For the next installment in our interview series I decided to ask my mom a few questions. Enjoy!
MikeDiDonato.com: Hi Mom D. Thank you very much for being willing to be the next Interview. You’ve been my mom for nearly 27 years now, for four of those years I have been blogging here on MikeDiDonato.com. How would you describe being a mother of an active blogger?
Mom D: Well, Mike D., in the beginning, being the mother of an active blogger was a bit stressful. Though I felt that I had a pretty good handle on what the general feeling of the site would be, I was also aware that perhaps I was off the mark and that the blog would hold unknown horrors that I would cringe upon reading and that I would perhaps be praying that no one would stumble upon mikedidonato.com. I am thrilled to say that you and the people who participate in the blog have held a very high and entertaining standard – it no longer sends chills down my spine when someone says, “hey, I just read Mike’s website” and I no longer feel I have to hope that people I know don’t read it – in fact, I’ve actually proudly sent many people to the website!
MikeDiDonato.com: Few people here know much about you other than little Mom tidbits that may have popped up here or there. Can you tell us a little bit about your life, not as a mom, but as an art teacher and an assistant librarian?
Mom D: My art teacher days were a lot of fun and very interesting. Art teachers have a somewhat different relationship with students than a regular classroom teacher in that art tends to be fun, kids like it and enjoy coming to class – also, some of the academically challenged kids have lots of talent, which is a joy to see and it’s great to be a positive part of their day. In that way, working in a library is very similar. We are there to help and make life easier for the kids, so students choose to come to the library. The high school kids are excellent and can be a lot of fun (and they’re really funny at times, whether they know it or not!).
MikeDiDonato.com: How long have you been quilting? and can you tell us about your first quilting experience?
Mom D: When we moved to Stoneham in 1974, the town offered Adult Ed classes. One of the women I worked with at Wakefield High was teaching quilting, and there was heightened interest in traditional, “folk” arts and crafts because of the upcoming Bicentennial. Since I already had an interest in sewing, quilting seemed like something that would be fun and useful at the same time (got to keep the family warm!). Thus began the Quilting Experience – and it’s very easy to pick out the older quilts because the fabric is Oh-So-Seventies. I still enjoy quilting and have a couple of things going on at all times.
MikeDiDonato.com: I have a couple quilts of yours and I love ’em. I know you’re always reading something, what’s on your bedstand these days?
Mom D: Right now I’m reading all of Vince Flynn’s books. He writes novels that deal with political intrigue, terrorist attacks that are thwarted at the last second by the fabulous Mitch Rapp (also known as Ironman), a former Marine, who is now working for the CIA, and other such gripping situations. Political novels normally are not of great interest to me, but one of the kids at the high school couldn’t read Flynn’s books fast enough, so I figured they were worth investigating – and they are real page-turners! There are commandos, rangers, SEALS, torture specialists, upstanding citizens/politicians, slimy citizens/politicians – all kinds of conspiracies. Very good reads. I do recommend The Time Traveler’s Wife for a very interesting and wonderful read. Also, Michael Chabon’s Kavalier and Clay and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union. His short stories are excellent, too, and I’m not a big short story fan. I like Michael Connelly’s books, Harlan Coben’s, Kellerman (Jonathan and Fay), Patricia Cornwell – and The Other Boleyn Sister (or Girl, I forget which) was really good, too. Oh, and A Prayer for Owen Meany is a MUST read. I could go on and on….
MikeDiDonato.com I can provide a second vote for The Time Traveler’s wife. It’s a winner. Do you have any fun memories from your childhood growing up with three little brothers?
Mom D: Christmas was always interesting, as the brothers could not wait until morning to find out what Santa had brought. One year, there were little corncob pipes (like Popeye pipes) that were in the Christmas stockings. When a tiny button was pushed under the the little “tobacco” part, a soft red glow was emitted. One of the boys used that to light his way as he sneaked downstairs, inspected all the gifts, and reported back what everyone received. The only surprise that year was on our parents’ faces as we came flying down at the appointed hour saying, “where’s my____” and “Can’t wait to play with your_____”. No more light sources were given in years to come.
One of the boys sold all of his Indian head penny collection and buffalo nickel collection to buy candy. Bet the candy man was happy with that sale!
And I believe at times matches were lit (glad the house didn’t burn down) and there were various and sundry war games going on at all times. Guns were very popular back then, be they squirt guns, cap guns, air rifles, you name it. Civil War games were popular. Ah, the old days….
MikeDiDonato.com: Do you think it’s harder or easier for parents now versus when you were raising us and when your parents were raising you?
Mom D: This is just my personal opinion: In the 50’s – 60’s, when I was growing up, I think that parents had an easier time in that their word was law, no discussion. At the same time, any deviation from the norm was hard for many parents to adjust to, and in the 60’s and 70’s, this became an issue for a lot of people. Plus, I don’t think that many parents really knew their children very well because in many families there was not an open exchange of ideas.
Perhaps on the rebound, many in our group of parents went the other way, with a very relaxed child rearing technique, so much so that some children had no boundaries and many parents were very afraid of damaging the child’s self-esteem to the point that everything was okay and all children were winners at everything (wasn’t this about the time that every child always got a prize for everything? Even the little kids didn’t really value a trophy when everyone received one). You’d know better than I how that plays out in the real world with your age group. Right now, I would think that it would be very difficult to parent because of all of the technology (cell phones, IMing, facebook, myspace, texting, chat rooms, videos, cable TV, etc.) which separates people from those who are actually near them and which can have pre-teen and high school students always feeling like they are missing something if they aren’t connected. Kind of like there may be a party going on somewhere and you might not be invited – a lot of angst going on. Not to mention the danger of forming relationships with people the young person knows only from online conversations. It’s got to be hard to keep materialism under control, and very difficult to have to leave kids with sitters in order to afford a mortgage on a reasonably good home. Ah, for the good ol’ days! I really think it’s harder today.
MikeDiDonato.com: What do you think was the biggest challenge in raising us?
Mom D: Trying not to impose my fears onto you all. Obviously, I was successful in that regard, as there is no way I would attempt many of the things you all do regularly. You’ll notice that once you all broke free of my shackles (which apparently just barely kept you under control…) you all went wild and continue to horrify and impress me.
MikeDiDonato.com: haha! I’m sorry that we horrify you, but it’s for the best. To end, do you have a favorite MikeDiDonato.com post?
Mom D: They have all been a lot of fun, but there was one long involved one with people adding to a story and it went on and on….what was that one? Seems to me that one was especially fun.
MikeDiDonato.com: hmm. I don’t know! Do any of the readers remember which one she’s referring to?
Thanks so much for taking my interview questions mom! You’re the best.