You’d have to know my mom. She was smart, funny, and a lover of life. She was not cuddly. She avoided emotions as one would a bill collector. So, her reaction to the first few chapters of my book made me giddy.
After reading, she set down the manuscript and looked at me with mild annoyance. “It that all you’ve done? You need to get writing.”
That meant she loved it. If she hadn’t, she’d have said, “It’s very nice, Mary Beth.” See, you had to know her.
Last week that book finally appeared on Amazon, and how I wish she were here to see it. She wouldn’t gush—that would make me suspicious. She’d wear a look of satisfaction, though, and it would be enough.
My mom adored books. Until she became ill, she read like a starving woman at a church picnic. One of my early memories (no, not the one where I peed on the kindergarten classroom floor) is of the pride in her eyes when I turned six. She marched me down to the local library and said to the clerk, “My daughter needs a library card.”
I didn’t really understand what was going on at first, but it was clear this was special, a treasure of some sort. Mom handed it to me like it was a living thing. “Now you can get books to read yourself.”
An amazing gift. Every description of the wonder of reading has already been written. I’ll just say, it’s like that mythical pot of gold that never empties. She could have handed me a hundred-dollar bill and it would soon be gone, but you never run out of books. Never.
Yesterday, I took my novel to our local library. Receiving it, Kim Hatfield, the manager, asked me to whom I’d like it dedicated. I hadn’t thought about it, but knew immediately.
“My mom,” I said. “In memory of Mary Ellen Connor.”
Wish you were here.