20 Things My Mother Told Me


  1. New shoes on the table bring a policeman to the door. (Scottish superstition)
  2. Don’t you want to put a little lipstick on?
  3. For job interviews, college interviews, things that count: just be yourself.
  4. Men stopped me on the street, or on the subway, to ask for my number.
  5. I dated Steve McQueen when I was living in The Village — he was too fast for me.
  6. Growing up, I never had anyone in my corner.
  7. When I told my mother I was marrying your father, she opened the window and screamed “bloody murder!”
  8. When I sang in church as a little girl, the nuns told me to mouth the words. I always thought I was tone deaf.
  9. My sister had a thing for mobsters. Your dad did too. He always wanted to double date with M. and her guy, Budgy.  She always had a new fur coat, and they got us in to all the clubs.
  10. I’m just going to lie down for half an hour.
  11. Unfortunately, most men of my generation are male chauvinists.
  12. I never learned to treat acting as a business.
  13. Your father was the love of my life.
  14. Your father was a narcissist.
  15. Once you have kids, everything changes in the marriage. Be prepared.
  16. French women are incredibly stylish, but so are New Yorkers.
  17. I wanted more children, but your father already had a son.
  18. I loved Jed like he was my son.
  19. Things got crazy in Fire Island. Too much drinking and chasing women around.
  20. Don’t scratch the chicken pox. Instead, wear white gloves, and eat chicken noodle soup, hard boiled eggs mashed with butter and toast, or rose-colored Jell-o.


Published by deirdremendoza

Deirdre is the author of the story collection, Real Lives of Married People, and the creator of DOGGED, a series about memorable canines and their human friends. Her writing has been published in Ms., The L.A. Times, Variety, WWD, and many other publications. She teaches creative writing at colleges and universities in Southern California. Coming in 2021 WG workshops!

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