Lemon Kids

We took my mother in law, my mom and 2 kids to Disney for the weekend. We ate at one of the nicer restaurants where they served a half of lemon wrapped in netting to squeeze over your fish. Unbeknownst to me my mother in law took the lemon back to their hotel room. My husband and I left the two moms with our kids while we went out for a short date. When we came back we found the kids asleep and the two Moms laughing like little kids who got caught in the act by their parents. They had raided the mini bar and used the lemon to mix with their drinks! They were having so much fun conspiring on how to get the lemon out of the restaurant without being seen. Years later my mother in law said that night was one of her favorite memories! So next time you are tempted to act like a kid…just go for it and have some fun.
P.S. my husband was not happy when he saw the bill from the mini bar :)

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Secret Sister Sleepover

My sisters and I decided to surprise my Mom by showing up unexpectedly for a weekend visit. We excitedly emailed back and forth across the country planning the details under the code SSS for Secret Sister Sleepover! My mother and sister Joan had recently joined a Red Hat group where they lived. So my sister Deanna thought it would be fun to show up in Red Hat gear. Since my sister Barbie and I were under 50 we wore lilac with a pink hat. The sisters over 50 wore purple with a Red Hat. I was flying in from Florida to Kentucky so I bought the Red Hat books to bring to my Mom and ended up reading the first one on the plane. It was very funny and set the tone for the whole weekend. What a great surprise! My Mom loved having all five daughters in one place for the weekend! The first night we were all together telling stories and just laughing like kids at a pajama party. The next day my jaw hurt from so much laughing! Our mother is 96 now but still loves that we all took the time out of our busy lives to come home and just have fun! Great memories, great laughs, great sisters! Thanks Mom! P.S. our brothers were jealous!

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Ghost Dog by Sarah Copus

By Sarah CopusAn exciting experience with literature can occur in the most unexpected places. While vacationing at the beach this week, 5-year-old Sarah implored her parents to go down to the beach at night with a flashlight to tell ghost stories. Sitting there in the dark, the ocean waves crashing and the wind whipping, Sarah shone her little flashlight up under her chin and wove an intriguing tale about a ghost dog named Sassy. At the end, in a hushed voice she said that people had been looking for Sassy ever since. Suddenly she was on her feet searching for clues. By now it was getting really dark and more and more deserted. In an attempt to get Sarah back to the hotel room without an argument her parents suggested she draw a picture of Sassy so people would know what she looked like and maybe even some “lost dog” posters to hand out at the beach the next day. Sarah scooted quickly back to the room and drew a picture of Sassy, carefully labeling it. Then she proceeded to make about a dozen “lost ghost dog” posters. Realizing it might also be helpful if people knew Sassy’s story, Sarah wrote and illustrated the spooky tale. It didn’t end there. The next night uncovered the story of Sassy’s 15 ghost puppies, also requiring the completion of an illustrated book!

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First Flute by Pamela Copus

  • Pamela Copus
  • I receive a daily digest in my email from a local forum for moms. One of the queries really got me thinking. It was from the mother of a young girl who had decided she wanted to play flute. The school’s band director offered a list of recommended flutes from a couple of manufacturers. The mother was appalled by the prices of the flutes and wanted to know if the other moms on the forum agreed with her that spending very much on a first instrument was foolish. She felt she should get the cheapest thing she could find until certain her daughter would “stick with it.”This is a subject that has always troubled me a bit. A poorly manufactured instrument will cause the music student to be unable to make a beautiful sound, and to abandon music lessons with the notion that the problem is the child, not the instrument. And a poorly made instrument usually lacks a soul… but more on that in a moment.When I was 8 years old, I too decided I wanted to play flute. The school recommended that students rent instruments from a particular store so my mom dutifully did just that. It was a terrible instrument – but how could mom have known? She did not play flute. I worked with this instrument for a long time and never really made the music that I wanted to make. I learned my parts and played in the school band and later the school symphony. But was not all that inspired and basically accepted the fact that I was not very good.I had always had a savings account and had been putting in any birthday money and money from chores. It had amassed $200! A graduating senior that I knew had decided to sell her flute. I offered her my $200 and she accepted. This was an amazing instrument. All the lights came on and a connection was made. The notes soared to the heavens. I couldn’t wait to play it every day. Songs, melodies bubbled up from some magical place. My breath went in and the flute sang back to me. It was a synergy of 2 souls, no longer 1.

