Six things about my mother …
She liked to walk in the neighborhood on summer evenings and would get me to join her by saying, “Let’s go look in people’s windows.”
Linda Lee Gosney was born on October 6, 1938; she died on April 8, 1989, when she was fifty and I was twenty-eight and my brother was twenty-three, between the time she called for my father and the time he made it from his recliner to the bedroom, her mitral valve blown out like a flat tire at high speed, gone in a heartbeat.
Nine months and five days after her wedding, she gave birth to me.
One time when I was sunbathing on the deck and felt something poking me in the hip, I opened my eyes, and there she was with a spatula, deadpanning, “It’s time to turn you over.”
Once when I was a teen sleeping a Saturday away, she lured me with a cheerful call from the kitchen: “The Red Cross was here and they brought doughnuts.”
One morning I took two pretzel sticks from a bowl on the kitchen counter, looked in the bathroom mirror to arrange them like vampire fangs, headed back toward the kitchen with my hands in a scary vampire pose, and met her coming around the corner, her hands in a scary vampire pose, pretzel fangs stuck under her lip.
My essay “Fifty Things About My Mother” won the 2013 Iowa Review Nonfiction Prize and has been published in the December issue. To read fifteen of those fifty things, you can find a link in the table of contents here. To read all fifty, please consider buying a copy, or even investing in a subscription.