Mama had a fierce short fuse, 7 kids,

anxiety, loneliness, & fear.

Leaving home at 21, I resolved not-being-Mama would be my default:

My first response wasn’t going to be modeled after Mama’s,

& I’ve stuck w/ this default for 50 years.

So, how’s this worked for me as a wife,mom, & teacher?

It grounded me so I could be strong

& deal in the midst of chaos & crisis, if not perfectly, at least calmly.

Poor Mama.


PS  In the picture, Mama is pinching Bobby’s cheeks over some infraction while Barbara is pushing me to turn around and mind my own business. Ruthie is in front and I suspect little Linda is safe in her right hand. We were all safe when Ruthie had us in hand.

8 thoughts on “My Default Setting. Another 420 character 9-line memoir bit.

    1. Who DID take the picture? The thought chills my heart. Thank you for jarring me into action. You’ve reminded me of a basic that I’d forgotten. Charlotte Currier, my memoir/personal essay prof at Wesleyan said look at a picture and ask yourself who took it? What happened right before? Ask the other people in the picture about the scene. Etc.


      1. I have to think on this! How much influence on my life was precipitated by my mother? A lot! But what was positive and what was negative? And….at 77 does it matter?


  1. I too have tried all my life to not be like my Mama. Maybe it was the era they grew up in. I am now fifty, but if I need to look at how I believe things should be in life, I look to my grandmother for inspiration. My mothers life was far too materialistic for me and wasteful. She had a short fuse too – but really no excuse to use it – her life has been secure and comfortable. Sad that we really don’t see eye to eye.


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