    Once a year, the school band had closed door competitions to choose “first chair” for each instrument. I was in ninth grade. It was the day of reckoning. The flute players went behind a closed door. Each flutist played in turn and the rest of the band voted on who was best – and who would be first chair for the year. They voted with applause.

    As you may know, students form “cliques.” You’re either out or you’re in. I was always out. There was no hope of me winning anything but a closed door competition. I won hands down. Or I guess I should say “we” won – this wonderful flute and I as a team.

    I still have that flute, although it’s past its prime and no longer my only flute. I parted with it recently for a day when a friend’s 11 month old son passed away from cancer and my friend’s brother, a band director who came in from out of state, was asked unexpectedly to perform at the funeral. February had been cold and gray. But that day, the sky was bright blue and the sun was warm. Through his tears he played beautifully, and I know that special flute offered up the magic and love I have always found in it. Although it has played in hundreds of performances, I know this was the most important one of all.

    And even though it was not my first flute, it was my first special flute and led me to the path I am on to this day.

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Sadie’s Story by Cathy Lewis

My mother, Sadie, was the middle sister of four brothers. All four brothers had an aptitude for carpentry and construction and Sadie could wield a sledge hammer, smoke cigarettes and down coffee with the best of them. One summer morning when I was six she decided that she needed a doorway from our kitchen into the living room. After my dad went to work she got out the tools. As the old plaster came off the wall she had me, my brother, and a couple of neighbor kids put the debris into our wagons to take an empty lot across the street. We lived on Staten Island before the Verrazano Bridge went up, so it was pretty rural. We had empty fields behind us and across the street. The lot was below street level and you often saw signs on similar lots that said “Clean Fill Wanted.” Well, this particular lot didn’t have that sign. Apparently one of our neighbors didn’t like my mother’s attempt to fill the lot, so they called the police.

Imagine my mother, who was all of five feet two inches tall and probably weighed just a little over 100 pounds when a big, burly New York City Policeman came knocking at the door. “Ma’am”, he said, “are you dumping plaster in the lot across the street?” Well, technically she wasn’t, it was us kids, but the fact that she was covered from her jet black hair to her penny loafers in plaster dust was a dead giveaway.

“I’m sorry to say that I’ve got to give you a citation and a fine,” he said. Mom hesitated a few seconds, and then just stuck out her wrists.  With a pitiful look on her face she pleaded, “Take me with you officer”. “When my husband comes home and finds out that I knocked out the wall and got fined, he’s gonna kill me.”  With that he began to chuckle. He said he wished his wife would be more industrious and decided that a warning would do as long as she stopped dumping and had the kids cover up the debris.

The construction worker, cigarette smoking, coffee chugging side was the tougher side of my mother, but she most often showed her softer side. That Christmas, Santa brought me a doll carriage. In the carriage was a beautiful yellow floral printed mattress, with a matching pillow and ruffle-trimmed coverlet that she made by hand.  I remember how proud I was to push that carriage down the street with my baby doll nestled in yellow roses. I’m proud of who my mother was and wish she was still with me today. I know we would be the best of friends.

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Javelin Toss by Eric Kauffman

Eric Kauffman of KKYT The Coyote 93.7 in Ridgecrest California told me a story this morning.  He was watching the Olympics and remembered the time he was playing in the back yard.  There was an old curtain rod and he had the bright idea of using it as a Javelin just like on the Olympics.  His first throw was his last when a sharp edge tore a strip down his finger.  He was just four years old.  His mom was not happy when she had to rush him to the doctor for stitches.  He still has the scar.  That is  Eric’s “That’s What You Get” story.

