Tag Archives: Mother’s Day

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Ah, Mother’s Day.

That day of the year that brings with it a mixture of guilt, apprehension, obligation and confusion.

You know: The essential ingredients of any familial relationship.

For Pedro and Chris, the relationships with their mothers are fraught with baggage — some more than others.

In Chris’s case, it’s more the size of carry-on luggage.

And with Pedro…well, let’s size it up as a steamer trunk.

And having the bombardment of commercial messages from retailers, florists, online advertisers and the media about the importance of Mother’s Day does not help.

Should we, as sons, act out of a sense of obligation?

Shouldn’t we be honoring our mothers all year-round?

Do we automatically owe them our respect and love because, let’s face it, they gave birth to us, wiped our asses when we were little and put up with our nonsense for lo these many years?

How do we define the relationships with our mothers as sons and adult men and fathers ourselves?

Well, we dive into all of that in this latest episode of About Men Radio.

Give a listen and tell your friends.

And by the way, would it kill you to call your mom just once in a while?

Mom and Her “Boys”

On this Mother’s Day, we remember our mother.

Like a lioness with her cubs, our mom was always with her “boys.”

When I look back on some of our photos, there is mom in the middle of her four boys.

I recall one time when my mother was talking about not having any daughters without regret.  Her boys were always there for her.

She did however have four daughters-in-law at one point but again always talked about her “boys.”

The eldest brother, Larry was the first at everything.  The first son to work and go to college.

My parents had started working after high school and it was a big deal for Larry to head to college.

My dad knew that times were changing and without a college education one couldn’t get a good-paying job.  He wanted better for us, to work with our minds rather than our brawn.

I’d often sit and watch my mom clatter away on the big silver Royal typewriter helping young Larry type up his term papers.  Mom worked at the Federal Reserve years before as a secretary, and boy could she type.

Her eyes were firmly fixed on Larry’s hand-scribbled notes and then she would transform it into a beautifully typed paper.

Larry’s first job was in our local library.  He loved being around books all day.  It may have added to his nickname “Mr. Bookbags.”

Even today, Larry is often seen with his bookbag briefcase, which when you see him with it, you would think that he’s carrying the presidential football with the launch codes inside.

It’s always a topic that comes up at family gatherings.

Francis was the third oldest but the next to move out of the house.

He got a job in New Jersey and moved into the home of Mrs. Fisher along with two co-workers from his plant.  I guess mom felt OK with that as he wasn’t totally on his own.

Francis was mom’s favorite.

Hey, I knew it even though she said that she loved us all equally and didn’t play favorites.  I guess it’s because he was self-reliant at a young age and never complained.

He also didn’t mind eating liver at dinner.

Yech!

Liver: It’s What’s (Ick!) for Dinner

Andrew is the second oldest and was next to move out — across the street.

At one point four of us were in that back room until it was just Drew and me.  Funny thing was that even though we slept in the same room, we hardly saw each other.

He’d be up early and head out to work and by the time I went to bed he was already asleep.

When he finally moved out, he and my mom went to a few stores to help him make over his condo.

I got to tail along, and Mom had some great decorative tips.  Drew was kind of just looking into functional stuff, whereas Mom had a bit more flair.

What turned up was a nicely decorated home that when Drew had company over there were nice chairs and a couch instead of beach chairs and fold-away tables.

Lastly, sadly Mom moved out after she had a stroke on St. Patrick’s Day.

She was just taking a ham out of the oven when she felt dizzy and my dad and I spent that evening with her at the hospital.

Remembering Mom and Dad

She recuperated for a year later in a nursing home and on her birthday, we told her that dad wasn’t going to make it.

He passed away a few days later but her boys were with her each day to pick her up and take her to see dad and hold his hand.

I guess we all had to experience that pre-wake moment where we got to tell dad things before he left us.

I started by telling something that I did about 20 years earlier and then Andrew chimed in about how the car was scratched.

Even though I was the last in the house, mom would ask me to hang drapes and move what where.

She did have several weeks when she came back home from the nursing home over the next few years, but it was a sad occasion without my dad there to cheer her up.

She did help me make Irish beef stew and told me that my dad said that mine was better than hers.

