Letters to My Mom


I wanted to start a new series on my blog called Letters to My Mom.  These will consist of letters I am writing to mom about how she influenced my life.  Here is the first one. 

Dear Mom,
I have been thinking about a lot of things recently as I watch Noah grow up.  I like seeing how I influenced his life, his choices and his hopes.  But I wonder what little things will make a difference later.  I remember things that you did that have never left me.  One memory is so clear I am not even sure if it is real, but it has been with me since I was very young.  I remember a sunny warm day and a man was working on the corner of New York and Rensselaer Avenue.   You ask me to go down and ask him if he wanted a beer.  He said he couldn’t but wanted water, I carried a glass of ice water and some kind of snack.  This story may not be true but it is you.  I remember so many times you helping others and as Mike Fourneir recently mentioned to me you were famous for bringing coffee to the fire fighters when there was a big fire in town.  It is ironic that the one I remember the most was the fire at the old Pepsi bottling plant. 

As you know, we grew up half a block from the old building and I always wanted to explore it.  I remember the house at 30 Rensselaer which was the last block before the literal other side of the tracks.  The abandoned Pepsi plant was one a several industrial buildings that sprouted up along the Oswegatchie River and the Railroad tracks.  Well it caught fire about a year after we moved to the other side of town.  It was a big fire and one that threatened a lot of houses that were built near it, including our old home.  You made several thermoses of coffee and we went over there.  I got to watch the fire but what I saw and remember is not the building that eventually burned to the ground, but you, making sure all the fire fighters here given a drink. 

I never asked you why you would do this.  It seemed so normal to me to offer something to people in community service jobs.  I lost that along the way.  One of my teachers recently brought a bunch of left over bagels to the local fire hall.  I thought of you.  I realize some of the work I did growing up was directly related to these moments that you reached out to help others.  Thank you for giving me a good foundation.  It helped me find my way.  

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