I was recently thinking about mother’s day gifts from my sons over the years. Those wonderfully awkward clay sculptures they brought home from grade school; the colored drawings and the poems they write. I will always cherish the nest Theo made, with the bright, blue-eyed bird who would not sit on her eggs; that must have seemed suffocating to a small child. Instead, the bird arranged them all around her, "so she could keep an eye on them," as Theo explained. And Alex's hand, sunk in a plaster cast full of sand and bits of grass. The feel of that small hand in mine, forever imprinted on my memory.

When they got a bit older, and had some pocket money, my sons brought me bits of treasure they found. One son gave me a tiny azalea in a pot, from the supermarket. When it finished blooming, I planted it at the side of the garden, to hide it a bit, as it was bright pink, and all the other azaleas were white. Naturally, it grew to be one of the largest shrubs in the garden. And one of my favorites. To this day, the clay raccoons and nests, the handprints cast in sandy plaster, grace my coffee tables.

This morning I thought about turning the tables. What would I give my boys, sons, for mother’s day? Of course I once gave them the biggest gift of all. I gave them life. And in the moment of their births, they gave me the biggest gift of all, in making me a mother. Their mother.

I want to renew that gift of life. I realize that love is what is driving my passion for the fight to protect our environment: the thought of my children--and their children--inheriting this home, Earth. Inheriting life-giving air and water. Inheriting what we have built, too--skyscrapers, ships, schools, hospitals. Inheriting all we have created--books, art, gardens. Wars. Peace. Inheriting all that is great. And not so great.

So when I am engaging in politics, I am engaging in love.

We mothers give the gift of life gladly. 

For mother’s day, my wish is to give my children the promise, at least, that I am doing my best. I am doing whatever I can to clean up the mess my generation has been part of making. I offer them the gift of showing them that change is possible. I offer them the gift of showing them that love can be a force for political good. If we love this Earth, our home, enough, we can give our children--and their children-- the chance to live in as splendid a place as the one we inherited from our parents. 


Blue said...

And long may you continue to do so! To try and clean the mess - or at least not make any more of it - and say so openly on your blog is the best of politicking. As I say, long may you continue.

The bird who would not sit on her eggs - there could be a whole series of posts in that idea! Happy Mother's Day.

Anonymous said...

Happy Mothers Day to you Dominique! I loved your blog this morning...so thought provoking, as are all your blogs. You have a gift, its wonderful that you share it with us.

Bruce Barone said...

All you need is love!

Bruce Barone said...

A short note about love: http://brucebarone.blogspot.com/2010/07/all-you-need-is-love.html

karenleslie said...

i love the bird and her rock eggs. so charming.

inspired by your cleaning post, i cleaned and organized my mud room and found two clay treasures in a box on the top shelf -- pieces by my daughter i had never seen! the lovely bowl (she couldn't believe this beautiful piece was hers and flipped it over to see her name) is the new keys holder and the three dimensional wall tile with the orange camel, green snake, pyramid, and white clouds against a blue sky is now hanging outside the guest bath above a small table.

happy mothers day dominique and thank you so much for all your provocative and inspiring posts...

Elaine said...

Happy Mother's Day to you! I am an avid reader of your Blog and I love to share it with my family and friends. The gift of fresh air and and the love of nature is the best legacy we can leave to our children. Happy Sunday to my son and daughters today too.

Judith Ross said...

I agree that we must push to save and improve our environment so that our children inherit a planet as lush and healthy as the one we were given. And though love is part of the answer, its not enough -- which is why I so appreciate your posts that urge us to pay attention to environmental issues and that help show us the way.

mary said...

Happy Mother's Day. Yes to Love, to creation, to standing up for integrity--all part of a mother's love. Be well. Mary

Warren said...

As I grew old enough to attend cocktail parties with my parents, my mom would beam ... and I would blush ... every time she introduced me as 'her baby.'

Even now... as a 62 year old son... I would feel highly embarrassed if my mom wrote this post.

Perhaps ... next time ... dedicating this theme to all children ....

Jane said...

Mothers' Day Proclamation

Mother's Day was originally started after the Civil War, to protest the carnage of that war, by women who had lost their sons. Here is the original Mother's Day Proclamation from 1870,

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From
the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says "Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
of justice."

