This might be the last question post for a while - although I haven't run out of questions. Some of the remaining questions will require more thought than I have to spare right now, and some of them are going to launch their own singular post. Again, I must say how impressed I was with your imagination. I've had fun reading, thinking and answering them all. Tomorrow we will be back to Friday Fragments, as usual.
What's a typical day like in the life of M.E.?
If I actually answered this question, I’m afraid my readers would simultaneously develop that sleeping sickness. I’m unhappily unemployed right now, so I spend a lot of time looking for a job, so far unsuccessfully. Other than that, I do house stuff, and yard stuff, and attend a lot of Alex’s activities. See? Boring.
How's the play going? What show is it and what is your role?
The play is coming along nicely. I’m having a bit of a panic attack, since we’re less than two weeks from opening night, and I have this “oh my gosh, how will we ever be ready???” feeling. Those who have been working in theater more recently than I assure me this is normal and nothing to worry about. The play is called Never Too Late, and it’s a comedy. I’m stage managing and assistant to the director, and having a ball.
If you were to morph into a canine, what breed would you be, and why?
Physically, I more or less resemble a Corgi (short legs, round body) but in my head, I’m a Border Collie (energetic and eager to please).
Where have you traveled?
When I was a teenager, I went to Italy for 10 glorious days. I’ve been to Canada a lot (since Maine is not far from our neighbor to the north). I’ve been all along the east coast, down to Florida, and as far west as St. Louis, MO. My favorite cities in the US, ones that I keep repeating visits to, are New York City, Boston and Washington, DC. One of my greatest regrets is that I have not traveled more, and I plan to remedy that someday.
What is your ideal place to live?
I got many variations on this question. I love Maine, although the winters are hard. I wouldn't want to spend all year anywhere that didn't really experience the change of seasons, because I just love that part of living up here. I guess I'd like to spend most of the year in Maine, but spend a couple of months (January and February, probably) somewhere warmer. Someplace I could golf and maybe sit on a beach with a book and one of those umbrella drinks.
What is the one thing you hope your neighbors never learn about you?
Everything. I hope I remain just as much a mystery to them as they are to me. I live in a fairly rural area, and we’re pretty spread out, so it’s not a friendly, sit-on-the-front-stoop-and-chat kind of place.
When you learned your birth name, were you tempted to try it out?
Oh, yes. I said it over and over to myself to see how it sounded. I kept thinking that Marjorie Ann was not that different than Mary Ellen. I had a couple of my friends call me Marjorie, just so I could see what that felt like. In the end, however, I’m not Marjorie. I mean, I could have been, perhaps, but that isn’t the way it worked out. My parents named me Mary Ellen, and that’s who I’ve become.
In the last few years (5?), what single event most changed your life?
It has to be the changing of the law that opened up Maine’s birth records so that I could access my original birth certificate. That piece of paper has changed everything. Although things haven’t been working out so well (yet!), there is a whole world of possibility out there now. Just knowing who my birth mother is and what my original given name was, after waiting my whole life for this information, was a transforming event.
Alice, who is having a baby, wanted to know:
1. How did you choose your sons' names?
2. What is the best part of a mother/son relationship? Hardest?
3. Any advice for raising a good, well-rounded boy?? (Both yours seem to be great kids!)
First of all, thanks for saying that. I wish I had some great story for how I picked the kids’ names, but I don’t. I bought one of those baby name books and started through it. The first name we got to that both of us liked was Brandon (and this was before 90210 made the name famous!) and that was it. We had picked out Paige Allison for a girl. With the second one, we went all the way through the book without agreeing and started back at the A’s again. My only criteria was that this one had to have a nickname (we discovered that there is no good nickname for Brandon, although one of my friends used to call him BranMuffin). We settled on Alexander John (Emily Marie for a girl).
The best thing about the mother/son relationship is realizing how deep the love is. There’s a moment when you realize that you love this other person more than you could have ever imagined - so much that you’d gladly give your life for them. That’s a pretty profound feeling. The other really cool thing is that you get to skip the teenage girl hormone thing. The hardest part is definitely letting them go. It seems like every day they take another step away from you, which is how it is supposed to be, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Whether it’s them riding their bike without you holding on, or driving out of the driveway on the way to prom, it all takes a little piece of your heart. I’m so proud of my kids, and I love them so much – they are definitely the best things to ever happen to me.
Advice for raising a boy? Gosh. I believe there are a million good ways to raise kids, and not one particular perfect way. I think we have to parent in a way that works with our personalities, as well as our kids’ personalities. I wanted to live in a happy, peaceful home, so I focused on that. No screaming or hitting allowed. Rough play outdoors. Whining not permitted. I wanted my sons to have a great relationship with each other, so I worked really hard at that. I exposed them to as many different activities as I could afford, and then fostered the ones they showed interest in. We laughed a lot (still do) and this has totally saved me many many times. I thought it was really important to teach my children that they are not the center of the universe, and this has led to them growing up to be (mostly) polite and caring young men. And, just for you, Alice, I’ll share with you the secret agreement I made with each of my sons that has served me well: When they were very small – maybe four or five years old – we made a deal. If they didn’t embarrass me in front of my friends, I wouldn’t embarrass them in front of theirs. If they behaved nicely when we were out in public, then I didn’t correct them in front of their friends. Best bargain I ever struck, let me tell you.
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