Category Archives: Mom

Here Comes Goodbye

And more, much more than this, she rode the subway

My favorite photo: Molly


Dance, then, wherever you may be

Back when she went by Peggy Jo, rolled her dungarees and flipped her hair, my mother used to jitterbug across the smooth, waxed floor of her parent’s basement.

Self taught in bobby socks, she and her friend Beanie spent hours practicing dance steps with whatever partners they could scare up from the neighborhood gang.

Their unbridled enthusiasm once landed poor Beanie in an ambulance, but her broken leg soon healed and the two friends danced on.

I’ve seen my mom polka with my Pap, an impressively fleet-footed coal miner; own the dance floor with “Sweet Shop”, a retired professional dancer more than half her age; and school her grandsons in the fine art of swing.

When we were young, my mom used to crank up the music and dance around the kitchen with a broom.

“She’s dancing with Bill Claire again,” my dad would say, in reference to my mom’s childhood pal.

The woman loves to dance. So, I knew, if I could coax her into a studio, she’d have a ball.

Last week, I took her to the Boogie Ballroom for a dance lesson. I grinned like a proud dance mom as co-owner Zeke Cribbs waltzed her around their beautiful studio.

Turns out my mom can still hoof it with the best of them. But, that wasn’t even the point. I don’t need my mom to take lessons to become a better dancer, or to prepare for an event.

I just wanted her to have fun.

Voltaire once said,”Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”

I’ll go Voltaire one further.

Dancing (and reading, for that matter) bring joy to the world. Dancing expands the mind and the lungs, it connects us with our partner and with our past.

My mom smiled as she whipped around that studio, and she challenged herself to learn new steps. She loved her lesson and can’t wait to go back.

I’m not sure what it is about dance and philosophers, but I’m going to throw one more quote at you.

Friedrich Nietzsche said, “We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”

I’m with him. Let’s go!

Here are a few pictures from my mom’s first lesson…

And here’s a little video I shot like a proud dance mom:

The last Homecoming dance

The last Homecoming dance of my maternal career ended with the happy waft of laughter.

For a moment, I thought about grabbing my camera and heading back downstairs where Molly and her friends had gathered spontaneously to recap the night.

I knew exactly the kind of shots I’d take, the pile of shoes gathered by door, wilted corsages, sweatshirts and suit jackets tossed over gowns, happily bare feet.

I’d tucked myself in bed a good while before, but it wasn’t my bright red flannel PJs and gold Packer robe that kept me from tip toeing down the stairs for a few more photos.

I have no jammie shame.

I stayed put because, for once, my camera and I didn’t want to intrude.

We shot 189 pictures Saturday night and I loved them all, even the blurry ones. I loved the pre-shots that should have smelled of hairspray and nail polish, and sounded like cheerful compliments. “Oh my God, you look amazing!” “I love your dress!” “Where did you get your shoes? I love them!” “Oh my God Emma just left with my dress in her car!” “Do you want to borrow one of mine?” “Yay! Sam’s here!” “I made you all corsages.”

I loved the just-one-more-before-we-go shots on our front porch when everyone stood politely though they were anxious to get on with their evening.

I loved the big group shots, and the groups within the groups shots, and the goofy shots, the sweet shots, the parent shots, the just-one-more shots, the parting shots.

My 14th Homecoming Dance photo shoot went very much like my first.

I’ve shot Homecoming pictures in freezing weather, in backyards, in country clubs, on a river, in the park and, once, on an actual red carpet.

I’ve stood, 14 times, with groups of parents waving goodbye to girls in wobbly heels and boys in stiff shirt collars. I’ve both seen and participated in the quick slip of an extra buck or two, the sly repinning of a sagging boutonniere.

“Have fun!” “Be good.” “Be safe.”

“Be safe.”

“Be safe.”

When I heard our side door open late Saturday night, and loud whispers drifted up the stairs, I stayed put.

Turns out, my work was done.

Hair and makeup

Hair and makeup usually happens at our house, which means crimping, curling, chaos and chatter.

Theatre kids

These theatre kids can rock the make-up. It’s a whirl of kindness and cat-eyes.

Multi Tasking

Impressive multi-tasking.

Vince and Molly

I love this picture of Molly and Vince.

Molly and Colleen

Colleen and Molly have been friends since birth.


I honestly didn’t think she’d do it. Here’s Molly gamely leaping off our front porch on her way to the Homecoming dance.

Jack Molly and Rachel

I think this might be my favorite picture because no one knew I was taking it.

Mary Poppins

A nod to Mary Poppins from Ms. Poppins herself, and Jane Banks.

Molly and Jack

Neighbors, classmates, cast mates and friends. Also, they matched the chapel doors nicely.

Molly and Jaya

A pop of color. Check out their wrist corsages, made by the talented Syd.


This picture makes me laugh. The senior girls are waiting for someone, the junior girls a vogueing and the sophomore girls posing. Parental paparazzi abound.

Molly and Me

Our last Homecoming dance. Spit. spot. My work is done. (Photo credit Jaya Mallela)

Here’s to Gulliver, the first turkey I ever cooked (a post by Molly)

A pre-Mother’s Day romp through the Xavier Food Fair