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a
great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,
to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that
a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and
at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of
international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Julia Ward Howe

Debbie said...

To Warren,
I have to say I'm more then a little perplexed that at 62 you are still not comfortable with a mother showing unconditional love to her 2 boys.
Whats with this "embarrassed" stuff?? Sure maybe when you were young, but at your age you should be fully evolved and comfortable with the show of love from a mother to her son.
I think you may need a little help in this area, Warren, especially if you have children. Your comment reflects some immaturity, you seem stunted in this area. Its time you step into adulthood.
I have a 33 year old son who would have loved that post, of course, he is now very comfortable with shows of affection from his parents. Probably in part, because he recently became a parent. As both he and his wife are professionals, they share all the parenting equally. He shows a tremendous amount of love and affection to his little baby daughter. He has personally taken her to doctor appointments by himself when she has had raging high temperatures, one time driving her to the hospital at 3 am. I have to tell you Warren, when he does these things and I watch him being such an involved parent, I know I have done my job well, he is mature and sure of his masculinity and more importantly What more could a mother ask for?

david terry said...

Dear "Debbie",

"What more could a mother ask for?"..

Gosh...what a fine question....let's see, shall we?....

I wouldn't presume to know what this generalized "mother" you speak of would "ask for". However, I could tell you that my own mother would (had I written the letter you just publicly wrote in response to "warren's" posting) tell me I probably could do better than to inform a complete stranger that he is:

(1) apparently not "fully evolved"....(2) "needs a little help" (3) needs to "step into adulthood" (4) has "some immaturity" & (5) seems "stunted".

You really do load your guns when you go out for some shooting, Miss Debbie, don't you?

Had I written or said that to anyone, my own Tennessee born&bred mother (whom I've talked to twice since lunch) would be likely to cross her arms and ask me "Who in the hell do you think you ARE to talk to ANYONE that way, especially when you don't even KNOW the person?".

As my own mother is also fond of saying?..."Well, don't ask a question if you don't want an answer".....

By the way? If your son didn't take his "little baby daughter" to the hospital at 3 a.m when she had a "raging fever", then he would be subject to any number of justifed legal charges. I remain unsure as to why his taking her to the hospital under those circumstances (at any time of day or night) would be a matter for congratulation on his or your part. It's required by law.

Quite Sincerely,

David Terry


VL said...

Happy Mother's Day, Dominique. I love the eggs surrounding the bird -- I actually wouldn't make anything of the placement other than the understandable preference of small children to be snuggled *next to* their parents rather than *beneath* them. :)

In response to recent posts, I think you do an incredible job on this blog of balancing moments of fleeting beauty and moral fury in a way that is graceful, poised, and never harsh. I've always believed, often against evidence, that beauty, truth and goodness are inextricably linked, and you weave them together here like Penelope at her loom--without ever unraveling the work.

And in response to the comments for this particular post, I just finished posting about a Simone Weil essay and included a couple of lines from the Mother's Day Proclamation... imagine my surprise to find that Jane had posted the entire piece here! As David Terry often notes, you do attract fine minds to your posts, even if, every so often, someone inadvertently sounds a harsh note. I remind myself that edginess is more often a sign of suffering than malice; I imagine that if commenters could revise or retract what they've written, there would be fewer occasions for remorse (or wrist-slapping). My own tendency to grumpiness makes me all the more admiring of those who express their passions with large dose of graciousness.


Cristina said...

as I've no kids, I'm not a mother, but your words moved me a lot just the same.

Tara said...

A beautiful post! I do love that when we/you engage in politics, you are engaging in love. It highlights that we - even as we squabble and argue over differences - generally have an underlying concern or commitment running the show. Though I do wish more were committed to leaving behind a cleaned up planet (and why is it politicians always spout off about the debt we're leaving behind for kids but forget to mention the trash?) and that more saw the best they can do to teach children is to use their own lives as an example.

Happy Mother's Day!

Judith Ross said...

Thanks Dominique for your op-ed on the dangers of plastic containers in this morning's NY Times.

SweetRetreat said...

I'm shocked reading Debbie's comments in response to Warren. Time to get off that high horse.

