We stay in touch in my family. It’s a phenomenon we commonly refer to as “constant contact”. No one wants to miss anything, ever. It’s one of the many gifts that our mom passed down to us. It probably began when we all lived under one roof, and there were so many comings and goings that it was hard to keep track of who was where and what was next, so we defaulted to the easiest method of keeping tabs on one another: leaving a note. There was always a slip of paper on the kitchen table for easy reference, and we were all in the habit of documenting any changes to the status quo.
These days, our notes are shared via email, and there are days when the stream of conversation is so rich and entertaining, you just want to publish it. Tuesday was one of those days. It started with what we call a “newsy note” from Julie. Newsy notes are the emails someone writes that include more than a couple of lines of continuing dialogue, providing a window into the writer’s life at that moment. Julie shared a newsy note on Tuesday with the subject line: "Public Broadcasting and Life". Of course you want to learn more about both Julie’s work in support of Public Broadcasting and her life, but what I really want to explore here are the many directions that this particular newsy note took over the course of the next 24 hours.
Julie made a comment about having to deal with the “dirty work” in life, and how nice it would be to have a person designated to handle all the unpleasant crap like taking out the trash and confronting neighbors. There were laughs about the idea of a proposal that went something like: 'i don't love you, but I really love the shit I don't have to do when I'm with you'
Mom chimed in with her perspective about no longer having Dad around to deal with unpleasant shit, and then in giving her girls more credit than we deserve for helping her out, said: “somehow I wound up with strong take -charge daughters and for that I'm thankful every day.”
Jane: Mom, you may not have taken care of the logistical stuff in the family, but you were a totally strong role model, let's not forget. You modeled a relationship built on total mutual respect in an era when that was not the norm. You were and are a strong woman; athletic, independent, and you balanced home and a career. It's no accident that you produced six strong women!
MB: Ach, Mom. It seems to me you didn't take Dad or his chores/the things he took care of for granted -- you each had your own things you did. It was a partnership. It must be so hard to have to do everything after sharing everything for so long. You ARE doing so great!
Jacquie: Mom, you're doing a bang-up job and dad would indeed be proud. Bastid.
Julie: I think the thing mom taught us best, by example, is how to love and give, selflessly. My daughters laugh at me when they compliment a sweater or belt or whatever, and I take it off and give it to them. That trait was directly handed down from mom. Literally and figuratively :). And I think about this here, our conversations, how we all respect each other and communicate, always with a basis of love in play. Most people don't have that, you know. Mom = love.
Ellie: re: Public Broadcasting and Life and Mom: Mom, you make it sound like you were in the corner, eating bon bons and smoking butts while Dad was slaving over the bills. You were the Supreme Ruler of the household, and made it all flow -- we all got where we had to go, clothed and bathed and, most importantly, fed. Dad was completely clueless about where we were supposed to be or what time or with whom. Which is fine -- that wasn't his job. You did it with grace and aplomb and even *you* are forgetting how hard it is to run such a big household.
Julie: well said, and so right on, el. love this day of family love. dad would have loved this, the old sap.
Ann: Hi everyone. Loved all the messages, y'all said it beautifully, we are an amazing family. I have a 4x6 picture at my workstation of Pocmont and people always alk me about y'all. Mom you are amazing, we all learned, and are still learning so much from you and Dad.
There is a song on the Oh Brother Where Art Thou cd called keep on the sunny side, I always think of the song when something comes up. Have gret evenings all I love you all Ann
Julie: that's the song we sang in the kitchen at Jane's house at Christmas. love.
Ann: no we sang Ill fly away another awesome tune at Christmas
Julie: we sang both! or at least i did. while i was cooking something. what was i cooking?
Julie: ah yes, that was some damn fine gravy, too.
Mom: the best ever
Julie: hi mommy! smooch!
Mom: smooches to you too, I'm really going to bed now - woke up at 5:45 this morning. anyone watching the dog show at Madison Square Garden - such wild and crazy specimens! xoxo mom
So at this point the conversation is going in two distinct directions: strong Corey women and the dog show. Ellie is usually very helpful about changing the subject line as needed. These messages are seldom read and responded to in order from coast to coast, so it can be tricky to sort out what anyone is talking about.
Ellie:Re: Public Broadcasting and Life and Doggies
Oh I love that dog show. I love reading about it in the Times -- they have a great reporter covering it. They'll give me highlights on ESPN at the Dutch tomorrow...................
MB: The dog show is one "sporting event" I have zero interest in -- can't watch OR read the stories, lol.
Meanwhile, back in the strong Corey women thread:
Mom, to Jane: I remember so well at our Christmas visit - "mom, the toilet is overflowing", "mom, Hubble's bleeding " and who put the air hockey table together? - where DID you come from... I love you mom
Ellie: Mom kept telling me to call for Doug when Hubba-Bubba was bleeding in the kitchen but I was like, "Mom! Do you *see* the way Jane and that doggie gaze at eachother?! I think Jane will want to know!!"
