Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Reasons my mom is cooler than I am

                          Mom and Dad...Mardi Gras...last year.


I’m not going to tell you how old my mom is today (duh…I’d still like Christmas presents) but I WILL say that our generations are very different.

Different in that I’m super jealous of her generation.

Apparently, in a mythical land called the United States in the 1960s, a brand new Volkswagen Beetle cost $400 and rent in the French Quarter was $50 a month.


I can’t even buy groceries for $50.

One of the cool things about having parents who are a generation (or two) older, is that the stories about their lives are positively baffling in today’s overhyped, overconnected, built-out, THREAT LEVEL ORANGE world.

For example, when I studied abroad in Spain in college, I visited Barcelona (“Bar-th-lona”) and my mom suggested I take “about five euros” and visit this little island she had visited when she was backpacking through Europe…in the 60s.

“We slept in caves!” my mom said. Badass.
“Where is this mysterious island?” I asked.

“Oh, No one knows about it!” she said. “It’s this beautiful little island….called IBIEZA. You just pay a fisherman to boat you on over there."

“IBIEZA??? IBIEZA IS LIKE $800 a night, with yachts and celebrities and where supermodels detox,” I said, referencing my US Weekly.

“Really?!!!?” she said genuinely shocked. “No kidding!”

“Really. A plane ticket alone is a few hundred dollars. I don’t think I can just pay any old fisherman to drop me off at a cave anymore.”

“Oh well that’s too bad,” she said.

My mom is cooler than me.

Studying abroad in Spain is when I first learned this, when I was given a host of advice from my mom – well, both my parents, really – that made my travels seem PG.

“Don’t sit in the back of the bus - that’s where farmers sit with their sheeps and goats,” my mom said.

"And it smells bad," my dad offered.


"We were hitchiking," she said.

My mom has lots of other traveling stories that are pretty unbelievable.

She was once in a car that FLIPPED over on a winding road over a cliff and the car fell upside down into a tree (!!!!) Everyone was dangling by their seatbelts wondering what to do when my mom said the Beatles song, “Let it Be” came on the radio.

Someone should really work that into a movie.

My mom is also cooler than me in the pets department.

When she was my age, she had a saltwater fish tank with oozing, inky creatures inside it that a family friend would put a towel over sometimes because it “grossed her out.”

I can’t even make a plant bloom.

She once had a goldfish live nine years!!!! NINE!!! (Until my brother, age 4, decided to feed the fish the entire container of food and it, uh, ate itself to death.)

She also adopted a full-grown Great Dane when we were toddlers. We named him Smile and we would flop on him when he laid on the ground. My mom remembers that he was careful to not step on us when he got up.

My mom was a teacher for a really, really, really long time and managed to inspire her civics class to properly protest something (the principal was not amused.)

My mom moved to New Orleans from New York in the 1960s after visiting ONCE. She drove down in a semi-busted car with a gas card that no one accepted in the South. 

She promptly moved to the French Quarter above a little grocery store and started playing the stand-up bass in a band, dancing the night away in the quarter. (She can still play the spoons….on your head.)

She can also juggle really well, and that’s a good hidden talent.

My mom’s friend, who visited her in New Orleans in the 1960s, said she woke up one night late to my mom entertaining people in her living room by juggling fruit. 

Apparently, she had been bragging about these skills and needed to prove it.

“There was fruit splattered everywhere!” my mom’s friend laughed. Everyone was laughing.

But aside from all that, my mom made change happen. 

Literally. The world would be different if she hadn’t existed. (Woooooah, is that the meaning of life????)

My mom singlehandedly started a neighborhood watch in our neighborhood that made it safe to walk down during the day. 

Through that, she managed to get our pot-holed street paved and improved home values and quality of life.

She also changed the dorm curfews when she went to Syracuse University. Hahahahaha

I don’t know why or how this happened, but I heard from very well-placed sources that my mom was the one who alerted the administration that they were adults and therefore didn’t need to be told what time to come home.


(Sure, this change would have happened anyway, but it happened that particular year because of my mom.)

She taught her three children not to just sit there and let life hand you lemons, but to be proactive and take a stand on things you believe in.

Case in point: She moved out of the French Quarter and bought a house nearby when her landlord said she wasn’t allowed to hang a sign in favor of a particular candidate for city council. 

The landlord didn’t want that candidate to win and said since it was his property, she couldn’t hang the sign.

She retaliated by buying her own place and moving out.  
(The American dream?)

I have plenty more examples of how my mom is cooler than me: 

(she's taken yoga classes every week for 30+ years! She can speak Spanish fluently without even practicing! SHE WEIGHS LESS THAN ME)

But instead, I will leave you with this awesome dedication in a book about how she helped education in New Orleans:



Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to practice my juggling.


1 comment:

  1. this makes me want to be friends with your mom! she is awesome!!!


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