Hats off to Mom!


Did you call your mother “Mom” when you were little? I never did. On my block, where I grew up, each house had a different name for her. Matka. Mamaka. Mamma. Ma. Mutter. Depended on where they were from.

On our block in Queens, 25 two-story houses lined each side of the street, and the people who lived in them came from all over Europe. After World War II, New York was filled with “displaced persons,” as they were called, and immigrants. Our block was typical of a lot of New York, back then.

Decades later, I would read in the N. Y. Times that Jackson Heights, the neighborhood I lived in, was the single most diverse neighborhood in any city in the U.S. To us, it was just home. That’s how I got started learning lots of languages. Whenever I went to visit or play with a friend, I had to be civil to the parents or grandparents who let me in.

In that neighborhood, the terms “Mom” or “Dad” were pure Hollywood. The only time I ever heard those words was on “Leave it to Beaver” on TV, or in movies.

Whatever you used to call her — or still do, if you’re lucky — whether you are a mother, or have one, or had one you’d like to honor on this day, or hope to be one someday — I wish you a very

Happy Mother’s Day!


10 thoughts on “Hats off to Mom!

  1. I can see my daughter Luna writing something like that one day :). She calls me “mamá, mom, umma” (Spanish, English, Korean) and we live in a very diverse community in Venice beach where she gets to interact with people from all around the world. My childhood was quite different. I was raised in a 300 people village in Northern Spain, in an area where the same families have been for generations. I would say even for centuries! I have learnt to honor the good parts of tradition and embrace diversity and change. It defines somehow how I live my life, and how I mother too.
    Thanks for sharing Dierdre!

  2. Happy Mother’s Day D!
    Thanks for another timely and insightful post.

  3. Happy Mother’s Day to you too Dierdre. I read your blog to your brother, your goddaughter and my brother Victor. We all liked it and talked about it.
    Maria Wolownick

    • I’m glad it made you all talk about it. That’s what blogging is all about — bringing people together. Happy to be the catalyst. 🙂

  4. Blessings to you! Thank you for sharing! I think of you often

    • That poll looks mostly at race. In the NYC I grew up in, the rich diversity was mostly evident in ethnicity. Every house on my block was a different ethnicity, different language, customs, world outlook…but mostly the same race. Those 2 types of diversity are worlds apart (pardon the pun!). It would be really interesting to see that kind of poll today, to be able to compare apples with apples instead of with the oranges of yesteryear.

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