Mack Williams: A good young mother
As a past member of the Greensboro Opera Company Chorus, I sang Faust’s “Soldier’s Chorus” — “Glory and laud to the men of old; their sons may copy their virtue bold,” (except in French).
I have a young Facebook-friend, diligently exposing her young son’s mind to educational, “mind-expanding” experiences by way of museums, as well as teaching him life-long skills to stand him in good stead long after she has someday departed this world.
She will mold him into the kind of person who “will go to school all his life,” meaning “curiosity for life-long learning in general.” The word “general” brings to mind what General Washington’s friend George Fairfax said of young George: “He will go to school all his life.” (I use General Washington here, because even while President, he was often called General).
I first met this “mother-and-child” at the science museum where I work. Instead of visiting with that “don’t-give-a-sh-t, it’s-just-someplace-to-keep-the-kid-from-bugging-me-attitude,” his mother reads the exhibit signage and discusses it with him until she’s sure he understands.
I do wish though, that museum signage nowadays was less like comic strip “word balloons.” But it takes less time than reading a book. When my family and I saw the “Mummies of the World” exhibit at Discovery Place, we noticed the signage information was kept short and sweet for those who are not mummy aficionados, sort of like “Cliff’s ‘Mummified’ Notes” or “Mummies-for-dummies.”
This lady Facebook-posted her son in so many learning situations that he almost seems in competition with Flat Stanley and Where’s Waldo? (if a future soldier, he may keep us abreast of his travels “a-la Kilroy”(except that’s not his name; when you learn his name at the end of this piece, you’ll say “Aha.”).
I bet the sons (and daughters) of the “men of old” also copied the virtues of the “women of old,” their mothers (I know which part of my psyche is my mother, Lorraine Williams, and which is my father, Bernard Williams).
We sometimes hear of a mother fitting Rhett Butler’s description of Scarlett: “Why, even a cat’s a better mother than you are;” but the vast majority are like those venerable “mothers of old” (and they’re young.)
This particular mother’s name is Tammy. I’ll reveal her son’s name at the end for that “Aha” moment.
The name Tammy reminds me of the goodness of Sandra Dee’s “Tammy” in many movies beginning with that name. Maybe her parents loved those films too. ��This Tammy” is a lot like “that Tammy.”
Tammy checks Chamber of Commerce sites in order to find educational places for her son. One time, my late teacher-wife Diane’s principal said something sadly stupid when Diane mentioned we were exposing our young daughter Rachel to opera at the Greensboro Opera Company, not leaving her at home with grandparents or sitter. The principal’s words: “If you’re exposing her to these things now, what’s she going to do later on?” (This principal might not have understood George Fairfax’s prediction about his next-door neighbor, “George”).
My mother and father provided me with educational “gold” — “Golden Books,”Golden Nature Guides,” and “How and Why” series. We already had Compton’s Encyclopedia and many other books purchased for my brother Joe. They also purchased monthly what I called “The A&P Encyclopedia” (Golden Books Encyclopedia), sold at Salisbury’s old A&P store on South Main.
Tammy’s even teaching her son to cook (a good thing for men of all ages to know). Some of the pictures of his cooking look pretty good.
In addition to “all things cerebral” and cooking, Tammy works on her son’s physical education.
Now the coincidental “Aha.”
Tammy named her son Forrest, so if he later takes up track and field, I know Tammy will be there for him, cheering him on, shouting … oh well…you know.