Heeding the Writing on the Wall

June 28, 2010 at 5:45 pm Leave a comment

One would think that life with a mother who claimed to hate cooking and housecleaning might be, well, a bit austere.  Not really.  And the truth is, Mom despised neither of those things, finding herself quite at home in her various roles as housewife, mother and grandmother.

Still, my childhood memories don’t revolve around making cookies or shopping for pretty dresses.  Instead, my mental scrapbook holds pictures of a woman who worked diligently to support herself and me.

Here’s the story.  When the IHTCB hit big and Mom became famous there was trouble on the front burner at home.  She was married to my father—a writer himself, and a man she once idolized.  Now, though, he was torn with anger and jealousy over her newfound success, submerging himself ever deeper into the abyss of alcohol. 

I can only imagine the pressure she felt at a time when divorce was a huge social demerit, seeing her marriage crumbling, feeling the dual pressures of international acclaim and the demands of making a home, all while dealing with a dysfunctional and disengaged husband. 

The future was literally in her hands.  So she took to the typewriter with a vengeance, typically rising at four and working till noon every day.  Fortunately, it paid off.  By 1965 (five years after the IHTCB) she had published the bestselling I Hate to Housekeep Book and I Try to Behave Myself.  Others would follow.  Things would be okay.

So it was self-reliance and the rewards of hard work, not homemade jam and comforters, that were Mom’s gift to me. 

Many years later, when I was all grown up, out of the house and into some rocky times myself she would say, “Well, Honey, you just pick yourself up by the bootstraps and carry on.”  It seemed terribly blasé.  It would infuriate me.  Then inspire me.  And it still does.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Huzzahs for the Hags “Mom, it’s B-B-Bobby Sherman!”

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