Both my adult sons would not be pleased if I had written a post such as Dominique has done about her sons. I'm as proud of them as a mother can be but well remember my own discomfort when my mother seemed to forget I was an adult.

Bravo David Terry - your words are as always spot on.

Do simply love the red bird in her nest. Love her spirit.

karenleslie said...

i'm at a loss as to why any adult sons would mind dominique's loving and appreciative post.

VL - as usual, you cut to the heart of things by noting that edginess is more a sign of suffering than malice -- we speak to ourselves in the same voice as we speak to others...

Debbie said...

To Warren And Everyone Else,
I do apologize profusely for the rant, I read it this am and was floored at how harsh it sounded...and how far off subject I had gotten. The end "What more could a Mother Ask for?" was missing a few prior sentences that got deleted. I don't even drink so I can't use that as an excuse.
I just found it hard to read Warrens comment, admonishing Dominique for her Mothers Day post, which included her 2 boys. Her posts about her kids are so heart felt and full of the joy she has for her children, I really can identify with her. I do again apologize personally to Warren, as well as anyone else I offended. Lesson learned!

sewa mobil said...

Very nice, thanks for sharing.

Dominique said...

Wait! I think I see the admonishment: I refer to my sons as "the boys"--and I know, I know, they are young men. It is of course ALWAYS embarrassing to be talked about by one's parents. I didn't feel too horribly admonished by Warren--I felt that I recognized what he was saying, to wit:

My father came to visit me at NEWSWEEK magazine many years ago, where I was working. I had just been promoted to a high level management position--the first woman to be made an assistant managing editor. My dad was very proud. I introduced him to my boss, and my dad said, "So, how's my baby doing?"

Of course I nearly fell through the floor in mortification but my boss, Rick Smith, was fantastically agile and gracious, and he laughed and said, "Well she's our baby too." and everyone smiled and it was okay.

That's the thing, once a mom, always a mom. Now I get it--they are always going to be the boys, my sons. My father says this to me all the time...

But I do know they are adults...and try to treat them as such.

I will try to cross out and put in "my sons!"
Thank you all!

William said...

Warren you are quite the troublemaker!!

I think the 'slow love' gals need to give your poorly evolved bottom a good spanking!!

Warren said...

Googling Theo and Dominique brings up many 'hits' going back several years so it seems by now, whatever feelings the sons may have about being featured have been discussed.

Living with two teenage girls I am a walking embarrassment. Our dinner plates featuring their enfant hands and feet are hidden away when their friends come for dinner. So I very much over-reacted when I saw the bird and nest.

All this being said, it's great that we feel comfortable writing as we do.

My apologies, Dominique, for deflecting your discussion from its subject and getting us into the mother-son, father-daughter stuff. Whew, you never know!

SweetRetreat said...

Now I feel badly about my comment. My apologies Debbie. Sometimes a thought sounds better in our mind than written. This seems to be what happened in this case.

You won't be able to get away from referring to your sons as 'the boys' Dominique. We try but asking when the men or sons are coming over, etc. just doesn't work. I am guilty of still saying the kids!

Nothing beats a good discussion!

Anonymous said...

This is off subject completely, I was at a doctors office this AM and picked up the February issue of Good Housekeeping and there you were! I loved the blog on keeping an old sweater and mending it because it gives you great comfort. I too have such a sweater that was in need of repair but yesterday, instead of washing it, I threw into the trash bin next to the washer. When I got home today, down I went and retrieved said sweater out of the trash, washed and dried it and put it on. Thank you for the blog...I know I would have missed the sweater had I not read your blog!

VL said...

If I physically winced every time I remembered saying something that didn't have the most sensitive tone or had some unintended ill effect, however minor, I'd have wrinkles around my eyes like a 5000-year old mummy. I still wince inwardly, though, and my memory is cluttered with such regrets. Do we ever stop being young and stupid, even when we're old? Trouble is, it often takes a while -- a few hours, a few years -- before we look back and slap our metaphoric hand to metaphoric forehead. May we all grow wiser (and quicker) about the effects of our words!

david terry said...

