Mom died a few years ago, but many of her life lessons are still helping me, as I become a writer. Like most writers, I have always had an insatiable curiosity – for almost everything. Growing up my parents frequently heard from me – “how do you spell that word?” or “what does that mean?”. Mom, being the consummate teacher (she taught me in 5th & 6th grade) would usually reply, “Go look it up in the dictionary or encyclopedia.”. And off I’d go to the dictionary or my then favorites World Book Encyclopedia or Encyclopedia Britannica. Those of you of a certain age know what those were. For the younger of you, just think of a giant Google Book.
Well, when I was a precocious six-year old (I was a smart kid, what can I say), I asked Mom if Santa Claus was real. Mom answered, “Look it up if you want to know.”. Now, perhaps Mom figured that at age six, this was perhaps just out of my capability, but always loving a challenge, off I went to the dictionary and encyclopedia.
When I came back later that day, after my research session, with the accurate answer to the question, Mom and Dad were a little surprised I’d found the answer so quickly and at first tried to talk their way around it. Then they gave up and told me that now that I knew the answer, it was my responsibility not to tell other children who didn’t know.
So on this Mother’s day – thanks Mom for teaching me ‘that words are my friends and toys’. I’ll never forget that and I love you.