Spectator: Happy Mother’s Day


Listen to your mother

The other day was my mother’s birthday and she would have been 114 if she were still alive. I began to think about the many things my mom used to remind me about. Such things as “Make sure you wear clean underwear in case you get hit by a car and end up in the hospital.” I wonder how often that ever happened to anyone?

Another was “Eat all your food. Think of the poor starving Armenians.” I never knew at that time where Armenia was or why they were starving.

Every mother from the beginning of time had some sage advice to give to her offspring. In a way, Adam and Eve were slighted. They never were the beneficiaries of motherly advice. Perhaps if they had a mother she might have said, “Listen to what you were told about the tree and don’t ask questions.”

As I thought about my mom, I began to wonder what kind of advice or what admonitions, the mothers of the famous or near famous might have said to their children. Here’s my list and perhaps you can add to it.

What might have been said by the mothers of:

Jack the Ripper – “How come I never see you dating the same girl twice?”

Jesse James – “That’s the third piggy bank you’ve broken this week.”

Whistler – “Son, how long are you going to keep me in the chair?”

Napoleon – “Please write when you get to Moscow.”

Columbus – “For the last time, put those three sailboats away and do your homework.”

Michelangelo – “You’ll never amount to anything painting for the church.”

Isaac Newton – “Get out from under that apple tree and come in for lunch.”

Joan of Arc – “You’re always playing soldiers. Why can’t you play with dolls?”

(Today, her mother would say: “There’s nothing on your voice mail.”)

Liberace – “I don’t want you wearing a tux in the sandbox.”

John Dillinger – “Did you have to rob my bank?”

Picasso – “Are you making faces at me?”

Washington – “What? Someone took your seat out of the boat!”

Alexander Graham Bell – “Couldn’t you at least phone me on Mother’s Day?”

Charlie Chaplin – “I’m your mother. You can speak to me.”

Samson – “For the last time – get a haircut.”

Mona Lisa – “Wipe that silly grin off your face.”

Bill Gates – “Stop fooling around with those gadgets and get yourself a paying job.”

Van Gogh – “Stop playing with those scissors.”

King Henry VIII – “Can’t you make up your mind, I’m running out of bridal dresses.”

Stephen King – “It’s just your imagination. There’s nothing under the bed.”

Sir Walter Raleigh – “Say that again. You got mud on your coat – how?”

Einstein – “The teacher tells me you’re failing math again!”

Caruso – “Please sing in the yard. You’ve broken six glasses so far.”

Betsy Ross – “Betsy, I can’t find that red and blue cloth I was saving. Have you seen it?”

Venus de Milo – “You know what happens to little girls who keep biting their n ails?”

Custer – “Thanks, George, for inviting me to visit the Black Hills this June. I’ll take a rain check.”

Tony Bennett – “You’re always leaving something behind no matter where you go.”

Julius Caesar – “Have a good day, and be sure to give Brutus the nice cake I baked for him.”

Richard Nixon – “Why is there a page missing in your homework book?”

Dr. Frankenstein – “Why must you play in the graveyard? There’s a beautiful park around the corner.”

Cecil B. DeMille – “You can part the Red Sea, but you can’t send me a box of candy for Mother’s Day?”

Walt Disney – “Why do you keep drawing pictures of a mouse? Try something else.”

Michael Jackson – “You’ve lost your glove again?”

George W. Bush – “The kids in the neighborhood tell me you’re picking on them again.”

Brittany Spears – “What happened to the clothes I bought you to wear?”

Mozart – “Believe me, stick with the piano. The trumpet is not for you.”

Bill Clinton – “Don’t let me catch you smoking a cigar again.”

Donald Trump – “Stop Playing with building blocks. You’ll never amount to anything!”


Where would we be without the sage advise of our mothers?

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