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My Mom Project

My Mom Project

Wednesday March 24, 2021 By Felicia Garland

My mom, Lorraine, all of 94-years of age, has lived with me for most of the last dozen years or so.

God bless her, she is in fabulous shape, both mentally and physically, for someone her age.

She insists on keeping busy, demanding to do the weekly laundry, empty the dishwasher and “move the vacuum around,” as she calls it. Frankly, it’s been a big help. I’m not particularly fond of doing those things, and who am I to keep her from staying in shape?

She grew up on a farm in North Dakota during the Great Depression, and while her immediate family was small (she had only one brother), her extended family is huge---and almost to a person they remained in North Dakota.

At age 18 she defied convention and moved to the West Coast, married my dad and together raised my sister and me there. Growing up I can count on one hand the number of times I saw my aunt, uncle and cousins, and on two hands the number of times I saw my maternal grandparents. We were not that close, and hence I know very little about them.

Over the years my mom has told us stories about her childhood, her family, the Depression, escaping the farm--just little snippets here and there as something would trigger a memory. Frequently, she would drop in the names of obscure relatives. You know what I mean, “Oh, that was Lucille’s cousin Bob; he married Stella who was related to Bill and Sarah.” “Clem died of leukemia, Martha had dementia and depression ran in the family.” Allegedly, my mom went to school with Angie Dickinson and my great aunt Mimi had been engaged to Lawrence Welk.

Recently, I have begun to worry that when she passes all the stories and names and experiences will pass with her. As I said, my knowledge of those things is very sketchy, and my sons (and eventually their children) will have no opportunity to learn about her life once she is gone.

So, yesterday I began what I call The Mom Project.

Here I am interviewing perfect strangers while a very interesting guest is sleeping right down the hall. Why not take whatever interviewing skills I have and record my mom and HER stories?

Have you ever seen someone’s face light up? I’m sure you have. Well, when I told her about the project, what I thought we might discuss and that we would record our interviews…..her face practically glowed.

I’ll keep you posted on our progress. So far, she’s been jotting down notes from a sample list of topics and rummaging through her papers and notes. Later, we’ll turn on the computer and start to record her stories. I betcha she’ll be glowing the entire time.

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