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Mother and Me, Age 23 — October Memoir Challenge — 21 Comments

  1. I have really been enjoying your posts for the October Memoir Challenge. It takes a lot of courage to open your life up like that. This one really hit home. First, becasue I used to love riding the Staten Island Ferry when I was a kid, and there was something rather romantic about it.
    Second, I just wished a Happy Birthday to someone in my family who was also diagnosed with non-Hosdkins Lymphoma at age 19. She is now 21 years cancer free. However, she also ended up in an ill-advise marriage not long after she finished chemo.
    I am looking forward to the next memoir post. (You really are an excellent writer)

    • I’m glad to know I’m not the only one to go from cancer to an ill-advised marriage! I suppose that’s a natural flow for a variety of reasons, but it seemed like I should have been a bit smarter from the experience.

  2. Pingback: Book Review: French Milk by Lucy Knisley | Joy's Book Blog

  3. Going through chemo at 23 doesn’t sound like a great way to spend your youth but it obviously was worth it. My mom was in college at 23 (she had to work 2 years out of high school to pay for college) and I was a young bride.

  4. When I rode the Staten Island Ferry in the 1980s, we didn’t get close enough to the Statue of Liberty to take a photo up at that angle, but maybe the route has changed. When my mother turned 23, she was tending 5-month-old baby me. A couple of months after my 23rd birthday, I gave birth to a baby boy, who turned 50 this year. I’m enjoying your memoir writing.

    • This little project is suddenly bringing history closer to home! Imagining my mother getting house calls from doctors and experiencing blackouts in the 1940s has made all of the WWII books I’ve been reading much more relevant.

  5. I’m really loving these posts Joy.
    So glad your mother took such good care of you during your treatments!

    My mom and dad got married in their early 20’s. My dad went off to war and my mom worked in a factory sewing parachutes used in the war.

    When I was in my early 20’s, I was married and divorced with 2 kids.

  6. Oh, at 23…I became a Mac user and a mom in the same month, January 1984. 30 years later, I’m still smitten with both…but the ill-advised marriage…well, we need something to keep us all humble. And I would say it was all quite the learning experience.

    I’m so thankful you are taking Jane Ann’s challenge. I’ve been looking forward to it all year. I hope to join in a bit by the end.

    Still recovering from “My Year of Living Injuriously.” Frustrated that I can’t predict my health and stamina even as yet.

    Know that I keep rooting for you all. And keep all of that goodness coming!

  7. Another great post, Joy. My mother and I both got married at age 22. At 23, I was in and out of hospital with IBD. I didn’t want to be married – I was sick, and I really wanted to go home and have my mom take care of me. But I didn’t, and since I married a good man, we got through it.

  8. WOW. what a 23rd birthday you had. My 23rd birthday was spent on my honeymoon in Gatlinburg Tn. We went out to dinner that night to celebrate and saw a bear trying to break into a dumpster at the restaurant.

  9. 23 was one of the worst years of my life. A real challenge. I have no idea what my mother was doing at 23. I think she was working for the RCMP as secretary–but not sure. I don’t think she was married yet–maybe she was? At 23 my grandmother was still in Hungary, married, with a 2year old-my aunt. It’d be three more years before she came to Canada. No idea what her life was like, where she lived and etc.

    My mom has non-Hodgkins lymphoma, it’s in complete remission for years now. It must have been a shock to go through something so huge so young. So sorry for that but I’ll bet it has given you strengths that some of us are yet to discover.

    BTW hurray for moms who help out when needed.

  10. I think I may have cooked in that kitchen when you were 18 months old and Dale was born. If that is the company house in Kenville N.J. Your Mother and Dad flew me to New York before Dale was born and I spent the summer till school started. In fact they bought me my school clothes at Macy’s before I flew home. They brought Dale home from the hospital before your Mother came home. Your Mother had Bell’s Palsy and stayed a few days longer. I remember the first night with Dale, I did not wake up when he cried. After that I was programed in got feeding time. That was my first Airplane flight.

  11. Good for you for staying in the apartment. I’m sure you would have had pressure to move back home at that time, but I think it was an important part of your healing to be in your own environment.

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