To the editor:
As a child, I found my mother a bit strange, even weird, when I compared her to other children’s mothers.
I recall being painfully embarrassed when she served cream of asparagus soup on the occasion of my birthday lunch. As my friend turned her nose up, I understood that something common, like tomato or chicken noodle, would have been preferable. But, my mother was anything but common. When I ungratefully complained about it later, she told me that she thought that cream of asparagus was just the right soup for a special occasion.
Then, there was the time when she took two of my friends and me to the Peabody Essex Museum. I wanted to hide and make believe she wasn’t my mother as she oohed and aahed with wonder and amazement at the exhibits. Little did I know that her enthusiasm was a natural expression of her ceaseless curiosity and fascination about the world around her.
I knew nothing about what it meant that she had been educated at that Ivy League women’s college in South Hadley. In fact, she completed her senior year after marrying my father in September and still graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a double major in History and English Literature.
After all, she must have felt an urgency to imbue me with a bit of culture. While it seemed idyllic to me, she doubtless felt that life in Pigeon Cove was more than a touch provincial.
In her efforts to expose me to valuable cultural experiences, Mom took me to the ballet in Boston. She also took me to art museums and dramatic plays in Boston and made sure I saw wonderful Broadway musicals at the North Shore Music Theater. One of my earliest movies was “The Red Shoes” at Rockport’s Little Arts Cinema, which screened worthwhile films.