Periscope: A Mom for All Time

By Streuli, Ted | THE JOURNAL RECORD, May 5, 2015 | Go to article overview

Periscope: A Mom for All Time


Streuli, Ted, THE JOURNAL RECORD


"You can choose your friends but you sho' can't choose your family, an' they're still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge 'em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don't."

Harper Lee wrote that line in To Kill a Mockingbird. I am not the first to wonder, if I could have picked my family, whom would I have chosen? Would Lee have been a particularly good mother for me?

I wonder if I would have chosen a journalist or a writer. Elizabeth Jane Cochran, better known as Nellie Bly, surely was an interesting woman. She was hired by the Pittsburgh Dispatch after penning a rebuttal to a misogynistic column and ended up at Joseph Pulitzer's New York World, where she all but invented modern investigative journalism. Her undercover assignment at the Women's Lunatic Asylum, where she feigned insanity for 10 days, led to a series of stories soon collected in book form as 10 Days in a Mad- House.

She did not have any children, but I bet she would have been one darn interesting mother.

Katharine Graham might have been a good maternal option. She was in charge when the Washington Post published the Pentagon Papers and for the Watergate investigation. She led the Post's diversification into magazines and cable television, too.

"To love what you do and feel that it matters' how could anything be more fun?" she said.

She had three sons and one daughter. I don't know how she was as a mother, but she was a hell of a woman, and I bet her dinner table was always a fascinating place.

Linda Alvarado might have been a cool mother. She grew up in a poor family of six children in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and went on to launch Alvarado Construction in Denver when she was 25 years old. …

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