I forgot to add that, when I first read Ms. Browning's good posting (which followed some discussion regarding the desirability/productivity of supposedly inserting "politics" into a blog such as "Slow Love"), I immediately thought of a song that I LOVED when I was very young. I have no idea why I loved it so much; my own family has historically, been more stricken-against than striking, and I'm not quite sure why or how a Judy Collins album ended up in our family's house. In any case, one did, and I loved the song; it was one of the first I learned to pick out by-ear on the piano when I was six or so.

The original poem, by James Oppenheimer, was written in 1911, in response to the women's marches during the great textile strike of that year in Lawrence, Massachusetts:

"Bread And Roses"

"As we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,

Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: Bread and Roses! Bread and Roses!

As we go marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.

Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.

As we go marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient call for bread.

Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too.

As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days,
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.

No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses, bread and roses.

Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; bread and roses, bread and roses.

Quite sincerely, and thanks to Ms. Browning for bearing these issues in mind (and also writing about them so straightforwardly)

David Terry

P.S. I assume the song "Bread and Roses" (as sung by Judy collins) is available on amazon.com, if notyour local bookstore....

Dominique said...

Please, no apologies! I love the conversation, and love the passion around it as well. Parents and children. Wow. All I can say is that your daughters, Warren, will one day have their own children's clay art all around the house.

"edginess is more a sign of suffering than malice"
I am going to be thinking about that one for a long time. I have to revisit all the edgy characters I know (and is snark the same as edge?)

c said...

where to begin?

Thanks Jane for posting the entire Proclamation (I'm quite humbled admitting this is the first time I've read it).

Now, thanks to you, Mother's Day as a "holiday" makes more sense to me. And I do indeed agree wholeheartedly. [as an aside, all along I thought Hallmark was just cashing in ;-)]

Dominique, thank you for a lovely idea: a mother's gift to her children on Mother's Day. I will remember this post for years to come.

True, we mothers give the gift of life. But our children give us the gift back in so many ways. Those clay projects, right along with all those christmas-time "crafts" are cherished tangible reminders of the little hands we held so long ago ... and the pride in their eyes when they see their creations on display ... gets even better as the years go by.

William said...

So many apologies in this comment chain!!

I feel as though I should apologize, too.

I want to apologize to Warren and Debbie and Sweet Retreat and Tara and Judith Ross and David Terry and c and Jane and Elaine and Bruce Barrone and Mary and karenleslie and sewa mobil (sewa mobil? -huh?) and Dominique for reasons they all know and mostly to Theo for thinking that little bird sculpture is quite possibly the ugliest thing I have ever seen.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Lovely post.
And excellent editorial in the Times! Bravo to you.

david terry1www.davidterryart.com said...

Dear William,

I didn't apologize for anything, and I suggest that you don't, either.

My Father's own mother once told (wrote, actually) me (and I am quoting):

"Never apologize. It makes you look weak. Stupid people will use it against you later."

Howz THAT for a blanket-statement from the gentler-sex?.....

To her credit, I suppose, the woman never did apologize for anything. If she did, I never heard of it.

advisedly yours as ever,

d. terry

Warren said...

In the caves from the 'stone age' going back 35,000 years they sometimes find small hand carvings celebrating the female. They painted animals in the caves yet celebrated the female, the mother, with portable totems. I don't think they've found any of men.

Go see the new movie Cave of Forgotten Dreams, just reviewed in the NYT.

scribbler50 said...

As always, a beautiful and poignant post, Dominique, happy belated Mother's Day.

I remember as a little boy (thanks to the ingenuity of some nun who taught second grade), making a jewelry box for Mother's Day by taking a cardboard egg carton, cutting it in half, painting it white (or the color of our choice) then sprinkling on some silver and gold speckles that stuck to the surface of the gullies making it glittery. And though it was as ugly as the damn thing sounds, my mother kept it on her dresser and put jewelry in it for quite a few years to come. To me that's what mothers are and it almost brings a tear to my eye to think of that.

karenleslie said...

william, you need a spanking for calling that bird ugly!

and david, my god, you've got some strong women in your family...

and i apologize too, for what i don't know, but everyone else is doing it so i will too.

Tara said...

