Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Nobody Holds Grudges Like A Mother!

     My mother doesn’t read my writing, which is a good thing because I doubt she’d appreciate how I characterize her, but lately we’ve run out of things to say so I’ve taken to reading short stories to her over the phone. I recently shared a childhood adventure: actually it was a chapter from my memoir The Kid in the Kaleidoscope. I thought she’d find it amusing. Boy was I wrong.
     The story, Riding the Hammer (check it out under Pages on my blog) takes place when I was ten and my best friend and I snuck out one summer evening to inspect the carnival that had risen in the parking lot of a nearby shopping center. 
     I read the story to Mom, and she listened quietly without interrupting, which was unusual for her and should have served as a clue for what was to come. As I read, I was pleased with my words and felt I’d created a well-paced, rhythmic story that was evocative of the period and, in my opinion, if not outright funny at least amusing.
     When I reached the conclusion the silence on the other end of the line was deafening. “So what did you think?” I asked.
     “Let me get this straight; you snuck out of the house to go to this carnival?”
     I was startled. That was what she’d focused on? That I’d snuck out? What about all those pretty words? “It was nearly fifty years ago, Mom.”
     “I don’t care how long ago it was. How old were you at the time?”
     “I’m disappointed in you. Where was I when this happened?”
     Dad worked a graveyard shift as a mechanic for the city of Sunnyvale and Mom worked days at a plant that bottled wine. She always dosed off early. “You were asleep on your bed.”
     “You betrayed my trust.” I could feel her hand coming through the telephone and smacking me on my now-gray head.
     “I think you’re blowing this out of proportion. Besides, what did you think of the rest of the story?”
     “Tell me, did you have a pang of conscience over what you were doing?”
     “So you didn’t like the story?”
     “It was hard to get past the realization that you weren’t the little boy I thought you were.” 
     She harangued me for twenty minutes, channeling so much rage that you'd have thought the incident happened yesterday.
     “Well, I certainly wasn’t an angel," I said. Maybe I better not read you anymore of my stories.”
     “I don’t want to curtail you, even though your stories are probably filled with deceptions that will wound me deeply. Continue reading them to me.”
     Fat chance!

     Can your Mom hold a grudge? Is she still blaming you for something?


  1. My mom does still hold a grudge..... from the time I forced her into that retirement home..... then moved into her house. Come on get over it already... right?

  2. When I was about 30, I told my mom that when I was about 8, when we found our dog, Jenny, a shivering stray, starving puppy huddled under our car in the winter in Ohio, and she told me to go door to door to every house in the neighborhood to find the owner, and I came home after about 3 hours and said, "Nobody claimed her," the truth was that I did find some lady who said the puppy was hers and that she was going to drown it if it came back home. I said, "Ok, thanks bye." and went home and told my mom, "No luck." We had that dog until after I graduated from college. My mom was royally pissed at me for lying to her.

  3. Diane:

    Your story is better than mine. An abandoned puppy in the snow! I wonder if anyone out there can top that.

  4. My father could hold a grudge, but not my mother. I did get a chuckle out of this though. Reminded me when I got caught sneaking back in one morning. Bwahahahahaha.

    Don't read your mother anymore stories about you unless you were wearing a halo.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  5. My sister's say my mom could hold a grudge. I can't say I ever experienced it.

  6. My mom passed away about two years ago, but I expect she is STILL holding a grudge against me for not becoming a doctor... and for a while practicing criminal defense. (I used to visit her and say "I had this big case the other day..." and she'd say things like "I don't want to hear it. Letting criminals out on the street.") She also didn't like that I lived in Madison and not Milwaukee.

    But I appreciate it, because from her I learned how to hold a grudge like a champion. To this day, I am holding grudges against people like Rob Bellin, who in grade school teased me so much that I swore at him and then said he was going to tell my mom that I swore, and always held it over my head that he could get me in trouble and everytime we were around each other he'd say something like "Maybe I'll tell your mom about that time you swore" and I was POWERLESS against him. I HATE him.

  7. Excellent story, by the way. I picture you with your kaleidoscope hooked onto your belt, a Junior Kaleidoscope Ranger, ready to bring color to the 50s.

  8. Some of these comments remind me of my son, who at 5-years-old, was in love with a neighbor girl. Walking home from the school bus stop, she would run ahead of him and he would yell, "Cristina! If you don't wait up, I'm not going to marry you!" He's 25 now and whenever her name comes up, he says, "See, I TOLD her I wouldn't marry her." A man of his word.

  9. Just found your lovely blog!

    I'm in my fifties and my Ma still makes me eat my vegetables when I visit,


  10. I am 57 years old and my mother is still pissed off with me regarding things I did which hurt her when I was 5 years old! She has nurtured a large suitcase full of petty grievances throughout my life and, recently, disowned me (my father went along). How sad to know that I have been the bane of her existence, even though I have pursued her love as though she were the golden fleece. I am accused of saying, doing, or feeling things which have never even crossed my mind. No matter what, I am a LIAR. I've made attempts to patch up the relationship, but she "can NEVER forgive me".
    Everyone, PLEASE work hard at NOT holding grudges-if a person makes attempts to mend a relationship, FORGIVE.

  11. Im 46 years old and I am the daughter of a mother who has held grudges for as long as I can remember. Throughout the years she has quit speaking to her sister, brothers, aunts, uncles, neighbors, co-workers, my fathers family and many more. Four years ago my marriage fell apart and she wanted my ex-husband and I to reconcile which I did not follow HER wants. I was put on her DON"T TALK TO list. It has been four years that we haven't seen nor spoke to one another. It will take ME to go to HER in order to open the door to speaking again. I will not do this as I have learned I no longer want her toxicity in my life. I'd rather be on the side of the others she axed out of her life.

  12. My mother-in-law holds a grudge against my husband for every wrong thing he ever did as a child and a teenager. Even though he now an adult who has somehow found his way in this world despite her cold contempt for him. He did put her through a hard time as a teenager but she has never let him forget it and she blames him for his father leaving her and has openly admitted it. Oh and his sister's have never, and can never do any wrong. The saddest part is, this is effecting my children, I have tried my hardest over the better part of my life to rectify this and it has caused many arguments in our marriage. I have tried to have him see the good side and get them closer to us but to no avail because of the poison that she spreads about my husband. Thanks for writing such a great piece I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, how blind and deaf parents can be to their own children and the effect on them. Surely a lesson for me with my own children. I look forward to reading more!