My mother has an assignment from her therapist: ask all of your children what they learned from you.
I asked Shirl if I could share my results with the Peacebangers, and she assured me that was okay ("Just don't give out my phone number.").
Ladies and gentlemen, Some Things I Learned From My Mother (in no particular order):
Every little girl looks good in red, white and blue. After puberty, black is always slimming. With a bright lipstick.
Don't stay up too late talking with your sister or your mother will make you get out of bed and march around the dining room table to tire you out.
Just because Per Kistler said the "F" word doesn't give you permission to do so, even in the act of tattling on him. You will get your first and only memorable spatula spanking this way.
You can come home as late as you want as long as your grades are good and we can trust you.
You may be talented, but there are millions of talented people out there. Better to be talented AND good to work with. "If you're good to work with, people will want to work with you."
On sex: "Why would you let a stranger into your body?"
On mother's intuition: "I knew the minute you walked through the door." And she did.
Santa Claus really does exist. Even if Mom and Dad buy the presents, Santa is REAL. Do NOT get snarky and cynical about Santa, not at any age.
The world is a magical place, and anything can happen. Good or bad, anything can happen.
Mock evil people, as they are stupid and weak. To create is the hard thing; to destroy is lazy and sadistic. Do not let the evil of the world paralyze you even for a moment.
Too much black eyeliner is never flattering. Neutrals, and blend.
You've got to marinate the steak.
When trying on clothes, look for the "puppies" of chub escaping from tight armholes or a snug-fitted derriere. Camoflauge as necessary, and do camoflauge.
If you don't know what you're doing, get out of my kitchen.
Keep your voice down. Unless you're singing. Then, "sing out, Louise!!"
Diction matters. We do not sing, "Ten minutes ago, I metchoo" when we mean, "Ten minutes ago, I met you."
Gay men are fabulous, and they are your friends.
Straight men are intimidated by you, mostly because you're too intense.
When someone hurts you, move on. Let it go.
Tip generously. Especially if you find a good hairdresser.
Do not waste even one moment of your life telling lies and being scared in a relationship.
Take one day at a time. When overwhelmed, take one small step at a time, do the first thing, then the next thing. You'll be fine.
Don't over-dramatize. You're too sensitive.
Buy good presents for people. Their happiness makes you happy.
Fat bodies are not okay.
Don't kid yourself: marriage is really hard. There's no need to do it unless you really find someone terrific.
There is no need to have children to fulfill your potential as a woman.
Never be afraid to get help of any kind.
Smile, stand up straight.
Send thank you cards. Keep nice, engraved stationery on hand.
If you don't know what a word means, look it up. If you're not sure how to pronounce it or spell it, look it up.
It's okay to hem pants with a stapler.
Respect elders. Give up your seat.
You can never divorce your brother or your sister.
Never, ever put a food container on the table for guests. It goes on a nice plate or it doesn't go out at all.
Some people really can't read maps and will shut down emotionally if you try to even show them one.
Details matter: when you are appearing in a show set in the 1930's, you wear stockings with seams.
Whenever you can afford it, hire someone else to clean the house.
People who refuse to applaud a kick line have no soul.
There's no reason not to wear a feather boa to a party.
Most repressions and inhibitions are really self-indulgence in disguise.
The minute your children leave your body, start letting go of them. Their role in life is not to fulfill their parent's fantasies.
Tell people you love them.
I love you, Shirley!!