Don Edwards Literary Memorial

May 13, 2006

Mother’s Day

On Mother’s Day

Buenos dias, LeRoy.
I was an only child, moved ten times before I was eight years old, father died at the age of thirty-four of tuberculosis, moved five more times before I went to a Roman Catholic boarding school, the Christian Brother’s winery in Napa, California, and for a short time became a monk in this fine institution. I have a lot of respect for Jean Baptist de la Salle who established this religious order in the seventeenth century to teach poor kids in France.

Poor kids didn’t get taught at that time. Rich kids had tutors. St. de la Salle was at least a contributor if not the founder of classroom pedagogy, something he never gets credit for. I wonder why? I have speculated that he might have inadvertently contributed to the French Revolution. Literate poor people in history are troublesome….they get angry at their poverty, with no other way out, start revolutions.

And speaking of revolutions, we had a chance for a good one during the Great Depression, but FDR threw everything to social programs, jobs, industrial works like the Tennessee Valley Authority waterways, dams, resources which made so much sense. In the meantime, Japan, Germany, Italy went berserk, caused millions to die, and our best friend, Russia, did its best to kill everything on their own countries. So we didnt’t get Hirohito, Hitler, Mussolini or Stalin. Good for FDR.

So back to Mother’s day. My mother, I know, doted on me. Her father, I had to call him “Uncle” Howard because he was divorced from my grandmother, some curdled Catholic logic which has always escaped me, perhaps more on that at some later time.

So Mother’s day was a sanctified time in our strange, wandering family. I knew I had a duty. My step-father, Willard Edwards, who killed himself with alcohol in a very pathetic way, told me something when I was around ten years old: take care of your mother, don’t forget her birthday and remember, always, Mother’s Day. I never met his mother or father, only saw his brother Dave once, at his funeral, but I never forgot her birthdays or Mother’s Day.

There are biblical references of course, “Marianism” seems to have been cult-like subservience attributes because the only time Mary gets strident is in the wedding feast. She asked Jesus for a miracle, turning water into whine (deliberate misspelling, sorry, I can’t resist the notion of a basement full of Jewish American Princesses…called a “whine cellar.”) and….mirable dictu, He did.

So tomorrow is Mother’s Day, hijacked by Hallmark to be a really dumb day when it should simply be this: regardless of economics and cultures, moms have very hard lives. Thank God for them. Mine gave me life and was always supportive, my wife, Valerie, has been a splendid example to our children over and above her care, concern and warmth.

Viva moms! God bless you all.


Filed under: DON POSTS — Don @ 10:37 pm

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