A story for mom



Today is my mom’s birthday. She would have been 75. This is also the first week I’ve gotten a media mention where I thought “Oh hey mom would like that” (which she almost always did) but also “Oh hey I like that” (which I rarely do, photos of me don’t look like me TO me, I am aggravated by typos and almost-right facts) so the usual bummed-outedness is exacerbated a bit by that very small “Awwww, she would have loved this.” feeling. So, here’s the picture from the back page of this month’s Vermont Life magazine. It’s good, right?

an image of me in my librarian outfit looking decently good alongside an interview for which there is no online version.

I’ve been at home this week catching up on deferred life maintenance including whipping my filing system into shape. I’m the owner, now, of my files, my dad’s files, and (some of) my mom’s files. They were a little all over the place and causing me low-level psychic stress as we round the corner into tax season. Last month I got a new filing cabinet–one of those cute ones on wheels that opens from the top and locks on the bottom–and yesterday I decided to handle this. I dug out all my files from various cabinets and drawers, piled them all on the day bed, and just went at them with an eye towards ditching every single thing I couldn’t make an argument to keep. Loved my mom, but I swear she never threw a thing away. This is fine, right up until it’s not.

I had a nice sprint through the last two decades. Bills for houses and cars I no longer own. Thank you cards from speaking engagements I no longer remember. Manuals for stuff that broke a long time ago. I have two folders, one called I AM IMPORTANT (for “don’t lose this” stuff) and one called I AM AWESOME (for stuff like that VT Life article) and I enjoyed poking through them. My SAT scores. A letter from my kindergarten teacher basically calling me spacey. Along the way, I opened up some recent mail and found a recall notice for my car’s air conditioning, air conditioning which had failed at the peak of summer last year. In fact, it was worse than that, it literally died within the same 24 hours as my mom. I don’t look for meanings in coincidences, this just was what it was–an expensive and ultimately fixable side irritant when I had other things going on.

But! According to the recall notice, I could get that expense reimbursed. If I could find the mechanic’s bill and my payment receipts. Which, since I was already knee-deep in paperwork, I totally could. And I had all the envelopes and stamps at the ready. And I had this “Ha HA, gotcha!” moment which I heard in my mom’s voice. And I wrote Honda an only-slightly-bitchy letter about the hassle this caused me. And then let it go. But I did think “Man, mom would have loved this.”