Friday, May 07, 2021

Saturday 9

 Saturday 9: Mom (2016)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Meghan Trainor's mom gets a vocal credit on this song ("featuring Kelli Trainor") because the audio of a mother/daughter phone call is included on the recording. Who is the last person you spoke to (not texted!) on the phone? My art director. We've been crazy busy at work these past few weeks. I look forward to the time when a ringing phone means a fun conversation and not project work.

2) The earliest version of this song was a poem co-written by Meghan and her brother as a gift to their mom. Do you enjoy writing/crafting/baking or [insert your skill here] gifts for people? Not really. I write entertaining letters and emails, but I'm terrible at coming up with a clever or heartfelt sentiment for a greeting card.

3) Meghan's mom ran Jewel of the Isle, a jewelry store in Nantucket, MA. Have you ever visited Massachusetts? If so, where have you gone? I've been to Boston a couple of times. I especially enjoyed my little side trip to the nearby suburb of Brookline. Visiting the home where JFK was born and then the somewhat larger house where he lived into adolescence helped put Kennedy family lore in context. In the Brookline days, they were a well-off family with a lot of kids, living on a nice street. Then Joseph Kennedy made major money. When the rest of the country was plunged into Depression, Joe was able to move his family to a 20-room mansion in Bronxville, NY. Today the Kennedys are considered an American dynasty -- and the family worth is still estimated at over a billion dollars -- but in real time Joe and Rose were nouveau riche outsiders, considered tacky pretenders by the WASP establishment. They aren't DuPonts or Rockefellers. The Kennedys are a 20th century phenomenon, and seeing the house in Brookline hammered that home for me.

83 Beals Street in Brookline

I toured the house was delighted to see these books in his nursery. These are JFK's actual copies of King Arthur and Billy Whiskers. I don't buy into the Camelot myth and believe it was Jackie's savvy post-assassination invention.* But Billy Whiskers really did impress him. An imaginative goat with an independent streak, Billy Whiskers just couldn't stay out of trouble. Young Jack's grandmother and nanny noted he couldn't get enough of it, and his mother Rose thought Billy Whiskers was "a rascal" and a bad influence. It tickled me to see the actual book that turned my favorite President into a lifelong, voracious reader.

The copy of Billy Whiskers he held in his pre-school hands.

 *I accept that JFK read about King Arthur because he read whatever he could get his hands on but I've never seen anything that indicated it was a favorite.

4) Mother's Day is a big holiday for card shops. So are birthdays, weddings, and dozens of other special occasions. Hallmark sells greetings for everything from "Congratulations on Your New Job" to "Happy Retirement." Who received the most recent card you bought? I just sent my friends Henry and Reg an "anniversary" card of sorts. Next weekend is the 30th anniversary of the day they first met, though they said no more than a casual "hello" on a crowded dance floor. Still, May 16, 1991 is a big day in Henry's heart and so I'm celebrating it.

5) While Crazy Sam was growing up, her mother used to scold her for leaving dirty dishes in the sink. Sam admits it: as an adult she still puts off washing her dishes. Are you more like mother or daughter? Do you clean up after every meal, or do you let the dishes stack up? I'm a slob. I do my dishes, wipe out my microwave and clean my George Foreman grill every Monday, though all that should be done more often.

6) Mother's Day is for grandmothers, too. Sam grew up calling her grandmother "Grandgran." What did you call your grandmother? Out loud, they were both called Grandma. In my head, they were "Nice Grandma" and "Icky Grandma."

7) The German word for "mother" is "mutter." What other German words do you know? "Gutentag" is a friendly greeting.

8) In the United Kingdom, Mothering Sunday is celebrated. It's on the fourth Sunday in Lent (March 14 this year) and in addition to flowers and cards, mothers are treated to Simnel cake. Are you going to indulge in any sweets this weekend? I indulge in sweets every weekend.

9) To celebrate Mother's Day, Sam is giving away her mother's favorite: Hershey Bars! Would you prefer classic milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or milk chocolate with almonds? I'll go with almonds.