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MARCH 2008

Dear Madrone,
My husband's mother is a doll face, what can I say. I have no complaints about her at all, none, which is to say there is one thing about her that is driving me out of my tree. She is a chatty Cathy. Non stop. Night or day. No matter what. You can not shut the woman up. She can talk about anything for hours. Like the time I took her to the movies, to see that nice picture about the woman who was having some trouble and she didn't trust the right person until the very end when she realized her mistake just before it was too late and the right person not only saves her home but also marries her AND makes sure that the person who was causing all the trouble will never bother her ever ever again, I can't tell you how much I LOVE that movie, I would see it a million times (not like the one where the really handsome rich guy wants to pay good money to sleep with someone else's pretty wife, I could never see how they made THAT conversation last more than ten minutes, let alone the two and a half hours they took to make something very simple into a big complicated mishmash) well in the middle of the show, my mother in law starts in with how comfortable the seats in the movie theatre is, but how expensive tickets are these days and god love her she goes all the way back to the 1920's and starts remembering out loud exactly what she paid to see The Jazz Singer and how everyone was astonished by talkies and how her grandfather would sneak her in under his coat because he was fat and a cheapskate. And there were people becoming very irate all around us, and were starting to, how can I put this?
Menace us. Yes, Menace, as if we were more than two not particularly young woman enjoying the early bird price that seniors get, if it's a late morning early afternoon show. Now I have to say that the menacers themselves weren't particularly muscular, mostly I think I could have taken them out with a konk on the head from my purse. People who go to the movies that time of day might be creepy, but they aren't fit. Still, if I wasn't there, she might have had words said to her, or worse, and I would hate for that to happen. How can I get her to put a cork in it without being rude?

Chatty Cathy's loving daughter in law


Dear Loving D-I-L,
I take it that you have already tried the normal things, like asking her nicely to be quiet, or ignoring until she takes the hint. These things will not work on a real chatty Cathy. That's because a real Chatty Cathy doesn't talk for the same reasons other people do. You talk because you need to tell someone about the great deal on corned beef at the Costco, or because you yourself need to know what time the last train is leaving for the city, or you are trying to keep a driver awake on a long drive. The real Chatty Cathy, the kind it sounds like your mother in law is, chats because they aren't sure they exist otherwise, if they stop talking they're afraid they'll disappear. Now Madrone, you'll say, we love this doll face woman, we know she exists, we would never ignore her, and I will say you are missing the point. This has nothing to do with you. It's all about her, which is why you'll have to go about this backwards. Telling her to put a cork in it is not going to do you any good, nor is answering her. Forget about ignoring her. All of these things, nine times out of ten, will just make matters worse. At the movies, next time she starts in, just put your arm around her, give her a hug and a kiss on the cheek and say Ma!! I love you, you're a doll face. Then offer her some of your popcorn or your milk duds, and continue watching the movie. The first time this happens, she will be speechless for a while.
She'll test it out a few times. But after a while, it will sink in that you are ACTING like she exists, not just telling her, and this ought to get you through the move both in peace and in one piece. God bless, Donna
PS. This only works if you mean it. And if you don't, she already knows it, which is how your problem started to begin with.


Dear Readers,

What can I tell you. It's a crazy world, run by a bunch of idiots, many of them in charge of the movies, which is what the letter you just read reminds me of. People often ask me to tell them what movies are good, what do I know about that? But I can tell you what movies are good for families...

Here's my take on some you might be thinking about seeing.. .rated by how nice the mothers in it are treated, first my ratings.

0 TRINACRIA All people associated with this film should be ashamed of themselves.
1 TRINACRIA Cold, gives people the wrong idea.
2 TRINACRIASUnderstandable, but regrettable
3 TRINACRIAS Nice..you could take your own mother to this one.
4 TRINACRIAS Good job! Filmmakers should bring home their laundry and get dinner cooked without complaint for at least month.

 

TRINACRIAS


College Road Trip
This movie gets 800 on its SATS (Satisfying And Thorough Schmaltz) It has a heart where the critics have a degree in wishing- I -was- a- big -shot- so- let- me-run- this-movie-down-maybe -I'll- forget- I - have - no- life.

TRINACRIAS


10,000 BC

Nice young man goes to great lengths for his girlfriend, figures that she'd make a great mother. Works for me.

TRINACRIAS


The Bank Job
People, people, people. Why do the nice mothers of children have to get thrown under the bus all the time??? WHY??? So you can have a thrilling movie with twists and turns and hanky panky with women who never in their lives broke their water??? I mean really.

TRINACRIAS



The Other Boleyn Girl

You can say whatever you want about Henry the VIII, motherhood really counted with him.
God bless, Donna

¿Por qué simplemente sobrevivir, cuando podemos ser fabulosamente felices, también?


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pamela Bongiorno Monk is a full time faculty member of Penn State University, where she teaches creative writing, both fiction and non fiction. She pursues freelance writing, authoring plays and feature articles. She has broken nearly as many rules of family as she has enforced.

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