When I completed my most recent Christmas “Manchester Memories” (interviewing senior citizens about their memories) column for our local paper, I found myself wishing my mother was around to interview. She would have been a font of memories for the subjects I have covered thus far; back-to-school, canning and gardening, Halloween, and Christmas. She would have loved both the reminiscing and the media exposure.
It has been more than a year, and my heart still aches with thoughts of her. I miss her.
None of the people I interviewed had a photo to submit, but one had a Christmas card he hoped would be included in the article, sent in 1944 from the ship Grayson. I flipped through many photo albums looking for a picture of my mother at Christmas. 1950s photos weren’t appropriate for the 1930s theme, but I did find a photo of my mother as a little girl, standing next to a doll on a rocking chair. I had no way of knowing the truth of the statement I submitted along with the picture to my editor, but I cannot tell you the thrill I got seeing my mother’s cute little girl facing staring back at me when I opened the newspaper yesterday. Normally I would skim my article to see how it reads in print, but this time I didn’t even care about what I’d written; my joy was in seeing that photo.
Consider this: I’ve had several essays included in Chicken Soup books in the last few months, but it is the short memoir that will be included in the February-released So Long: Short Narratives of Loss and Remembrance from Telling Our Stories Press that I am even more excited about. Why? The short memoir includes essays about my mother’s cancer diagnosis, her subsequent death, and the months of grief that followed. When sample galleys were sent to me to review, I immediately scrolled through the pages until I spotted the photo of my mother that was indeed, going to be included. I smile every time I think of it. My mother would be pleased.
Much of my writing has become a way of honoring a creative mother who encouraged me to use my talents. It is only fitting, then, that I occasionally include her in my essays and articles.
Even when I sneak a photo of her into an article on Christmas memories. The dolly and rocking chair may very well have been homemade and a Christmas gift. Or not. But that cute little face? It definitely adds something to the column.