember stomping up to my room and my mom saying, ‘OK Bobby, you know what I want you to do, but do whatever you want.’

About ten minutes later, I came down and said, ‘OK, I’ll go, but I’m not going to have a good time.’

*

My mother made me wear a three-piece suit on the first day of high school. I felt like such a goof.


To Moms, kissers of magic

My mom was Mother Teresa’s better-looking, younger, and even more holy sister.

*

Studying was not a high priority for my family. I’d be reading a book and my mother would say, ‘What are you doing? Go help your father.’

*

Mom did everything for us, and I love her for it. Even when it was way too much.

*

One time, my sister and I were being a nuisance and my mom told us to go sit on a tack. So we went out to the garage and found a tack on my dad’s workbench. We each took turns trying to hold the tack and sit down. It’s pretty hard to do.

*

My mother was a watcher. She watched us like hawks and always knew what was going on. She also always knew when something was wrong. I’d get mad at her about something and her favorite phrase was ‘You gotta burr under your saddle? Let’s talk about it.’

*

My mother was a bit of a worry wart. She was always concerned about the weather. Growing up, she bought my sister and I peewee football helmets and made us wear them during tornado warnings. She watched the Weather Channel like it was a TV drama. She was our own personal weather alert system.

*

My mother loved going to Marshall Fields on State Street. She loved the size of it and just looking at all the beautiful things. Unfortunately for her, she would have to take us four girls with her. She had us all on harnesses.

*

My mom was this tiny lady with beautiful hands and nails, but she had crooked fingers. When she was angry, she was a finger pointer and she’d stick one of her crooked fingers right in your face.

*

Ma was a yeller, but she had to yell to get any of us to listen to her.


To Moms, lifelong confidants

My mom was a good cook but she wasn’t always that way. My uncle used to tease my dad saying, ‘What are you marrying her for? She can’t cook. She doesn’t even know how to boil water!’

My father said, ‘I’m not worried about that. I’ve seen her eat, and anybody who eats like she does will learn to cook.’

*

By the time I was in second grade, I was so sick of my mom badgering me about school that I made up a story about how our teacher brought in a talking parrot. My mom asked about the parrot at my next conference and the teacher looked at her like she was out of her mind.

*

My mom and her sister liked to spy on people. If they found out I liked a boy, they would get us in the car and drive by his house just to take a look. They were like two detectives.

*

My mom didn’t want a dog, but got me one because I wanted one like children have never wanted an animal.

*

Mom would wait up for us if we went out at night. We’d try and sneak in and she’d be on her hands and knees, washing the floors.

*

For dinner, my mom would cook a whole fish with the head on. Those were the days that you didn’t tell your parents that you weren’t eating.

*

I liked salami but hated the look of it. My mom cut out all the little white chunks. I’d say that is above and beyond what any other mom would do.

*

I learned a lot about my mom during her retirement party. One story that came out was about an employee who brought her small child to work and hid her under the desk. My mom discovered that they were sleeping in their car in the work parking lot. She helped them find a place to rent to help them get on their feet.

*

You know the line from Hamilton where he says he wants to be in the room where it happens? That was my mother! But it wasn’t her time yet. Women weren’t allowed to be in the room. She was ahead of her time in many ways. I have to give her credit for that.



Nora Kerr is the owner of Memoir for Me, creator of keepsake memory books based on personal interviews to preserve the stories worth saving.

© 2020 Memoir for Me

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Instagram Icon
  • White Twitter Icon