“Sharper than a serpent’s tooth is the tongue of an ungrateful child….” A Jane Austen quote — one of my Mom’s favorites. I heard it quite often….Okay, I’ll elaborate later, but for today I have made a promise to Mom — who happens to be celebrating her 85th today. This confession is less to her, since she reminds me of it with a frequency so high I can find it on my old black and white analogue television dial, but more to you, whoever you may be. So this might be a bit more coercion than confession. Whatever this is, I promised Ma I’d do it — so — here it goes.
Mom’s a rather accomplished author; written more than twenty novels. Before that, a top writer of short stories, and even one of the biggest confession writers way back when. Muggs (one of her many nicknames — came from the Bowery Boys) was juggling Sixteen publications at one time plus a live radio show out of New York. However, this ungrateful child (that would be me) was less than appreciative of her worthy talents. (Here’s the confession) I was much more impressed by Matt Butcher’s Mom, who made shell boxes. Yeah. Shell boxes. I was eight and thought THOSE were cool. Anybody could write a story….Besides, when Mom started writing, she disappeared. Physically, she was there, but spiritually, she was on another planet. I remember once, after school, coming in front of her and her Smith Corona and just watching her for an hour — typing away like someone truly in another dimension. From only one foot away I called out so loudly I could have woken my neighbor. She looked up as if hearing someone she recognized from a distance and was shocked to see me standing in front of her. Mom would research a book for up to a year, but once she started writing, she could write up to thirty pages a day! Anyway, I digress.
Mom — I am most humbled, and do apologize for suggesting shell boxes might be both more lucrative and cool. Mission accomplished. I’ll say two Hail Moishes and call you in the morning. Happy Birthday. Love, E. ”
I had come to appreciate Mom’s talents by the time this Atlanta Journal Constitution Review was printed. In fact, I was even handling her marketing.