Thursday, September 10, 2009


Happy Anniversary!!! This week’s column marks “Mom to Mom’s” one year anniversary. Wow, 52 weeks of my musings, stories, recommendations, and you’ve stuck with me.

I wish I could tell you that when Jill Cohen gave me the unbelievable opportunity to write a weekly column I had a clear plan in mind, but I didn’t. The only thought in my head as I left her office on the second floor of The Bergen News Building was, “Oh **** now I have to think of something to write!” But she did give me a wonderful bottle of white wine as a thoughtful welcoming gesture. It offered me my first sip of inspiration -- 750ml of glorious pale, dry inspiration, but having spent her life around writers, I suppose Jill knew precisely what she was doing.

My family responded to my wonderful news by giving me the collective, yet traditional, hairy eyeball. I was summarily warned to vault the family secrets. I assured them they had nothing to worry about -- I’m saving all that dysfunction for my book.

Shortly after I broke the news to my husband, he awoke in the middle of the night with an attack of cold sweats begging me to never mention his name in print. I assured Jim Piccirillo I never would. However, I think my son purposely provokes me knowing I might get some good material out of it. For example, as he was stomping up to his bedroom after having been punished he said, “Sure, I get punished and you get a great column!”

The only thing I wanted from this column was readers. I initially envisioned myself riding my 35-year old forest-green ten-speed Schwinn bicycle (weaseled from my brother in 1979 for 20 bucks when he was desperate for gas money) hurtling papers onto everyone’s front lawns from Edgewater to Alpine screaming from beneath my fuchsia crash helmet, “Read Mom to Mom!”

I’m always amazed when someone recognizes me from my picture—mostly because my hair is usually piled on top of my head and stationed to my scalp with the biggest, most obnoxious, banana clip that the dollar store sells. But one day while shopping at Shop Rite in Palisades Park an older gentleman introduced himself to me and started to laugh recounting one of my columns. He laughed so hard his upper dentures fell out and landed on top of my package of boneless chicken breast. As he re-positioned his teeth back onto his naked baby gums he told me that I could use what just happened in a column. I am.

Then there was the text message I recently received that read, “Enough with the texting! Do you know how much this costs?”
“Well, who the **** is monitoring my texting?” I fumed! So I dialed the number from whence the text came and yelled into the phone “Who the **** is this?” and began spewing venom until, too late, I realized it was my very lovely next door neighbor. Completely unaware of what she had done, and utterly mortified, she explained that the text was intended for her teen-aged daughter, but in the midst of matricidal rage she accidentally sent the text to my phone. She nervously laughed about me writing the incident into my column. I hope she’s still laughing.

In all seriousness, it’s really hard to know how each column will be received. I hesitated writing the Father’s Day column about my dad who passed away over 20 years ago thinking, “Who really cares?” To date, that column has received the most responses.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for allowing me to share with you my penny observations and stories from my life. Thank you for continuing to turn the pages of this paper every week and taking the time to read my column. I hope I can continue to make you laugh, make you reflect upon the memories of your own life, and keep connecting. After all, that’s what life is all about—connecting with each other one story at a time.

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