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Saturday, July 1, 2017

(4) "ED, DEAR, I'D GIVE YOU EVERY CENT I OWN, BUT I WILL NOT SELL MY SOUL."

October 11, 1960
          Mom’s book, Aesop with a Smile, is proving to be a big hit.  It was chosen by the Book Committee of the Child Study Assoc. of America to appear on its list of outstanding books of the year.  Mother has been interviewed on the radio by the Lady of the Bookshelf and has made a tape for another radio program called “Dimensions.”    She is so thrilled over these developments she tells me she can hardly sleep nights.  Success has a wonderful effect on her temperament.  In the past, when I was in my irritable time of the month and replied sharply to a question (How I wish I had never done this!) or an impatient grandchild hurt her feelings, she would go to her room to lick her wounds or to write a poem such as “Bringing Up Mother.”  Now nothing fazes her.
                                      My children don't purposely pain me
                                   They mean to be patient, I know,
                                   As gently but firmly they train me
                                   In the way that a mother should go.
                                   They say my illusions are many; 
                                   They smile at the things I believe.
                                   My reasoning process (if any),
                                   They laughingly label naive.
                                   Do you think I resent them?  No, never.
                                   I accept all the training they give,
                                   For I hope to be modern and clever
                                   By the time that I die -- if I live!   
 Circa 1960   
     In the interest of continuing peace and harmony, I recently suggested to Mom that we avoid a sore subject: politics.  Although Ed intends to vote for Kennedy, I had been adopting an on-the-fence attitude, planning to base my final decision on the debates.  Mother, having been a Republican all her life, has been trying to influence me by giving me anti-Catholic, anti-Kennedy articles clipped from the Christian Science Monitor (“Haven’t you always felt they were very fair and unbiased, Babs?”), urging me to read the latest fascinating issue of Time, and saying to Ed when he gave her a pro-Kennedy argument:  “Ed, dear, I’d give you every cent I own, but I will not sell my soul.”
     Of course, this was said half-facetiously, but nevertheless it implies that God is on her side and the Devil on ours.  I mean Ed’s. I find myself digging my heels in and sticking up for Kennedy out of sheer contrariness.
     Moreover, now that I have seen the first two TV debates, I must say “our boy” strikes me as being stronger, more sure of himself, and more courageous and sincere than Mr. Nixon.  If I am wise, though, I will keep these sentiments to myself.  In a town like Cohasset, a Democrat ranks one step below a traitor.

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