• She Embarrassed The Hell Out Of Me

    Mumsey in Fox Hat - a drawing of the Mumsey

    Because I was a brat and my parents couldn’t take my nonsense anymore, I was sent away in the middle of eleventh grade to the Cambridge School of Weston, a co-ed boarding school near Boston Massachusetts. We parted lovingly, and I didn’t mind being sent off. It seemed like it was going to be an adventure, and it was.

    The next fall, I returned to the Cambridge school for my senior year. In November, my Mumsey travelled all the way from Ithaca and paid a surprise visit to my dorm. I panicked when I saw her through the window. She was an odd, unusual mother, which made me uncomfortable around my friends. The Mumsey was dressed elegantly. She carried a tinfoil covered baking pan. I was baffled. Why was she at my school? I felt my whole body flush with embarrassment, but when I opened the door, the Mumsey looked so happy and beautiful in her outrageous long dark coat and red fox hat; I felt proud of her.

    She gave me a small peck on the cheek, and told me to tell all the girls who lived in my small dorm to come downstairs and have some cake. After placing her hat and coat on one of the couches in the big high-ceilinged living room that we all shared, she grabbed a straight-backed chair and motioned that we should sit on the floor in a semi circle at her feet. We sat quietly while the Mumsey cut huge pieces of her homemade walnut torte layered with apricot jam, topped with coffee flavored whipped cream. She beamed at us as we happily devoured the whole damn cake.

    The Mumsey giggled to herself and then said, “Something terribly funny happened to me the other day, which has completely ruined playing the recorder for me! I will never play it again!” I didn’t know what was coming next, but my friends asked what happened, and I groaned.

    “Well,” she said, looking down on her subjects like a queen, “my recorder group and I were giving a little concert at Cornell University, and we were playing quite beautifully I must say, when I tootled a squeaky note very loudly by mistake. It made me laugh so hard, I peed in my pants, and that made me laugh even harder! There I sat in front of all those people with a small flood spreading around my feet.”

    At that point, the Mumsey started to shake with laughter. We all laughed like loonies. I wasn’t sure what my friends would think. I teetered between pride and extreme embarrassment. But, it was abundantly clear that my dorm mates thought I had the coolest mom in the world. I had never loved her so much. 

The Whore Next Door is a memoir consisting of 106 short chapters – each accompanied by an original watercolor painting. It is slightly shocking, but not pornographic.