An Open Letter

Consolation's Many Forms

My friend —

As I write these words I’m at 24,000 feet and more than halfway across the country. I’m headed to see my mother, who is eighty-five years old. I will only be there a couple of days.

She was born in Ransomville, New York in May of 1932, the thirteenth of fifteen children. A world I’m sure I could never imagine, one before WWII, and television, and computers, and the Internet. Her life has spanned all these things.

Relationships with one’s mother are like no other. We are them, more or less, at first, and only gradually learn to be not-them, by a process not without its pains — for either party.

My mother has always loved poetry, and literature, and music, and union organizing – I’ve never quite been sure the order. She loves the ridiculous in life, and nothing seems funnier to her than the forgetfulness…

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