He never told me that — only that it was as good as Mom’s.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

A Mother’s Day Tribute by Rich Rodriguez

It has been many years since you’ve been gone mom but you live with me every day.

Not sure if you knew this when you were alive but you were my best friend as I was growing up.

You spent your life raising your boys and making sure we had everything we needed.

Even when Dad was working two jobs to save for a house and we didn’t get to see him very much, maybe sometimes on weekends, you made it a point to take us places, zoos, museums, the beach.

If you could take a bus to it, we were there, especially when Dad was working for transit and you got free bus rides.

That was the best getting on buses and never paying!

During the summers we would always end up at Orchard Beach in the Bronx and she would not only take us but some neighborhood kids too.

Always fun times. I can still taste the sand in the cheese sandwiches.

Anyone who knew my mom knew she was not a quiet person.  I surely get my yelling skills from her.

My kids don’t like it when I yell, neither do our dogs, but we are doomed to become our parents and that was an everyday part of life in our house.

I know that’s not the best way to communicate but it does get attention especially when no one is listening to you and you need to get your point heard.

My mom was 4 feet 11 inches, but when she used that strong voice, she was 8 feet tall and then some.

She was a force to be reckoned with. Ask the neighbors, I’m sure they heard her.

As a young adult we sat and talked a lot about life and I wish she was still alive and could meet my kids and hang with them.

I think they would have gotten along great.  My son was born on her birthday and I see some of her in him, especially that loud voice.

He has no volume control, no inside voice, I do not think he knows how to whisper.

Good for him, I hope he makes himself heard in this world.

I miss you Mom, wish you were still here.

Hopefully I can keep you alive in stories about you and memories that I share.

Happy Mother’s Day.

About Movies: And on That Day, a New Horror Fiend Was Born

“Take your brother with you.”

That one line uttered by my mother absolved me from all guilt in the events that transpired on that summer weekend in 1981. It was not my fault but my brother Pablo still points the finger at me. I was forced by that order from Mom to have him come along to the double feature, at the Palace Theater in The Bronx, that I had planned to see with fellow AMR host and childhood friend Rich.

Rich and I shared a taste for the macabre. We read, traded, and re-read every Stephen King novel, Famous Monsters or Fangoria magazines plus anything we could devour that was horrific in nature and certain to provide, if not nightmares, at least a sleepless night or two.

horror_covers

By this point in time both Rich and I had watched the seminal Night of the Living Dead, originally released in 1968.  But honestly,  what self-respecting horror buff hasn’t?

That masterpiece of horror from George Romero predated another classic of the genre, The Exorcistby five years and was the first major horror film I caught in the theater.

I was 9 years old.

Exorcist

I somehow convinced my Mom back then to take me to see what has been called, “the scariest film ever made.” And I loved it. It horrified me yet also solidified my love for the genre. And I hadn’t yet completed my first decade.

On that summer weekend Rich and I planned on taking in a horror double feature—that’s two movies for the price of one kiddies. On the bill was a slasher film, Mother’s Day and the headlining flick, Dawn of the Dead. The sequel to Night of the Living Dead was released 10 years after the original.

dawn-of-the-dead-1978-posterIn order to attract an audience of horror and not porn lovers, the movie poster and newspaper ads had the full MPAA rating as “There is no explicit sex in this picture; however, there are scenes of violence which may be considered shocking. No one under 17 will be admitted.”

No one?

Well, in the summer of 1981 I had not yet reached 17 years of age and I don’t think Rich had either. Not only were we technically sneaking ourselves in but we were attempting to smuggle someone in who was a full seven years younger than the intimidating “No one under 17 will be admitted” warning allowed.

No one batted an eye.

Rich and I stayed cool walking my baby brother in between us to our seats for the opener.

Mother’s Day was a blast of early 80s gore and hillbilly nonsense but it freaked my brother out. To his credit, he didn’t show it …much. Rich turned to him and told him, “You think that was bad, wait until you see Dawn”.

Dawn of the Dead scarred my young brother, giving him nightmares for days but Pablo went on to love the horror genre and I was wholly responsible for that. In an interview conducted outside of a horror convention, he both blames me (not Mom) and thanks me for his introduction to (and eventual love of) horror.

Bro, you’re welcome.