No offense Mr. David Terry, but I respect people more after they apologize. I don't mean people who merely say or mumble an "I'm sorry" to get themselves off the hook or out of trouble, but when people are accountable for their actions and the impact of those actions, I have far more respect for them. Sadly, I think more people feel the way you do - when Obama apologized for I don't remember what now shortly into his presidency, people suggested it weakened him, but I personally respected him more and found it refreshing - after 8 years of Bush who never apologized for anything (not even starting a war with questionable evidence), but stubbornly maintained he was right. To me, it makes a person look cowardly and like they're not fully grounded in reality. I'm not suggesting all apologies are necessary, but when they are apt, they can perform magical acts of healing, compassion and empathy.

William said...

to dearest Tara thank you having more respect for me after my apologies and to David Terry's father's own mother I apologize for my apologies and to karenleslie I DO need a spanking - are you offering?

c said...

love this blog!


Warren said...

William, I defer; you DO need that spanking more than I... Remember, who said it? "Never explain, never complain."

Debbie, no harm done. I get more flak, more deeply piled on from my daughters.

david terry said...

Dear "Scribbler50"....

Your jewelry box doesn't sound so bad, actually. It certainly beats the one I made in 2nd grade.

One of my chores was emptying the waste-baskets in the house. One day, while doing so with the waste-basket from my parents' bathroom, I delightedly found the most beautiful, little plastic box you could imagine....pink, with a lovely pattern of flowers etched out in some sort of tiny, plastic rhinestones. I was doubly thrilled to discover that there was a small calendar on the inside of the lid (not that I'd ever used a calendar, but I knew that adults were enthralled by them).

I thought my mother was remarkably stupid and wasteful to have thrown away such a lovely object. I took it to my room and spent the afternoon decorating it even further with glue, glitter, and buttons (don't ask me why I thought a box needed some buttons). Then I giddily scrawled (in glitter) "FOR MISS PEOPLES!" on the lid. I thought it would make a nice "jewelry box".

I loved my home-room teacher, Miss Peoples. I presented my devotee's gift to her the following day at a class party....in front of all the other kids AND several volunteer "room mothers".

Ours is a very small, Southern town. By the time I got home from skool, my mother had already had multiple telephone calls from Miss Peoples and several of the mothers.

As at least several of this blog's female readers will have already guessed?.....I'd given my mother's birth control box (and this was in 1968, when folks didn't even mention such things, much less toss them around in 3rd grade classrooms) to Miss Peoples.

Mortification ensued.

Advisedly as ever,

david Terry

Carolyn said...

I love the bird and the rock eggs. So charming blog.

Homeowner Insurance

scribbler50 said...

To David Terry: A valiant try with your jewelry box (and a very funny story) and proof that all that glitters isn't "gold"!

VL said...

In response to Dominique: I'd say snark isn't the same as edge; but I think that snarkiness, irritability, snapping, temper tantrums, and any form of coming down on someone like a ton of bricks are all signs that something's hit a nerve--and judging from the popularity of root canals without anesthetic, I'd say that's equivalent to at least an iota of misery.

I had a, um, difficult Moroccan mother. (There's something about Moroccan women, apparently.) It took me years to realize that her rages, self-centeredness, frightening unpredictability, and complete lack of boundaries were not conscious/intentional but unconscious eruptions of her own damaged psyche, and more particularly manifestations of her own bottomless anxiety. She's mellowed a bit, and I've learned a lot (especially after getting involved with male versions of her -- twice!). There is certainly good reason to avoid walking into relationships with such people--they're draining, at best, and damaging, at worst--but if one must interact, it is useful to remember that a lot of emotional wounding was probably involved in creating such a character, and that the person in question is one very unhappy individual who can't fathom the effect they have on others.

The beauty of wrist-slaps and apologies is that they prove that two people _are_ aware, of themselves and others, and care about their relationships. These individuals, even when they slip, are still several levels of maturity above the ones who never round off their pointed edges. And I think occasional slippage is about the best we humans can hope for.

In response to Tara: I agree that a mature apology is refreshing; it's also the right thing to do sometimes (if it is backed by genuine remorse and change). Reading back over his comment, I'm not sure our inimitable Mr. Terry was advocating _never_ apologizing, nor that apologies always make one look weak (he was, after all, merely quoting, however approvingly, someone else). Then again, maybe he was. I do think we’ve adopted the mutual apology mode because it seems more humble than to say “I forgive you” (a phrase that has never rolled easily off my tongue). But more importantly, the tenor of the bulk of the comments, with the cheerful apologies flying left and right, has solidified the sense of community here and made it possible for people to feel that they can make mistakes and still be appreciated. _That_, I think, is as rare as a good apology, and ultimately what a good apology aims for: restoration, re-connection.

