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As some of you may be aware, my mother was forced to retire last year. (A stroke has a sneaky way of making decisions for you).
Of course, this has not been easy.
Maybe more so for my mother: She never slowed down. Not for one minute in her entire life. She worked (as a much sought-after Interior Designer) through her retirement… she’s stubborn.. and talented, a true dyed-in-the-wool super sonic ‘tastemaker’ of design, fashion, style, entertaining, and elegance.
She also has a wicked sense of humor.
“Cheryl Ann, I hear you have a blog.”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“That’s nice. What is a blog?”
“It’s a platform for spewing my shizz to a bunch of people I don’t know. It’s writing and publishing on the Internet.”
“What is shizzzz… or did you say ‘shit’?”
“Do people actually read your writing?”
” A few Thousands.” (We’re on the phone- thank God. If we had been eye-to-eye…).
“Your sister has read me a few of your letters. You’re just my little writer aren’t you?”
“Well, I guess. Sure. Yes. I am. Absolutely.”
“I find that occasionally you’re even witty. Occaaaasionally.”
“I think I’d like to write, as well. Do you think I should?”
“Could you start a blog for me?”
“I could, but you’d have to write regularly to build an audience, and answer comments, then there’s the social media promo… “
“I think people would like to hear what I have to say. After all, I have stories about being a woman who has survived three strokes at 82, and that’s something.”
“Yes. It is something.”
“Do you think people would like that?”
“I think they would Mom. You should write your story… (before I do).”
“Then it’s settled! I’m going to write down a few things today and mail them to you. You call me as soon as you receive them and we’ll go over it together. Does that sound like a good idea?”
“The best. Idea. Ever.”
As so, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to what I hope will be the first of many installments of… (let’s knock a few titles around, shall we?)
Life With Leah (My suggestion)
The Crazy on Main St. (Her suggestion, not mine. I would never dare refer to my mother as ‘crazy’… to her face.)
Queenie (Again- her suggestion, but I believe I have that one already taken).
Being A Consenting Victim In A Small Town (She wrote that down, so I’m including it because she wrote it down damnit I think it kinda sums up her current state of affairs).
So, without further ado, my mother’s observations (with a wee bit of editing, because, really, how many ways can you spell poop?):
Here is my version of being ‘Free’. No vanity – who needs it.
1. Hair – Pay $6 to the neighborhood bad kid to cut your locks with a weed wacker. Put on safety glasses and ‘have at it’-or- forget the safety glasses and put on a stylish pair and hope for a better cut. Do this on a breezy day.
2. Eyebrows – As they grow they become curly and fall into your eyeballs- or- they fall out. You can draw them on with magic marker or have some Tattoo’d but, either way, without a large arch unless you have a quick cute wink.
3. Get used to the term ‘Old Hag’.
4. Learn to spit and drink beer.
5. Lips – When your lips feel dry go knock back a shot of whiskey.
6. Chin and neck folds – Forget it. They’re already floating around your ankles, which inspires me to design special cowl head covers and spats for shoes and long pants that just rip away. They should be made out of a zebra print or a marine blanket. (She included drawings).
7. Boobs – No bras! Use old Aunt Irene’s ace bandages wrapped around you but add colorful rick-rack to trim the bottom first.
8. Feet – you need them. Leave them alone, but buy expensive shoes.
The rest is just about being old, and who cares, but I can still kick and spit and wink at the mailman and here he comes so I have to find my hat and leopard slippers, but I’m finished with this writing and need a nap just thinking about it but I’ll write more tomorrow if you’ll call me.
ps: Do not forget to call me.