07.31.10

Mom and Martha

Posted in Monthly at 7:35 am by Pasha

By Pasha Holiday

I love magazines. Just about any of them. I have never been the person that can just sit with my thoughts. Instead, I prefer to be with a writer’s thoughts and ideas. That is how I became a magazine junkie.

My table is littered with the magazines of my year: lots of Babytalk, Parenting, Fit Pregnancy and Mothering. Then there is my other magazine indulgence, Martha Stewart. Martha’s brightly colored magazines litter my purses and stabilize my end tables. When the new issue came in the mail last week, I stood in the kitchen leafing through and tagging each page with an idea I thought I might use while the watering jug filled in the sink.

Then it dawned on me, in an instant, in a flash … I know why I adore Martha. She and my mother are really one in the same person. Remove Martha’s Lilly Pulitzer and replace it with my mother’s boho chic, and you have the same kind of woman. Strip Martha of her pretension and instill a large dose of humble pie (I think she had a slice or two in prison) and you will see my mom. Take Martha out of Eastern New York and transport her to Western New York. There is my mom.

My mother, Lynn, is much more eccentric and unique than to get lumped in with the masses. But I believe that it is Martha’s similar tendency to run against a grain and take calculated risks that makes her a household name. In a different place, a different time, and if God’s will had been askew, the magazine might read LYNN.

As girls and young women, both Martha and my mom were popular and pretty models. It came at no shock to me that Martha’s father was from Buffalo, New York, just a few miles from where my mother was hatched. As a young woman, it was Martha’s grandparents who taught her to grow and can food in the working class neighborhoods of Buffalo. When my mother was young, she learned growing from her Aunt Marty, her down-to-earth, favored and most loved elder.

Today both Martha and my mother grow wildly successful gardens (although, I am sure that now days Martha actually just instructs gardeners!) They both have greenhouses filled with year round vegetables, succulents and Avocado trees. The simple difference in my mother and Martha is their resources. Mom grows her Avocado from the seed, with tenacity and love. Martha just buys one when she is feeling green!

Martha might be most well-known for being crafty, for making useful tools out of twine and burlap. It is one of the main reason’s I subscribe to her magazine, the ideas that I can use in everyday life to make a little something spectacular and utilitarian out of not much of anything. Most of my wedding ideas came from Martha’s wedding blogs (which should be credited to her contributors, of course.) Most of the ideas that I stole from Martha, my mom already had; the luminaries, the ribbons, the food trays. At my wedding my mother tied the ribbons into bows that adorned the staircase. I will never forget my mother-in-law asking, in awe, how did she learn to do that? It is just the Martha in my mama.

Mom and Martha also share a moment that is one of less pride, jail time. While their motives and reasons for being in the clank were different (my mother, the hippy she is, “obstructed justice” and Martha committed “corporate fraud”) they both handled it in a similar way, by making it like camp. When my mom came home she told us that she ministered to the other women, and also used their resources to enjoy some girly normalcy, like making hair curlers out of toilet paper! Both of the tough broods made it through their days behind bars unscathed and wiser for it.

Both Mom and Martha are well-respected for what they do and how they do it. While their passions (trading stocks versus praising Jesus) might be vastly different, both are admired for knowing so much and being highly intelligent in their trades. Similarly, the ladies have admirers and people who seek them out for guidance. It is really just a difference in subject matter.

No doubt, my mama tops Martha in every way. But since I cannot flip through the pages of LYNN every month, Martha will just have to do. And besides, I have the better of the two. I get to pick up the phone and call mom whenever I want. And her sage advice on items from gardening to motherhood, leaves Martha in the dust.