Now it is I who should apologize for taking so much space in these comments...

Ronnie said...

I’m behind on my blog reading and look at all the fun I've been missing. Happy belated Mother’s Day and...Just wanted to chime in to say I’d rather be edgy than snarky. Wouldn’t you?

Majarel said...

After reading the whole blog and all the comments I have only one thing to say....Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus!

Tara said...

Ah VL! Lovely! I agree - it is refreshing when you can make mistakes, (apologize) and still be appreciated and accepted as a person. Most are well-intentioned and generally mean well (I like to think) and rubbing someone the wrong way is inevitable (I manage to offend my in-laws just by opening my mouth) - I agree that apologies are a way of showing commitment to the relationship (it's not like my in-laws are going anywhere...).

And I appreciate this thread if only for reminding me that as adults we are battling the same issues I see my toddler learning on the playground and for the thoughts it's provoked (I was just working on a blog post about the apology! HA!).

And of course, I love a good discussion.

david terry said...

Dear VL....

1. I wrote that I "didn't" (as in "hadn't") apologized, not that I don't or won't. I apologize to folks all the time. I'll admit also to reguarly doing so in advance, which usually allows me to get away, fairly unscathed, with doing what I'd already intended to do.

2. In quoting my grandmother about "apologizing", I was merely passing on advice that seemed to work for her. I've never followed it, as a general rule, myself.

In my defense (I suppose), I should emphasize that I disliked her quite thoroughly from about the time my brother and I turned five. The dislike was thoroughly mutual between us, by the way....and overt to the point of amusing everyone else in the immediate family. She and I were remarkably similar in just about every aspect you could name.

A guest once said to her "Pardon me for interrupting, but..."

And 12 year old me interrupted with "That's FINE...it's the only way you're ever going to get a word in edgewise around her."

and,yes, I had to APOLOGIZE afterwards.....

Experiencedly as ever,

david terry

VL said...

Dear David,
You have me laughing softly, again -- one of your many gifts. Just to be clear: I was trying to avoid speaking for you, but I did, in my comment, try to clarify what I thought you meant (which turns out to be pretty much what you say in points #1 and #2 above). That anecdote about your grandmother is priceless. From the mouths of babes, as they say.

Tara, thank you for the call out. I'm working on a post about apologies, too!

You know, Dominique, I think you are responsible for promoting the careers of many writers through H&G and also through your blog! There are just so many irresistible occasions to further the conversation!

with affection, respect, and appreciation for all,

Anonymous said...

David, this blog has brought out so much about you....I just loved it...the story when you dazzled up the birth control pill container for your teacher...just too funny and shows that even at that age you were very creative! The story about your grandmother is really hilarious, and ever so true. I too had a grandmother I was just like, my folks used to say you two are like oil and water...truth beknown we were just like each other...which comes out more and more as the years march by. I'm glad I'm getting to know you...

david terry said...

Just to to thoroughly hijack Poor Ms. Browning's blog?....

One of the similarities between my grandmother and me is that we both had the same name: "David Terry". No kidding.

She was named after her father, and I was named after her.

Her sisters (my great aunts) were named James, Ezra, and Beuren....after their uncles. all had "Mae" or "Ella" as a middle-name, as some sort of gesture towards feminity.

Unfortunately, their surname was "Fudge" (and their mother's maiden name was "Fly"). I don't recall anyone's EVER making the slightest remark about these names.

"David Ella Fudge" was called "Dave"...slurred southern-style into the "Ella", so that she was referred to as "Davella Fudge".
I'd have a sour temper, too, if I had to spend 75 years saddled with that name.

Her sisters were called "Jimmy" and "E". Beuren, who never married but lived for sixty-some years in my great-grandparents house with her predictably mousy little "companion", was just fine with being called "Beuren". She took up carpentry for a hobby once her mother died. There's a 1950's photograph of stalwart Beuren, with chopped-off gray hair and wearing mens overalls, waving a hammer and standing triumphantly on the roof of a gazebo she'd built. The "companion", wearing a nice dress and a pretty hat, is sitting with crossed legs on the bench, gazing up at Beuren with obvious admiration.