(And *never* let a non-Corey put an airhockey table together; I wouldn't.)
Jane: that's what I told mom, too, about the air hockey table. I'm my fadda's daughda.
Ellie: Me too. I think it's so funny that mom thinks it's a man thing that makes peeps good at that stuff -- actually it's a *Corey* thing! Bill (and his Dad before him) would shove the screw into the hole with a hammer to make it fit or something. And get frustrated and leave it. And not clean up after himself.
Jacquie: LOL all the day. You can tell a Corey from a non-Corey by her (or his, formerly) reaction to a set of assembly directions. Wringing hands = spouse; rubbing hands in glee = Corey.
Julie: oh my God, it's true. We're little mini dads. he lives on!
Ellie: I know -- I get *so* excited. I still make peeps look inside my toilet tank when they come over.
(updated note from Jacquie: although I didn't chime in on this stream of consciousness at the time, I have to admit that I have both Corey and Mom-ish/spouse genetics. I swoon over assembly projects and git'er done, but have also been known to hammer in a screw and go running into the night. I'm sort of famous for doing things...um, quickly in my house, and sometimes I don't even read the directions, and so what if some stuff is crooked?)
Mom: Oh my God, I am such a non-Corey - I see assembly directions and I go running into the night. Dad would get a new anything and would sit for hours reading the friggin manual - with a big smile on his face. I loved the dialogue that happened today - I was at work stressing about my paper work and you all jumped to my defense - thank you dollies, I know I can do it, but I don't have to like it, right? It got me thinking back to "the day" , and how Ellie said I wasn't sitting around eating bon bons, as it were. When I think back to the years of dinner for eight every night, Sunday dinners - often with Sittoo and Lill and Babe - not to mention the every day school, work, games, orthodontist, etc. it's mind blowing. I've been trying to figure out, for the record, when I was on Jeopardy. I have a letter from them thanking me being on it, but no date. Aunt Kitty thought it was early 70's, but one thing I remember clearly about the show was that I wanted to talk about my 6 daughters, but Art Fleming zeroed in on the fact that Jacquie and I were taking guitar lessons! from one of the nuns ! Sister Christoff, maybe? Do you remember Jacq? So it certainly wasn't early 70's, unless Jacquie was a protege.... okay, I'm rambling... later loves.. mamas an
Ellie: No, it was me! Me!
We got to watch in the convent. I was in 3rd grade. Possibly second, but I thought 3rd was when you and *I* took gee-tar lessons together. So 1970 or 1971.
Jacquie: What? I have no earthly recollection of such an event. I've always told my kids that you ere on jeopardy before I was born! They're going to be pissed that I don't quite remember that OR the guitar lessons.
Ellie: It was me. I'm shaking my fist at the heavens (but only kidding, Mom) -- I got airtime on Jeopardy! I was so excited!. It was after you were born, Jacquie, when we were back from Korea, but before you had memories.
Ellie: Mom, to this day, when I hear The 59th St. Bridge Song ("Feeling Groovy"), which we learned from Sister Christoff, with little pieces of different-colored tape on the neck to show us where our fingers should go to play the chords, I still sing, "D, A, E, A, da da da da da da da da da, Feeling Groovy, D, A, E, A".
Julie: well, there's your proof. you can't make that shit up.
Mom: You're so right Ellie, it's all coming back. Lol that I thought it was Jacquie, oops. Didn't we also learn Leaving on a Jet Plane? Jeez, if we stuck with it we might've been on the Grammys.... nite nite loves... mamasan
Ellie: YAY! You remember! Yes, we sang Jet Plane, too, although I don't sing those chords when I sing that song..........
MB: I so remember going to the STAS convent (with the Cronins) to watch Mom on Jeopardy! at noon. No idea what year, though...
Julie: have I said today how much I love you people? I love you.
Mom: re: Wednesday Morning all, leavin on a jet plane is singing away in my brain all the night long, lol..
Speaking of Jeopardy:
Mom: Does anyone else think Watson on Jeopardy is ridiculous?
MB: YES! I find it unwatchable. Although I did tune into Final Jep last night and found it hysterical that the category was US Cities and Watson's answer was Toronto, lolol
Jacquie: I can't watch it either, I just can't. Maybe there's some explanation for why the competition even exists is this format, but I can't watch long enough to figure that out. I miss the days when game shows sent typed, undated letters to thank contestants for their participation!
Julie: I do. I watched the first night, but had a board meeting last night and missed it. when I realized, I was glad. I already know computers are smart, it's smart PEOPLE that impress me. and poor Ken, getting his ass handed to him.
to be continued... always and every day, thankfully. Aren't we lucky?