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Recycle Mama by Joyce Harlow Hill

Mom recycled before it became vogue to do so. She made all our clothes even the boys. Whenever we got chicken feed the sacks were printed with flowers or other pretty designs. Mom would make our dresses from the printed fabric. Not only did she make our clothes but she did her own as well The big event was to get the new Sears Robuck catalog. Mom would scan the latest fashions and use newspaper to make her own patterns. Plus she made the boys shirts and pants too.See the very curly hair dos? Mom would take tin cans and cut them into strips and cover them with cloth to cover the sharp edges. Then she would roll our hair and bend both ends over the rolled up hair to hold it in place. We wore bows in our hair to complete our Sunday-go-to-meeting outfits. Dad was trying to be a photographer with his Brownie Hawkeye camera so we had to always dress up for the photos.Notice the car in the background. That was Dad’s pride and joy. One day I noticed a little rubber piece hanging from around the windshield. I pulled on it and it came off all around the car’s windshield. When dad discovered the rubber he lined us all up and demanded to know who did it. No one would fess up to the crime and I knew better than to tell on myself. Mom was always in the background whenever events like this would occur and with six children underfoot something was always going on. We all knew that mom would be on our side. She never told us out loud but we all knew.

Don’t Go Into The Woods!

Roger, Joyce, Ben, Joan, Danny, and Deanna

I love my older clients.  They ALWAYS have an interesting story to tell.   I’m always a little sad when they pass away because I know they are taking their lifetime of knowledge with them.  I think this is so regrettable when it would be so easy to interview them and capture some of that knowledge.

I think about my 96 year old mother.  She has 8 children, all successful, happy, 28 grandchildren, 50 something great grandchildren and a few great-great grandchildren!  I think that says something.  She must know some secret to why she managed to raise a happy, healthy, successful family.

I remember sitting around my sister’s house when Mom turned 85.  We were all there for a family reunion and birthday party for Mom.  We had the video camera out and went around the room.  Each of us had to tell a story of when we were kids.  It is still my favorite video.  I learned some things about my older brothers and sisters that I didn’t know.  (Mom did too!)

My favorite story was the one about the woods behind the house.  The kids weren’t allowed to go into the woods.  So where do you think they went as soon as Mom’s back was turned? Into the woods, of course!  Roger, Larry, Deanna, Joyce and Joan found a vine hanging over a ditch and decided it would be fun to swing out over the ditch.  Larry went first.  He swung way out.  Wee!!! However he forgot to jump on the way back and landed with a loud “THWACK” against the tree and fell to the ground.  He lay on the ground, no sound or movement.  The other kids took one look at him and ran back to the house.  They just knew he was dead.  You would think they would have run to tell Mom.  But no, they didn’t say a word because they didn’t want to get in trouble for going into the woods and now Larry was “dead”!  (Keep in mind they were all under the age of 10 and with no frame of reference such at TV.) Good news is Larry came stumbling home with a big knot on his head.   Mom’s comment to that story was “I’m surprised you all lived!”

What’s the moral of the story?  I don’t know what it is for you.  For me, it means it is OK for our kids to venture out.  It is OK for them to get a knock on the head once in a while.  It is OK for them to realize that maybe Mom does know what she is talking about when she says “Don’t go into the woods”.

I hope you enjoyed this story.  I’d love to hear one of your stories.  If you post a story along with a picture I’ll review your story and maybe put it online or publish in a book if I get enough response.  I’ll let you know if your story is chosen.  Keep in mind by posting your story you give me permission to use it either online or in a book.  I can’t offer you any sort of compensation but I can offer you the chance to record and share your story for all those Moms out there who can use the advise, or a laugh, or a cry.


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That’s What You Get

 This website was created because of a story I told my sister.  When I was a little girl I was playing outside with my niece Pam.  We had the bright idea of making a tire swing.  So we tied a small shovel to the end of a rope and proceeded to throw the rope over the branch of a tree in the backyard.  Well Pam threw the shovel and guess who tried to catch it?  Yes, that was me with blood dripping down my face.  I ran into the house crying.  Mom, with absolutely no-show of emotion promptly got a towel and put it to my bleeding head.  Then she asked the question “What were you doing?”  So I gave her the whole story.  Of course it was all Pam’s fault!  Mom gave me a little hug, put a band-aid on the cut and said these words which I never forgot.  “Well honey, that’s what you get.”

So next time you do something stupid, think of my mom and her words of wisdom.  “That’s What You Get!”

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The Wisdom of our Mothers

 This is my mom.  Her name is Gladys Durbin.  She is 96 years old.  And she is still looking for adventure!  This blog is dedicated to her.

I have some wonderful stories to tell about my mother and I think you probably do to.  So I’ve set up this blog so we can share and enjoy each others stories.

I’d like to put all the stories together in a book so we can share and inspire each other.  So if you’d like to share then post your story and photos by clicking the link below.

Tell your story here!