My Mother is NOT like other Mothers.

My mom running the agility course with her Doberman


Have you met my Mom?

Today is Chocolate Raisin Day. On El Morno, I posted about how my mother explained to me, during my impressionable years, that raisins were evil and I should never eat them. Ever. Apart from that brief moment when I stepped over to the dark side and ate an oatmeal raisin cookie, the memory of which still fills me with regret, I have stayed away from raisins.

When I was little, she told me that I wasn’t always an only child; that, in fact, I had a sister named Baty Beth.  Naturally curious, I asked where Baty Beth was, to which my mother casually replied, “Oh, we had to drown her in the bath tub.” “Why?” I asked, more fascinated than scared. “Well,” my mom went on to explain, “She whined a lot. You know how I hate whining.”  I wasn’t much of a whiner as a kid.

Most mothers warn their children to keep their fingers out of places where they do not belong. My mom had a different approach. One fine afternoon we went to the zoo. As we stood feeding bread crumbs to the geese and ducks, I naturally began to wonder if the geese would bite. My mother said that she did not know. (The correct answer would be, of course, that geese bite.) Being a stupid little kid, I stuck my hand into the pen. Geese. Bite. Hard. My mother simply said, “Well now you know, geese bite.”  My finger had beak marks and the skin was broken. I’m sure I should have been checked for geese poisoning. Thinking back, my mother did not kiss my finger to make it, “all better,” but she did say, “Bad goose!”

When I was naughty, my mother would threaten me with a wooden spoon. THE wooden spoon.  I would plead, “No, no, not the wooden spoon!” and instantly my behavior would improve. Do you know that she never even owned a wooden spoon? I was thirty before I realized this. If you think I was gullible, you are underestimating my mother’s skills.

Every single Halloween, mom convinced me to dress up as Princess Virginia Slim. I simply wanted to be a princess, but she was worried that I would not be warm enough when I went out to trick-or-treat.  Princess Virginia Slim wore long, soft white underwear, a red stocking cap, and a Virginia Slims cigarette label. I must admit, the costume suited me well. I wasn’t really the princess type. The comfortable, soft clothes are probably how my mother sold the costume to me, year after year, along with several packs of candy cigarettes.

In spite of the fact that she had drowned my sister, encouraged a goose bite, threatened me with a non-existent wooden spoon, and dressed me up as Princess Virginia Slim, I suffered when we were not together. One day, when I was having a hard time leaving for school, she handed me her sunglasses case and told me that it was a special tele-communicator and that whenever I spoke into it, she could hear me.  I believed her, and would walk around the school playground, happily visiting with her. Back in those days, we were not as generous with mental illness diagnosis, and my peers and teachers simply thought I was odd. I believe that my mother may have invented the first flip phone.

Mom also had me convinced that breakfast was overrated, (that is, until my dad stepped in and suggested that perhaps I really was hungry in the mornings) that the truth was overrated, and not to worry too much about men; they’re just not that bright, bless their hearts. If you are a man, don’t take this personally. She does not mean you!

Cole was a little bit smarter than I was, but my mom still managed to convince him that she could take off her skin and dance around in her bones, and that the democrats would steal all his money. Oh, and then there is the Big Snow story. My mom and Cole had a running argument about Big Snow in Albuquerque. Cole was convinced that only Chicago could have Big Snow.  So one year, when it snowed in Albuquerque, my mom told him an exaggerated story about how much snow had really fallen. She could tell that Cole was only half believing her. Now as it happened, we also had a lot of snow in Chicago. At my mother’s insistence, I took pictures of the Chicago Big Snow and mailed them to her so that she could mail them back to Cole and prove that Albuquerque had Big Snow. It worked.

Why, you might wonder, did I take the Chicago Big Snow pictures and mail them to her? Well, I am my mother’s daughter, after all, and let there be no doubt that my kid has been instructed that raisins are evil.

I bet you want to meet my mother now, don’t you? Maybe, someday. I’m not sure I want to share her.  Only children are like that, you know. Did I tell you she was going to stay at my house and take care of my pups for eight days while Cole and I go to Ireland in June? My mom is the best and I love her best of all.

Odd growing up stories are always welcome in the comment section.  After all, Odd loves company!




