On this date one year ago I published my first post on this blog.
On this date 70 years ago Theodore Cowell was born to a single mother in Vermont. That name is unfamiliar to most, but the little boy would grow up to become quite well-known. Early in childhood, Ted’s last name would be changed after being adopted by his stepfather, Johnny Bundy.
Also on this date 70 years ago a baby girl was born in Michigan who would grow up to be a single mom. Her last name would also change. In her case, it happened as an adult when she got married and kept it after her divorce. She would not become famous, but she would become my mom.
She was a sweet, loving woman who could surprise you with her enjoyment of tasteless humor. Shortly after his execution, she told me a popular joke about the man who shared her birthday. “Did you hear the news? Ted Bundy finally quit smoking.” She continued smoking for another couple decades, until her death in 2011.
Her humor was no surprise to anyone familiar with her family. Her uncles, pall bearers at her mother’s funeral, told dirty jokes in the limo on their way to the cemetery. I know because I was there, laughing like hell. I was wearing a Salvador Dali tie that might seem inappropriate for the occasion. I did so at my mother’s insistence.
If my mom were around today, I’d make her write a post for me today. She passed her love of reading onto me, and I’d always thought that was why I aspired to be a writer. While going through a box of old pictures recently, I found some of her writings, mostly letters and such. The woman was talented. She would’ve written this post better than me.
Her birthday is falling on Thanksgiving this year, just as it did my first one without her five years ago. I wouldn’t have spent the day with her anyway because I was in Afghanistan, but I carried a strange heavy feeling, knowing that I couldn’t even call her. Because of my military service, I last spent Thanksgiving and her birthday (the day after) with her 10 years ago. Her spirit, though, is with me every day.
I think she would’ve preferred I become a renowned scientist or something similar, but she encouraged me to pursue my writing dream. I gave that up for a long time and don’t plan to try making a living at it. The non-writing work involved holds no appeal to me. I will, however, keep at this writing thing and hope I can somehow learn to write as well as she did.
When I finally get around to publishing my first book, there’s no question who I’ll pick for the dedication. It’ll be Ted Bundy.
Just kidding. It’ll be that girl I mentioned who shared his birth date. And don’t worry. She would’ve enjoyed that joke.
Happy birthday, Mom. I miss you. I love you.