The other day, while organizing boxes of junk in our storage room, I rediscovered a true treasure: an autograph book I got in fourth grade, in all its mid-1970s groovy hippie glory. I remember carrying it around, begging people to sign it. It’s filled with notes from my cousins (“To a cute little gal who really is a neat cous!”), teachers (“Best wishes in the future”), and friends—many decorated with peace signs, natch. My favorite entry is a three-page almost poetic ramble from my friend Holly (my second-best friend, she clarifies in her note), who ended with this assessment of me (reproduced exactly as she wrote it):
she sits by me.
she reads books.
she gets 100s in spelling.
jullie gets as in math.
and works good.
jullie looks like her mother very much.
|Groovy times call for groovy Christmas gifts for Mom.|
And yes, I do look like her, though maybe not quite as much now as I did when I was nine.
My mom volunteered—a lot—at my schools from elementary through high school. My friends probably knew her almost as well as they knew their own moms. She typed the elementary school newsletter, attended endless PTA meetings, and had some sort of monopoly on the room mother gig for holiday parties and field trips.
Four generations: My son, my mom, me,
and my grandmother.
We had a sign in our front window to let kids know that our house was a safe place to get help if they felt threatened or freaked out (part of an official block parent program, I think—do those even exist any more in the age of stranger danger?). Only one classmate ever came knocking in fear, and even though she was kind of a bully and I was convinced she hated me, my mom gave her a safe space in our home.
As a mom, and an all-around decent person, she set the bar high.
In lieu of the card I didn’t get around to sending: Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Thanks for setting a stellar example and for fostering the love of reading that’s made me the reader and writer I am today.
On this Mother’s Day, what are some of your favorite memories?