t’s Mother’s Day and you folks sure do love your mamas.
A few weeks ago we asked you to send us your Momisms — words of wisdom and advice, whether silly or serious. In response, we received dozens of letters and emails. Here, we present a selection of your responses. More can be found at www.ohio.com.
We hope these will provoke a grin or a hearty belly laugh.
My grandmother did the “wear clean underwear” thing but took it one step further. She said to keep a clean pair of undies in the glove compartment so that if you were in an accident you would have a clean set. We always tried to explain that if you are unconscious, you don’t have time to change.
I have never quite understood this, but my mom always told us that if we were moving from a house, “never move the broom.” I guess it had something to do with allowing the new residents to “sweep out” any vestiges of the old residents. I have moved several times as an adult and have always left the broom.
My mother is always sincere, but off track just slightly. She (Margaret Reed) doesn’t mean to be funny, she just cannot help it.
Many times, I have been told “squeaky worm gets the wheel …” When playing with all of her grandchildren, she got this off just slightly … “Pat-A-Cake, Pat-A-Cake, Bakers Man, bake that man as fast as you can! Roll ’em, pat ’em and mark it with an E, and put him in the oven as fast as you can.”
She truly had no idea she had the words off. We couldn’t wait for her to sing it so that we could go in another room and chuckle about how she sang about baking a man to our toddlers.
My mother did not work outside the home back in the ’50s although she was anything but the typical stay-at-home mother. There were seven children … and we had my father’s debilitated mother and her adolescent son living with us.
Akron was the Rubber Capital of the World and we lived near the then-thriving Rubber Bowl. Life was simple but good, considering we had 11 people sharing a one-bathroom home. Sometimes while playing, we children would argue or begin to whine, “I want to do this. I want to go there. I want that.” My mother (usually with the patience of a saint) would need to recapture harmony among us and would say, “People in hell want ice water, too!”
Mom using a bad word? This would diffuse our frustrations and make us think about the poor souls “down there” and allow her to return to her many responsibilities.
How to be a good mother-in-law when the time comes: “Keep your mouth shut and your pocketbook open.” It sure fit in my life. I think of my mom every day and the grandma who initiated this advice.
Said when I whined about any of her decisions: “Be sure you write this down so you can tell it to your therapist when you grow up.”
I was about age 14 when Mom decided I needed a long lecture about being a leader, not a follower; using my brain, making my own decisions. When my friend called, I turned to my Mom: “Al wants to know if I can go to a movie.”
That set her off!
“What have I just been telling you? Use your brain. Make up your own mind! You know you can’t go!” My dad and I couldn’t stop laughing.
Gladys Brackenrich raised 11 children. She was the kindest, gentlest mother in the world, but she brooked no argument. If you protested, she always said, “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we would all have a Merry Christmas.” End of argument.
On the day I departed for Air Force basic training, Mom patted me on the tush and said, “Blossom where you’re planted.”
“You can’t soar with the eagles in the morning if you hoot with the owls all night.” Something she (Rita Flanagan) would jokingly tell us after a late night out.
“What the Lord has forgotten, you must fill in with cotton!”
My mother (Muriel Snyder) had adages for everything. Amazing how what seemed corny as a teenager resurfaced as truth when I was in my 20s.
“No matter what the other person does, you be straight goods. That will save you guilt and remorse.” (Mother was a seamstress and a quilter … and knew the importance of the “straight goods.”)
“Believe nothing you hear and half you see.”
“The least said is the easiest mended.”
Hope Snyder Mitchell
Maybe it started as a bit of a game, a challenge to my barely 9-year-old self. We were leaving our familiar home and neighborhood, moving from friends I had played with and fought with and made up with for all the years of my short life. We had corralled the dog into the car, strapped the new baby into her seat, and packed the final things for the journey. Driving up the street one last time, heading for our new home in Chicago, Mom gently spoke three little words — “Don’t look back.”
In my little girl mind, that literally meant, don’t look out the window as we drove away. I remember wanting all the more to peer over the back shelf of the seat, out the back window of our sedan … So, mustering up my courage and self-determination, I fixed my blue eyes (probably brimming with tears) on the road ahead. And for every ensuing new horizon in my life, I have remembered those words of wisdom …
Maybe she did mean it to be a “game” in the moment the words were spoken, but the real truth is — it’s a life lesson I still cherish today.
Weekly school advice from Mom, Sally Schwartz — “Sit at your desk, keep your mouth shut and look intelligent.”
I was in my teens when my 82-year-old maternal grandmother would tell me, “Marry a man at least seven years younger than yourself, that way you’ll age better together.” And “when they’re old, they don’t want to do anything anymore — if you know what I mean.”
I guess she knew what she was talking about; she outlived three wonderful husbands. Her second she was married to for over 50 years.
My advice to my three children: “Marry your best friend, and just remember, if something about them bothers you now, it will magnify times 10 (times) once you’re married.”
In the early 1930s, I lived at 128 Nebraska St. near City Hospital. My sister’s best friend, Dorothy, lived at 66 Nebraska St. We all attended Henry School.
Most school days, Dorothy stopped by our house and removed an ugly pair of knee-length woolen stockings. One day my sister told me that a rule of Dorothy’s mother was — “You must wear those stockings until the ‘r’ is out of the month.’
If you check, you’ll find that the only months without “r” are May, June, July and August.
My sister would put the stockings in a drawer and Dorothy picked them up after school and wore them home.
In 1951, I married Dorothy.
“A female should wear her clothes tight enough to show she is a woman, but loose enough to show she is a lady.” Oft repeated by Mother.
I recently lost my very nice mother-in-law. She was creative, intelligent and funny. The following is the reason she gave her three daughters why they needed to be taught how to drive a standard shift in … the 1960s. “You never know when someone will park a garbage truck in front of your driveway and you will have to move it to get out.”
This momism is from my mother-in-law, Margaret Rasch. My wife grew up in the Ozzie and Harriet era, so having a complete new outfit for Easter Sunday morning was the norm. I’m talking about a dress with matching hat, shoes and gloves. My father-in-law always took a photo of them in their new finery. So, to validate a shopping trip to Polsky’s or O’Neil’s, she used to say, “If you don’t have new clothes for Easter, the birds will poop on you.”
Patty, my wife, still uses this excuse every spring and I usually get a new shirt and necktie out of her shopping trip. It must work since we haven’t been pooped on yet.
“Don’t ride your bicycle on the road or you’ll break your arm.”
“Stay away from the boys.”
“You wait until your dad gets home.”
“I’m cold, you need to put on a sweater.”
“Don’t go outside in the rain or you will get a cold.”
“Don’t swallow watermelon seeds or they will start to grow.”
“If you climb those trees and fall out and break your leg, don’t run home and cry to me.”
From several residents at the Sterling House, an assisted living facility in Barberton
One of the most important lessons I learned from Mom (Jane Caniglia) was the value of friendships. She was an only child and her friends were a vital part of her life. Some of her friends she had for almost all of her 92 years, including those she went with to grade school.
She always advised to be a good friend and you will have a good friend in return. They make the happy times more joyful and the sad times more bearable.
My mother wrote the following in my autograph book when I was a freshman in high school.
Groan Ups by Mom
Here’s to the gal who hates to wash dishes.
What will she do when she becomes a missus?
Better start looking for that millionaire dear,
’Cause mother won’t wash your dishes, I fear.
May your days be merry and troubles light,
And all of your dishes look clean and bright.
Kim Hone-McMahan can be reached at 330-996-3742 or email@example.com.