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Frightening, Worry-Free Mother

Updated: Feb 20, 2022

I don’t search out writing prompts—

but in courses and at workshops I am compliant.

Writing Prompt Spring 2016: Write about one of the most frightening people in your life.

Frightening Mother

My mother was the only person who ever frightened me. The stories she told about us as little children were presented as funny, cute adventures never as life-threatening events.

Mr. Magaro from down the street knocked on the front door with me in his arms, “Lady, is this your baby?” He had plucked me from the ditch next to the road. Did the buggy tip over, bouncing me onto the grass? Did I pull myself up and tumble out?

If the buggy was near the backdoor so my mother could keep watch, it would have taken time for me to crawl across the yard and roll down the hill into the street. Thank goodness the storm water, which flowed through the ditch when it rained, had dried up. Or did he notice me before I drowned?

Mrs. Friedman would arrive our backdoor because there was an overgrown path through the brush from Inn 22. “Mrs. Nicholson, here’s your little girl again. The chef saw her playing in the driveway.” That’s why my sister Ronda had to be tied into her crib with rope for naps.

Mrs. Bender, the mother of my best friend Sherry, telephoned from her home across the street to say my sister Diane, still in diapers, was up on the highway. Mom’s response to her was something like, “If it isn’t her time to go, she’ll be ok. If it is, then there’s nothing you can do about it anyway.”

How often did she check on any of us? She wasn’t at a desk working from home as mothers do today. What was she doing?

Follow-up Prompt: Now write about the person from his/her point of view.

Worry-Free Mother

Peggy, you always exaggerate. If you kids behaved, I wouldn’t have needed to holler so much. I didn’t hit any of you—maybe had to smack you sometimes. But you kids did what you wanted anyway even if I did spank you.

That was so funny when Mr. Magaro came to the door with you. “Is this your baby, lady?” he said. Well, you know, back then we thought babies had to get fresh air and sun. I always put you in the buggy for your nap in the backyard when the weather was good. I guess I didn’t know you could pull yourself up then.

Well, what else could I do? Ronda was always climbing out of her crib and going out the back door and up to Inn 22. Mrs. Friedman was getting tired of bringing her home. I had to do something. Sometimes, even tying her in bed didn’t work.

Mrs. Bender acted like Diane on the highway was a real emergency. She should’ve been more relaxed and not think bad things always have to happen. Look how she made Sherry scared—you know Sherry wouldn’t cross the road with me saying, “OK, no cars are coming.” She would stand at the bottom of our steps and yell for her mother. No matter how many times I told her it was safe to cross, she wouldn’t go. She waited till her mother came out!

You kids were lucky and had it good. You never went hungry. You had a nice house and lots of space to play. I knew nothing bad would happen.

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