My mother likes to do drive bys and reminisce. When she first moved back to Boston a few years ago, every time my sister and I went to visit she’d have a new memory laden location she wanted to cruise to. She liked to drive by the house we grew up in “ Oh look they knocked the garage down- remember you two and the Walwoods put on that play in there? That was great” and the church that we went to “ Girls, look at St. Elizabeths. Alot of memories there- first communions, confirmations, CCD. Confessions~ you girls had a lot to confess to. I’m kidding! The church does look nice though doesn’t it?’
Now that she has been back in Boston for a few years, she has run out of good memories to rehash. Now she likes to try to trigger flashbacks of disgraceful behavior. A few months ago she drove us by one of the parks in Milton where we played softball as kids “ Kendra, do you remember when you struck that girl out that made fun of you for being fat? What did she call you? It was really mean. Whaaaaaat? What? It’s a good memory- you struck her out! You were the PITCHER. Jeez I can’t say anything”
I contemplate jumping out of a moving vehicle.
The memories get more wretched and shoddy as time goes on.
She took me to a vintage clothing store in Quincy. She raved about this store. “Great designer names, vintage furs, funky stuff- cheap! I don’t think the lady knows what she could get for this stuff but Christ, I’m keeping my mouth shut. You know what this used to be don’t you? Club California. That under 21 dance club you went to when you were 14 and you came home with a hickey? 14 years old with a hickey! I cried. Do you remember I cried? That was here. This sweater looks like you. ”
Now it’s to the point where we don’t want to get in the car with her. When we do, she pretends she remembers stories spontaneously as we “happen” to drive by. The unintended drive by. Thursday we drove through Southie on our way to Marshalls, my mother pretended like she couldn’t remember how to get there “ Now, is this the left ?’
“No, Mom, that’s the parking lot to the carpet cleaners store - keep going straight” my sister shouts out.
“Oh my, is that a carpet cleaners now? This used to be a D’angelos . Kristen, you know this is where you and Alison got really drunk on St Paddy’s Day when you were 12, remember? You told me you were going to her family’s house. You lied, remember? You lied to me and then I think you puked on yourself didn’t you? That was here I think. What?? What?? You kids need to learn how to talk about the past. Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I haven’t had D’angelos in a dogs age.”
She’s really good at delivering painful information in a whimsical storytelling style. She should start a crime tour company so she could show people the exact location of murders, abductions and betrayals. “ They found his torso right here BUT they didn’t find his head for another mile up the road, right by that gorgeous hibiscus. Wow what a tree. Hibiscus tea- very good for you. So that’s where his head was. Anybody need a bathroom break? I do ’
Happy Birthday Mum!
Thanks for listening!
Kendra is a stand up comic living in Brooklyn where she owns a super comfortable bed. She spends most of her time wondering where the hell her sugar daddy is and hoping he didn’t settle.