“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.”
— Rudyard Kipling
As we approach Mother’s Day, your mother has some advice for you.
So stand up straight and stop fidgeting.
We’ve gathered these tidbits from people around Atlanta (and elsewhere) who have mothers. Some are celebrity moms. Some are not.
Pay attention. You’ll thank us when you have children of your own.
•Faye Lenz (the mother of musician Paul Lenz, of the Nightporters) “Nothing good happens after midnight.”
•Helen Whitehead Sierer (the mother of Sally Bethea, adjunct professor at Georgia Tech and founding director of the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper): “Don’t buy a dog and then bark yourself.” Also: “It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor one.”
•Barbara Bolling Conroy (mother of Jessica Conroy and ex-wife of the late Pat Conroy): “Don’t borrow trouble.” (“Boy has this comforted me,” said Jessica.)
•Rollene Wells (mother of Virginia musician and songwriter Brooksie Wells): “Just because a relationship is finite, it doesn’t make it any less meaningful.”
•Betty Scarr (mother of Bob Scarr, archivist at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra): “It’s not how you start in life that’s important, it’s how you finish.”
•Therese Curtis (mother of PR maven Meg Reggie): “Proper grammar. She constantly corrected our English. Hated it then, but grateful now.”
•Dot Hibbert (mother of musician and attorney Jonny Hibbert): “Project your voice so that the back row can hear you.”
•Joyce Brackett (mother of musician Marlin Brackett): ” Ya don’t never know”
•Sadie Ann DeLoach (mother of writer Doug DeLoach): “Tuck in your shirt.”
•Ruth Lowery (mother of free-lance writer Betz Tillitski). “If wishes were fishes - we’d all have a fry!”
•Carole Hawkins Aguirre (mother of writer Holly Aguirre): “She said ‘Write what you know, be careful what you wish for, and never go out of the house in ripped underwear.’ Once when I was struggling to write up an interview with the late Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers, she said, ‘Well, what did he SOUND like?’ I said, ‘Santa Claus on acid.’ She said, ‘Write that.’ And that is how I found my voice and it has served me well for over 20 years as a journalist.”
•Georgia Henry Pearson (mother of artist and tavern owner Grant Henry): “Be good to your mother. You’ll be happy all your life.”
•Virginia Kean (mother of CNN producer Emily Kean Berg): “Lipstick makes everything better.” (“No idea if she gave the same advice to my brother!”)
•Neta Peppers (mother of Faith Peppers, director of public affairs at the University of Georgia Extension service): “Just because they make it in your size doesn’t mean you should wear it.”
•Barbara Abrams (mother of jazz photographer Susan Rosmarin): “My mother gave me two pieces of advice that I have used every day of my life so far: ‘If you hung your problems on a clothesline with everyone else’s, you would pick your own,’ and ‘Men are like buses, if you miss one, another one will come along, but the real relationships that last a lifetime are with your women friends.’”
•Sharon Hudson Shelton (mother of Stacy Shelton, clerk in the environmental division of Vermont Superior Court): “’Live your life with your whole heart.’ It was one of the last things Mom said, because she was dying of cancer and would transition in just a couple of days. She barely had the strength, but she lifted her arms straight up in the air and opened them wide when she said it.”
•Eve Mayberry (mother of educator Connie Mayberry): “We moved around a lot and sometimes had to pack on a moment’s notice. We’d scramble to stuff things in our suitcases, then she’d poke her head in to see our progress. She’d look from bag to bag and say, ‘Eliminate.’ And regarding relationships, she’d say ‘Give 80 percent, expect 20 percent.’”
•Eedee Adams (mother of songwriter and Emory University staffer Allison Adams): “Floss every day.”
•Rene Staerck (grandmother of IT consultant and blogger Michelle Sollicito): “If you’ve got it flaunt it, and if you ain’t got it, fake it!!”
•Lavon Dyer (mother of writer Candice Dyer): “Animals can’t speak for themselves, so it’s our job to speak for them.” Also: "Don’t wear white after Labor Day.” And “Handwritten thank-you notes. A must, for every occasion, even if the gift was tacky.”
•Marjorie E. O’Neal (mother of Brooklyn pastor and publisher Lea O’Neal): “She taught me how to be persistent and to get exactly what I would want. ‘Never give up’ was a theme that ran in our home.”
•Adeliah Isenhower (mother of public relations consultant Anne Isenhower): “Still quite applicable today: ‘Polite, but firm.’”
•Ann Wilson (mother to musician Amy Alice Wilson): “Be naughty. Save Santa the trip.”
•Ginger Hodges Carter Orr (mother to presidential granddaughter Margaret Carter): “Can’t never could do nothing.” And another one: “Thanksgiving can happen any day of the year.”
•Imogene Peabody Longino (mother of Habitat for Humanity staffer Bob Longino): “She told me life wasn’t fair. You get what you got and you deal with it.”
•Ellie Kelly Harrison (mother of musician and camera operator John Kelly): “If you want a good obituary, write it yourself.”
•Plueanna Cogswell Johnson (mother of 14, including Ira Joe Johnson, author and pastor): “You can do anything.” (“I met eight presidents from Richard Nixon to Trump, because I wanted to tell my mother that I did it,” said the son. “You know I can run faster when someone’s telling me I’m a fast runner. She was the wind beneath my wings.”)
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