Mother’s Day!

Though of course I completely think made-up holidays (and really, aren’t they all?) are nonsense, I do (sadly) see the importance of things like Mother’s Day because it would seem some unfortunate women really don’t get much thanks or attention, for all they do, except on dates shoved in the faces of their partners and children. So, if Mother’s Day means some women gets taken out for the first time in five months, or gets breakfast in bed, fine.

Americans are planning to spend an average of $139 on Mother’s Day gifts this year. That’s a stunning $16 billion national spending frenzy that would have horrified Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day.

Anna lobbied for the creation of the holiday as a tribute to her mother and mothers everywhere. Her efforts paid off in 1914 when President Wilson officially designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Later on, after seeing her holiday cheapened by rampant commercialism, Anna denounced her own holiday. She wrote:

I wanted [Mother’s Day] to be a day of sentiment, not profit.

A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world.

And candy! You take a box to Mother — and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.

What will you do to route charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers and other termites that would undermine with their greed one of the finest, noblest and truest movements and celebrations? Source:

Ironically, Anna would spend the rest of her life fighting against the holiday she created. She tried claiming copyright over Mother’s Day and started protesting so vigorously against it that she once got arrested for disturbing the peace.

The poignantly surreal ending to Anna’s story sounds like something straight out of a John Irving novel:

In 1943, Jarvis was 79 years old and broke. Partially deaf and blind, she was transported to a sanitarium in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

For reasons unrecorded, the Florists’ Exchange, a trade association, picked up some of her bills, unbeknownst to her. And even after she told a reporter she was sorry she ever started the whole thing, she received thousands of Mother’s Day cards each May until she died, in 1948. Source: Smithsonian.

From WiseBread, a pretty cool site I just found looking for Mother’s Day images for the card I’m making. At first I thought it was just another “Ehow” type site, full of shoddy copy-and-paste articles from “freelancers”  trying to earn half a penny every time you read their crappy “how-to.” They also have a pretty good article on making moonshine* and recommend a book called “Possum Living,” so I bookmarked it. The “free deals of the day” don’t suck. Not to mention, free documentaries? I enjoyed reading these frugal lessons, confirming I am indeed a 86 year-old woman.

Speaking of documentaries, I’ve been on a roll. A Film Unfinished aired on PBS recently and oh my lord, it was fascinating. I’ve read and read and read about the Warsaw Ghetto, seen some photographs, but to see it on film was amazing (and horrorific). Every time I read a new memoir or watch another documentary, I’m further shocked by what human beings are capable of (recommended: the BBC’s “Auschwitz”). It’s completely indescrible, truly you must see it, to believe it. One’s mind can’t even begin to fathom such living conditions…also watched The Love Goddesses, more great antique fashion footage and gender history.

Last night I had soft-shell crabs for the first time (just grilled, no sauce or anything, delicious) and watched The Toe Tactic. “I dunno,” I said as I slid it across the counter, “it sounds a little precocious.”

And I wanted to think it was. Too quirky, too indie…but I loved it. A real gem of indie-film (not Indie, I’m looking at you Miranda July) with spunk and imagination. I watch sooooo many movies out of boredom (up to four or five a day, sometimes) and it was a joy to really enjoy watching a movie and relish the characters and script, delight in “what’s going to happen??” and not just sit here, zoning out.

That free doc site has Eyes on the Prize, a fantastic documentary on the Civil Rights movement. We watched some of it in my 60s history class, it’s great. I’m looking forward to Freedom Riders, this month. Golly pete, that site has a lot of movies…I recommend:


Why We Fight

Who Killed the Electric Car


Eyes on the Prize

*RE: moonshine…I want to make some apple jack, I think, to share with BRC. Habanero tequila? I want something heinous to earn a souvenir shot glass on Raider’s night at the Booby Bar…I’ve only ever made bacon vodka, and people are still mad at me for that one. (it was awful). So, any ideas or things you’d like to drink?

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One Response to “Mother’s Day!”

  1. N Says:

    Possum Living I read a long time ago and it seemed revolutionary to me, that being employed could be seen as an option. I also liked the Firefox books.

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