Today I talked to Mom on the phone about what she calls "my impressive children." She is so impressed with Suzanne. Especially for learning all those languages, she says. Tell me again how she became fluent in French? I'm not sure Suzanne is fluent exactly, but my mother doesn't want to be corrected. So I tell her again how Suzanne spent the summer in France with a family who lived in a tiny apartment and never went out. They sat on the couch and watched Buffy the Vampire reruns in French all day long.
Who is Buffy the Vampire, my mom asks again. You've never heard of Buffy? I ask, also again. I don't tell her that I think Buffy the Vampire sounds like a good name for a porn star. My mom is 90 years old, and she doesn't talk of such things. Shoot, she's going to be 91 in a few months.
Then she asks about Jimmy. That son, she says, who does those things I don't understand. He's brilliant to do them, she adds quickly. That's why I married your father. He made brilliant offspring. (My mother gives my father credit for all signs of intelligence on earth, esp. now that my father is dead.)
So tell me again what Jimmy does? I try to avoid the topic of computer science, but she loves the words, artificial intelligence and film graphics. I think they remind her of Buffy the Vampire.
Soon she's tired. I'm too old for all this, she says. I'll leave the vampires and the computers to your children. I'm glad they didn't have those when I was your age. She says goodbye suddenly, sounding happy to have chatted, and happy not to have what she calls "our lives" to look forward to.
AWP in Minneapolis, and recommended reading
4 weeks ago