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With Love to My Favorite Mothers


To Margie,

You greeted me at the door and introduced yourself, when I came to pay a 4-day shiva call for your father, on what was a very difficult day for you and could not have been more welcoming and warm. I appreciate your big sister-ness, refrigerator-full of “help yourself” food whenever we visit, ability to go with the flow, and eagerness to show up for anything, even Taps and the Camp Tamakwa parting benediction at the end of our visits. Had I known I was going to acquire such a great sister-in-law, I would have proposed to Jonathan sooner.

To Aunt Yetta,

Thank you for sitting through my piano recitals year after year without caring I hit wrong notes and was not among Miss Kelsey’s better students, and for filling up your filled fat man cookie jar with fresh, warm pink and green pinwheel cookies which you’d say you baked “just for Nancy.” You made me feel special and loved.

To Miss Kelsey,

You found your way into my heart when you finally admitted after 6 years of yelling at me for not practicing, not counting, and not reading the music as it was written, that contrary to what my mother believed, I was not destined to be a concert pianist. I sit down at my piano and play all the time now, even some Chopin and Beethoven (as written) for myself, which is how I like it.

To My Mother:

I wish you could:

–still rush me to get dressed at 3:30 pm so we could make the Early Bird Dinner –sit beside me on the piano bench and sing along while I play Rogers and Hammerstein and the rest of those fabulous guys –know I understand the difficulties you had fitting in –know how grateful I am that you encouraged me to be my own person –know that I truly appreciate your perceptiveness, warmth, originality, moxie, sense of humor, acknowledgment that I could figure things out, and love.

Mostly Mom, I wish I had told you how much I appreciated who you were and what you gave me…while you were here.

To My Daughter:

When you giggled and waved your hands about in your infant seat next to the piano while I played, I thought my baby’s got a lot of spirit. Your spirit soars. So does your son’s. Although I overtly kvell over him, because he is, as you put it, “the new kid on the block,” I kvell more privately and deeply over you. When I watch you read with him on your lap—actually do everything with him–I feel your glee and love and I swell right up inside. Lucky baby. Lucky Mommy. Lucky me

Note to my Readers:

I am excited that Welter Literary Magazine is publishing an essay of mine and I am looking forward to reading it at the launch party at the University of Baltimore on Monday, May 12.

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