Dykiest thing you ever saw....and all of it happening right in the middle of the Hysterical District of Waxahatchie, Texas. I don't recall anyone's ever making the slightest comment about this situation, either.

I did mention it once to my mother, when I was in college, and she merely said "Oh, Beuren was a homosexual lesbian. What's your question?"

---David "Que Sera, Sera" Terry

Anonymous said...

Wow, another great story.., imagine giving your girls mens name....even if it was family member's names. I wonder who had the final say in that? Of course, the middle name did feminize(?) it up a bit.
I can see where all your spunk comes. You did not become this incredibly interesting person by chance. I could listen to these types of stories all day! You should write a book about your family, you are a naturally born story teller, just like Dominique!

david terry said...

Dear "Anonymous"

this business of giving girls "male" names isn't at all unusual (as I said, no one ever remarked on the matterin the least when I was growing up) among a readily identifiable class of Southerners.

A certain class of English folks do the same thing, which is how Evelyn Waugh ended up with a wife who was also named "Evelyn".

I went to the University of the South (basically, 150 years of Southern preoccupations, preserved in a thick layer of Anglican aspic), where I knew any number of girls (all clad in Talbot's bows and Lily Pulitzer skirts) with "male" names. Generally, those were immediately recognizable "family names" (i.e., surnames) from their mother's family.

for example?....Marshall Chapman (from the prominent South Carolina family who own the bigass string of Inman Mills) was my "little brother" in my fraternity. His cousin (who's quite thoroughly & certifiably female) is also "Marshall Chapman" (google her; she's quite worth the trouble). She's a quite well-known, wry singer songwriter whose writings are published frequently (like Ms. Browning, she's regularly commissioned by "garden & gun" magazine).

Those are just two of the "Marshall Chapman"s in that family.

In any case, a certain class of Southerners don't really worry about whether a name "fits" if it happens to be a "family name", anymore than they'd worry about whether the family silver "matches" whatever decor some recent daughter-in-law has chosen.

Bascially?....if you've gotten yourself into the family, by either marriage or birth, then you get what comes along with it...like it or not.

I'm lucky....I got "David Charles Corwyth Terry". My mother put up a fight against my being named "David Fudge Terry". I kid you not.

Quite correctly, my mother stressed that my middle name shouldn't be my grandmother's maiden surname. Presumably, that would have made me look too-available.

I know....you're wondering how we have the time to bother ourselves over these issues....but we do. Or at least did.


David Terry

Anonymous said...

I love hearing about the southern culture, so genteel, I suppose I am particularly drawn to it because I grew up as did all my relatives for generations in the north....I'm talking "Yankee" north. Nothing quite like it I'll tell you!
My great grandmother started a bank in Laconia, New Hampshire. She also had a large horse farm. She owned thousands of acres in the White Mountains. Nobody could stretch a dollar like her ( so the story goes). She was a real pistol, scaring off all my grandmothers suitors. She had great aspirations for my grandmother, however all that came to an end when she fell in love with a sailor. He wooed her away, they married, much to great grandmas chagrin. Unfortunately he had a problem, he loved to gamble, the race track soon became his home. Meanwhile great grandma was determined to get rid of him, the two tried to out maneuver each other for years, in the end great grandma died leaving everything to my grandmother, who by now had caught the gambling bug. She took to the road with Grandpa gambling away almost all her inheritance, leaving her bewildered son wondering what he could do.
The few memories I have of them are being taken to the race track! Nobody could spend money the way he could, in the end, after they passed, my father ended up with nothing. Everything had been gambled away. My father simply could not control his parents. He was particularly distraught because he always wanted to build a home on the acreage that was lost.
The upshot of this whole saga....twenty years later my father won the lottery! The funny thing was that he never ever gambled. He was in the local package store and they had just got the first lottery machine in, and the owner talked him into buying a ticket. He used our birthdays and lo and behold they came up! It was just so odd because he hated the thought of gambling and was actually embarrassed about it! Needless to say in true Yankee spirit, the money was socked away and never touched until he died. My mother always said it was "his due", it was what he should have had...he never did enjoy it though.

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