Monday, August 24, 2009

circa 1970

I never saw many pictures of my mom in her twenties. She always implied that it was because she spent them being enormously fat and hence camera-shy. This picture I just stole from my cousin’s Facebook page (thanks, Maria!) would imply she (on the left) was in fact quite cute.

I should have known she exaggerated. It’s like how for years my sister and I thought dry cleaning cost twenty or thirty bucks a pop because whenever our mom came across a “dry clean only” label while shopping, she dropped that item like it had bitten her. Even if it was a $2 skirt at Goodwill. Imagine our surprise when we discovered, well into adulthood, that dry cleaning usually runs in the low single digits.

But what are moms for if not to skew your worldview? Above all, my mom was a fan of letting us form our own via literary exploration. I just listened to a story on This American Life about the Harlem Children’s Zone, which encourages parents in low-income areas to read to their kids. Apparently that gives them a leg up in life more than any other factor. Studies on such topics were probably slim in the late seventies (though if they were out there, there’s a good chance my mom read them), but she loved reading, believed reading saved her life, and there was no way she wasn’t going to share that with her kids.

Clearly, she created a monster. I’m so appreciative. And kind of envious of my aunt Vanessa’s Amy-Winehouse-but-healthy ‘do.

7 comments:

Claire said...

Ah yes, parental histories. What I find most confusing now is that my parents retell events or once-perceived family facts differently now.

And they don't remember having ever told me differently.

Crazy making.

Also your mom looks so young for 1970. Have to remind myself that other people had their kids younger...

Tracy Lynn said...

My mom used to give us books on every holiday. Easter, Halloween, Arbor Day, I am so not kidding. She bought us books when our school had book fairs, and the amazing thing was that often the money was so tight that she would skip eating, and yet there was always money for books.

Bev Kaply is amazing.

Cheryl said...

C: My mom was 34 when I was born--so I'm one of the few people of my generation who hasn't yet had the "Oh my god, my mom already had children when she was my age" moment. (Lord, is it coming soon, though.) I think she's a young-looking ~28 here. I'm hoping to inherit that good-skin gene, but I don't think it's kicked in yet.

TL: Cheers to Bev Kaply! Studies show she made the right call. And who doesn't love a good Arbor Day book?

Claire said...

oh, well in that case, our moms had us at the same age... I'm on the other side of that hump though. The view's fine...

Jamie said...

Your mom looks very beautiful--and happy--in this photo.

Cheryl said...

C: Phew.

J: Thanks. I think she had a little healthy angst going on, but she adored my cousins, so that probably upped the happy factor.

Cheryl said...

The little boy on the left is my cousin Maria. Apparently this photo was taken shortly after a self-hair-cutting incident.