In one of my earliest memories, I’m sitting at my mother’s feet, scribbling on yellow manuscript paper as she types at her dropleaf desk. I must have been about three, the age of my granddaughter Jasper today, and I was quieter, more introverted than Jasper. Still, it’s a wonder my mother got any work done. She was writing short stories, I learned as I grew older, and submitting them to The New Yorker, which she and my father read religiously. She persevered for years, but she accumulated only rejection slips. Eventually she gave up, and submersed herself in the standard 1950’s roles of mother, housewife and hostess. Still, I believe those early experiences of nestling close by her knees as she typed inspired my love of writing.
I wish she’d lived long enough to read my published novels, but she died in 1970. She was only 61, younger than I am now. June 4th is her birthday, and she’s in my thoughts today.