I remember clearly how important it was for me to have a pink carnation to wear.  You wore a pink one if your mother was living, white if she was not.  As if I wasn’t seeing her, live, every day!  But built into that tradition was the knowledge that at least on that day having a mother was cause for national celebration.

Fast forward to my eighties, when thoughts of my mother are becoming infused with a new awareness of how it must have really been for her to experience aging even through her ninety-sixth year.  How, I marvel, did she do it with such grace and acceptance?  What inner strength enabled her perspective and apparent good humor?

I plan to buy a pink carnation for Mother’s Day.  She is very much alive for me now.

What does Mother’s Day bring to your mind?  Tell us, please.

“And the Woman Smiled” is the titled of a poetry book which traces the life of a woman from childhood to womanhood and beyond. Published in my nom de plume Gianna B. Reid, the book is available on Amazon. Here is a sample poem:




When I was a little girl,
I believed trees created wind.
The frantic motion of the branches was empirical proof.
The howling confirmed it more.
I thought if trees could just be still, the winds
of March and November gusts would cease.
Now I am older, wiser.
Wind is because everyone is talking at once.

– Joan Bellofatto Reid

I’m an early adopter and adore almost all of the new technology. I just flew back from a conference in Vegas (ugh) and had a whole library of books in my Kindle app that I could read on my iPad without lugging a ton of carry-on weight and bulk.

But air conditioning? As much as I sometimes appreciate it (I love the heat), I am convinced that air conditioning has ruined civilization as we knew it. When I was a little kid in the 1950s, no one had air conditioning. In the summer, everyone stayed outside. My mom and her friends played scrabble on the front patio while the kids climbed our crabapple tree or played in the sprinkler. We knew our neighbors. We saw them every day. Not just the ones who lived one or two houses away, but the WHOLE BLOCK, and in the houses behind us and across the street too. Now? We run from our air conditioned cars to our air conditioned houses. I have met most of my neighbors only during power outages and blizzards when everyone comes out of their nests and, if only for a short while, becomes a community again.

It wasn’t too long ago that I used a telephone booth. There was one in the hospital where I worked from 1996-2000. Whenever I stepped into the small private compartment and shut the folding door I felt safe. At ease to speak without being overheard and able to see people passing unaware of my presence. And when i see movies with a telephone booth, rotary dials and answering machines, it reminds me that there once was a slower pace to our daily living. I’m no dinosaur. I no longer have a landline, only a smart phone, I use PhotoShop, social media, texting, Facetime, and texting.

But every once in a while I wish I could find a telephone booth, sit on the wooden seat, close the door, and slip into a past era.