30 thoughts on “My Mother is NOT like other Mothers.

    • It might not have been so lovely if I had remembered the trail mix story…read down. I tried to block the painful memory from my mind. On the other hand, I have to be very nice until the end of June. 😀

  1. Wow. This is great. I laughed so hard! What a wonderful, pair you and your mom are—I am beginning to understand where it all started for you….Princess Virginia Slims, I can so see it.

  2. Princess Virginia Slims made me laugh!!! What an interesting childhood you had! And the best thing is that you made it out alive! LOL No whining for you = life! Love it!! Thanks for sharing a bit!

  3. One more Katybeth story. My Father’s sister was a dear lady, she never married and lived in Manitowos WI all her life. In spite of the fact we lived a long way away we made an effort to see her at least once a year. She loved to give each of us llittle gifts at Xmas. Mine was usually a box of those little cheeses, it’s the thought that counts, right? Katybeth always got a container of trail mix, which she hates, and well she should, it’s full of raisins. Every year she would call me ranting and raving about the trail mix. My daughter isn’t given to profanity but that trail mix’s arrival could bring it out of her. I would simply tell her to toss it if it upset her. Well, our aunt eventually had to be put in a nursing home where she died. I happened to have a friend who lived in Manitowoc, and had the same zip code as the home. So the next Dec. I sent her a container of trail mix with enough postage to send it on to Katybeth. Katybeth called me shortly after and said, Mom, your not going to believe this——. I said, REALLY? Mimi must have made arrngements to have it sent months ago. The next year, the same deal. Katybeth called me stunned and said Mom, I got it again this year! I was “shocked” and said, My God ,she must have set it up in perputity. Katybeth asked, HOW CAN I GET IT STOPPED???? I replied, you can’t, it’s a done deal now.
    The third year it arrived and Katyeth called, not even bothering to say Hello but starting the conversation with words I didn’t know she knew, I couldn’t help myself. All I could do was howl. She finally said, Mom i am going to get you for this, and I guess she did! Who knew she’d write a blog!


    • My mom left out the part that at the time we were involved with some very bad Catholic Sisters (Bridge Between-Sister Caroline-Wisconsin) that were stealing my Aunts money and I was hot on their trail. When the trail mix arrive after my aunt died, I was afraid the sisters might be stalking me with trail mix–Ok, keep in mind- I had a new baby!!—I expressed my fear to my mom and she STILL did not tell me that she was sending the trail mix. This went on for THREE years!!!

  4. The things we do to perpetuate bald-faced lies to our progeny — loved your memory of the “Big Snow”! Your mom must be quite a gal, especially to romp with Dobies!

  5. Love the stories! Glad to know someone warned you early about the awfulness of raisins and whining. Moms are great…moms who aren’t like other moms are priceless:) hugs, Diane

  6. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing your Mom for, wow – somewhere around 36-37 years. She deserves to be defended here, because even if she told you little white lies, she also bought you a horse (actually a two-for-one deal) and hauled you and your pesky little friends out to Amstater’s hundreds of times just to make your dream come true. She also let you organize a summer day camp at the housing project, where I wouldn’t go on a bet these days. She also let you, well, you get the idea. Your parents are awesome, but it is sad about Baty Beth.

  7. Katybeth, get yourself an agent…you need to,no, you must write a book about your growing up years, and then just continue up to the present. Know it would be a best seller. Just think, an author to add to your many talents. Right Marcie?? You make me smile when ever you write your little stories. Go for it, kiddo.

  8. I loved this, Katybeth! Your mom sounds like a lot of fun!

    I had my kids convinced that I had eyes in the back of my head and could see what they were doing at all times. When Kaylee was five, she announced this to her kindergarten friends…one of the kids told the teacher on her for “lying.”


  9. WOW! I have met your mother – well because she is one of my favortie Aunties! And yes this is all true! She is one of thr most wonderful people in the world! Oh and the MOST ODD! I love you Auntie Poo!

  10. I laugh so hard my cheek hurt! From the story on your sister, the wooden spoon, the halloween costume, the democrats, the snow…. ahahaha… wow I can onlt imagine how she is in person! I picture her with a quick witt like Sophia from Golden Girls only younger and taller. 🙂 Btw, that is a great picture of her! Moment capture!

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