Memories Of Marie

by POPSIE 1956


Like many people my age, certain days are not so bright and sunny as they are to others.

As I am now 60 and climbing, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are two of them.

Oh it’s great to be acknowledged by the kids and grand kids, but without my parents around, the days really have less meaning.

I’ve mentioned before my dad passed in 1969, when I was 13, needless to say I have well moved on from those initial down days.

This Fall will mark 11 years since Mom passed.

I addressed that and more in an earlier blog, that while wasn’t totally a bummer, still was like an open sore to me.

If you missed it, take a read and come back. (

OK, the disease sucks, it’s horrible on the victim, as well as the families, friends and loved ones.

But what I do NOT want it to do is define HER.

THAT my friend, is another story.

So please allow me to share with you what my Mom meant to me, perhaps, if you know me, you can get a better idea of who I really am through her.

Normally, the strongest bond between parent and child would be (IMO) between mother and daughter.

In my case, I was an only child, well I had my step sister Judy, who was sixteen years older, but that doesn’t really count, so Mike and Marie seemed, special.

In truth, in my early years she tried to con me into things, and I was dumb/uninformed, in order to teach me how to make it through life.

If you’re a mom, you may appreciate some of these.

When I was very young, I ate every kind of food my mom put in front of me.

One day, however, I developed the croup, and while I don’t have many memories of that, I DO remember not being able to breathe, turning JUST a little blue, and being rushed to the ER, where they cut me open and shoved a breathing tube down the throat.

(Unashamed fact, I actually tried to use the scar I have on my neck as a badge of honor when I attempted to pick up women in bars, telling them I got cut in a knife fight.)

It never worked, but I looked pathetic enough to many of them it got me a mercy f*ck.

Any port in a storm…

My point to this, from the moment I got “tubed”, I developed a mental block…I will pause for a moment for you to come up with the proper joke about me using the word mental…OK, I continue…

Whatever the reason, I suddenly would HATE a lot of different type of foods I used to love, fruits, vegetables, meats, etc.

Not sure why, but perhaps I thought THAT would be the one food that would bring me to a dirt nap.

And while I all of a sudden STOPPED eating many of the GOOD foods I had been eating, I started (as a way of compensating) eating too much of the BAD food.

That’s one of the reasons I’ve always been a stout fellow over the years…

Well there’s the diabetes in the family too, but…

My mom would try EVERYTHING to attempt to get me to taste “new” food.

One that sticks out was giving me sausage and telling me it’s Canadian Bacon.


She got me to try lamb by making patties and saying it’s just a hamburger.

On the other end, she worried about my weight, to the point where she COUNTED food, for example how many slices of bread was in the loaf, so I wouldn’t overeat.

I was by myself a lot, and she couldn’t always be around to help me.

If she had to, she would weigh the cereal.

Now before you say she’s bring cruel, stop, I had a big problem back then, in many ways I have a big problem now.

Much in part because of the damn croup.

We didn’t have research available in those days, she did the best she could.

Wish she was here now whenever I have pizza.

Moving on..

Mom did a LOT of things she didn’t have to, especially since Dad wasn’t around.

For example, when we wanted to see R rated movies (where an adult would have to be with us), we would all chip in and pay for Mom, once the movie started she split.

One time I talked her into taking me to see the Rolling Stones film “Gimme Shelter,”

not knowing one scene had a stoned guy at the concert with his…..member… his hand…..keeping time with the music.

I kept saying to Mom “I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry…”

Mom just kept saying “Shut up I’m watching the movie.”

My favorite “growing up” story about Marie took place Senior Year at Shaker High School.

I went out with friends to a bar one night, got REAL drunk, and woke up the next morning REAL hungover, and REAL sick.

HAD to make it to class very first thing, had a test I couldn’t miss.

By the third period, however, Uncle Ralph came to town.

Mom was called from her job at Grand Way Department Store, picked me up, but instead of heading home we went to Scottie’s Pub…

The scene of the crime the night before.

We go in and she gets a pitcher of beer…for me…

She took the rest of the day off and said we would leave when I finished the pitcher…by myself…

This was 10 AM…

We were there the rest of the day and a good portion of the night, it took me THAT long to finish the brew.

I understand she was trying to teach me a lesson.

I learned it…

for about two weeks…

One last quickie…there are so many I can think of but that’s for another time.

I always amazed my mother with the fact I made a career out of broadcasting.

I don’t remember it but she always told me I had a very bad stuttering problem as a child.

For the first part of my career, I was working at radio stations in Ohio, I would send tapes of my shows to Mom, but it never was the same as hearing it live, and in truth I’m not sure she ever actually listened to the tapes, but she always said she did, and that was good enough.

In Fall, 1986, I was lucky enough to “come home” and got a gig in Albany working nights at CHR/Top 40 FLY 92, under the air name “Shadow Michaels.”

Took Mom the longest time trying to figure out why I wasn’t using my real name, but in time she embraced “the other me” and went above and beyond to sell her son the disc jockey.

Can’t tell you how many remote broadcasts or live events I was involved in where I met someone who said they were a friend of Marie’s.

She couldn’t wait for my Aunt Helen or Uncle Charlie to come to town so she could turn on the radio and “show off”.

Countless nights, after my step dad went to bed or there wasn’t anything on TV she wanted to watch, she would would go in the kitchen, turn on the radio and play solitaire while Shadow did his thing.

She was my biggest fan and harshest critic, I gave her the studio “Hot Line” number, and when it lit up, and knowing my last break sucked, I was expecting the boss, and I GOT the boss, just not the one who payed me, but the one who birthed me…

And she was all about TELLING me I sucked too, she pulled no punches and was BRUTALLY honest, something I try to achieve for myself every day.

She was just as supportive of me when I performed in a play or musical, but if I stunk up the joint, she would say so, then offer advice on how to do better.

This from someone who never was on stage.

THAT’S the Marie I will always remember…

and whenever I play jokes or get goofy with my grandsons, I’m giving them an idea how Great Grandma Marie would be.

And oh yeah…

she SO would do the “pull my finger” thing.

Love ya Mom…miss you lots.