She minces no words.

Dont Mince Words

Cross-country providence? 7

Posted on December 29, 2013 by Marna

If you had warned me a month after escaping California I’d be identifying my mother’s body in a funeral home, I would of laughed.  Life and timing are funny things.

Decades after my birth my mother continued to try to direct my life long-distance with a cocktail in her hand.  After I arrived in California, she had the time difference on her side when it came to drunk dialing.  After one too many, I cut her off and told her never to call me again.  I had no use for her nastiness.  For the last nine years, I have lead a peaceful life and have inspired two other girlfriends to sever ties with their less-loving parents.  We all have enjoyed the born-again sanity.

I hate who my mother became; however, I respect how her upbringing helped form who I am today.  As the oldest of eight kids growing up on a farm in North Carolina, she didn’t have it easy during the Great Depression.  While in high school, she was sent to live with her grandmother because she was malnourished.  Upon graduating, she did what you’d expect her to do – she got the hell out.  Crazy Barbara became a federal employee, fine-tuned her steno and typing skills, and eventually landed a secretarial job with the U.S. Air Attaché.  Cold war Germany Mata Hari-style information gathering.  She eventually returned to the DC area, got set up with my dad and got married.

For 13 years she had a good career for a farm girl with no college degree.  While her friends were getting married and pregnant, she was out doing something different.  She was not your typical 1950’s woman.  In the early 1960’s, she settled down and married a man almost 10 years her senior.  She stopped working, had two kids, and continued to be a card-carrying member of the cocktail generation.  (Every time I hear the Rolling Stones’ Mother’s Little Helper I think of her in the1970’s.)  I can’t help but think this inside-the-beltway suburban life bored her.  When I would come home from school, she would be drinking and watching soap operas.  This was the life she chose.

When I was 13, my parents signed off on my work permit and I got my first job.  This kept me out of the house more and generated a stockpile of cash, in addition to my babysitting money.  I eventually bought a serious stereo system for my bedroom so I could tune out my mother’s ranting. However, one day she shut up and listened.  Bob Marley bridged our relationship.  Then it was ABBA. My brother and I were driven to get out and go to college.  We did.  My mother remained a bored housewife who eventually had to take care of an aging, sick husband. Once free from those duties, she could of had a rebirth.  Instead, she spend the remaining 18 years of her life drinking, with periodic trips to the post office and commissary.

Crazy Barbara did the best she could.  And, hell, who would of thought she’d make it to 80?  She’s my antiheroine.  I have become a better person by knowing what not to do. But Barbara was known for her strong opinions and she did not hold back – and those skills were definitely passed on to me.  I’m happy I got to see her before she went to a better place-I hope she finds happiness in the afterlife. The Peace in rest in peace means so much to me and my brother.

Do you have a job yet? Comments Off on Do you have a job yet?

Posted on September 24, 2003 by Marna

When I see my mom’s telephone number pop-up on my cellphone caller ID, I do the usual three-ring deliberation. Should I or shouldn’t I answer this call? The good angel tells me to pick it up because she is concerned for me. The bad angel tells me it might be the paramedic clicking on the speed dials on her home phone to notify me that she is on a stretcher in de-fib.

Today it was her calling with the usual question, “so, do you have a job yet?”

“No mom, not yet. I’m still networking and calling folks and making great contacts,” I replied.

“Well, it has been two months. I don’t understand how you can go this long. I think some man is keeping you,” she retorted.

Me, a kept woman? I wonder who this imaginary man with cash flow could be. (CircusBoy doesn’t send me a stipend from his circus check.) Why am I being penalized because I’m an independent woman who saves for the next lay-off? She doesn’t get it because SHE is the kept woman.

I’ve already out-worked my mother. She had a brief career until her early 30’s when she hatched me. Then she was a stay-at-homer. Now she’s sitting fat in happy in a paid off house and gets to live off social security (she didn’t even pay into the ‘system’) and my dad’s retirement.

Now, that’s a pretty sweet return on investment. And I’m not going to argue. I hear that raising kids is hard work. But that IS a SWEET ROI. I’d love to only work 15 years of my life and have a house and provisions for life. That sounds like ‘kept’ to me.

The trade-off is dependency and that’s not my style. Yeah, I’m a “kept” woman.

I’ve kept my independence.

  • About Marna

    Marna’s writing career started as a Pentagon intern. Early exposure to $500 toilet seat press releases made her appreciate creative nonfiction. Now she has more than 25 years of senior-level marketing and communications success working with Fortune 100 companies, government, nonprofits, small businesses, startups, and agencies.

    Stats: 377 Posts, 132 Comments

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