Let’s Talk with Maggie Toussaint

History, Mom, and Seafood
By Maggie Toussaint

Some days are more monumental than others. For instance, May 13 is the 133rd day of the calendar year. 232 days remain. How is that possible? This year is going by at record speed. If I blink my eyes it might suddenly be November!

Looking at history, numerous Preakness and Kentucky Derby (horse races) occurred on May 13. Baseball greats Willie Mays, Darryl Spencer, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Reggie Jackson, and more set records on this day in various years. In 1934, the great dustbowl storm sweeps across US prairies, and a major earthquake hit Greece in 1995. Leaders came and went, awards were given. In 1996 O.J. Simpson appeared on British TV discussing his not guilty verdict.

My mom with me

However, the date of May 14 has always been more auspicious in my life as that was my mom’s birthday. She never wanted a big fuss, and she loved hearing from her children on her special day. I think of her on her birthday, and other days of course. She was a Force of Nature.

Mom got things done in the community for whites and blacks alike. Once when I couldn’t get a tree trimmer’s attention, she called his mom, and he arrived in ten minutes. True story. She started an awareness campaign of a business wanting to locate a sawmill in a historically black community and helped get that stopped.

Mom loved to read

She raised us to be strong, educated, kind hearted, and aware. One of her granddaughters came fully endowed with her personality, and it’s a joy to watch her navigate life.

In essence, we are who we are, and we do what we can. None of us may end up as legends or even a notable event in history trivia. Heck, Mom would say she wasn’t a legend, though she was to us, and I suspect your mom was/is to you.

Low Country Boil

As for seafood, it has always been a part of my coastal life as a shrimper’s daughter, and now I’ve created a 3-book series featuring coastal life and recipes. The deaths are fictional, with challenging clues parsed out along the way. I love to keep readers guessing! I hope you’ll check out all 3 Seafood Caper Mysteries.

Share a kindness about your mother for a chance to win my latest book, SHRIMPLY DEAD in ebook or print. (Print book winners must have a US mailing address). The winner will be announced on May 20.

While you’re here, enter our group’s monthly giveaway which runs through May 18. The winner will be announced on May 19. CLICK HERE. 

Comments

  1. maggietoussaint says

    The winner of SHRIMPLY DEAD is Judith Sickler. Congratulations, Judith! Please let me know if you prefer print (US only) or ebook. You have a week to claim your prize.

  2. Judith Sickler says

    My mother brought us up with some much gentleness that I would get upset whenever she was displeased with me. She was the most patient and humble person I ever knew. She gave me the love of books, art, animals and downtrodden people. She worked as a family court clerk for years , helping to protect abused women and children. I miss her so much.

    • maggietoussaint says

      Hi Judith, What a lovely remembrance of your mom. Her heart was big enough for her family and downtrodden people, as well as books and art. I loved hearing how she lived to serve. You and your community were very lucky to have her. Thanks for sharing.

  3. My mother belonged to the Book of the Month Club, so not only did I read my 10 books from the library each week, and the Nancy Drew books I received as gifts, I read all her old books too. She had an old series called Elsie Dinsmore–it went on an on. So I’m sure I got my love of reading from her.

    • maggietoussaint says

      What a lovely reflection, Marilyn. I enjoyed hearing how your mom nurtured reading as a habit for you. That’s awesome. When I was growing up, we had 3 stations on our TV. Also, the TV was on for the Today show, and then turned off until the evening news and one or two evening programs. That was it. Books were The Ticket to Adventure/the world back then and I took to reading like a duck to water. Sounds like you did as well.

  4. Cherie J says

    My mom has always been encouraging about our developing new interests. When I was little she would read to us at night. Due to this my twin sister and I developed a huge love of books and became the voracious readers we are today. She also encouraged us to try lots of other activities like ballet, girl scouts, bowling, cheerleading, etc. Like reading, some took and some did not but I appreciated her love and support through the years.

    • maggietoussaint says

      How nice that your mother encouraged reading and new activities, Cherie. You were blessed to have your mom encouraging you through the years. It makes me smile to hear about things like this, as we so often hear on social media how people experienced poor parenting or worse.

  5. Jane Dietz says

    When I lived at home Mom was just mom and when I learned the meaning of her threat “wait til you have children of your own” I realized just how loving, kind and patient she was. I never saw her read but I know she did (raising 6 kids in the 50/60s wasn’t easy). She loved that I was a reader and encouraged me to write. I had four children of my own and raised my stepson. My children had the opportunity to know my mother and my greatest compliment was having them tell me I am just like she was. I lost my mom first from Alzheimer’s I know and in her passing. I know she watches over us.

    • maggietoussaint says

      Oh, Jane, what a wonderful tribute to your mother. Loving, kind, and patient people are in short supply in this world and we desperately need more! I also like knowing that moms watch over us.

  6. Like your mother, my mom is a reader. She encouraged my love of reading at a very early age, and never limited my curiosity to age-appropriate books. I read “Gone With the Wind” as a pre-teen, devoured romance novels in middle school, and moved on to the NYT best-selling mysteries my Dad loved in high school. As long as her kids read books, Mom was happy. She’s now widowed and lives alone. I send a monthly box of books to keep her entertained. My daughter asked Mom what she loved about reading, and she replied, “I travel the world without leaving my home, and continually fall in love with handsome and talented men. What’s not to love?” Indeed!

    • maggietoussaint says

      Hi Veronica, Moms who read are a treasure, and it’s a true blessing that she’s able to continue to enjoy reading. You are so sweet to send her a monthly box of books. I love her philosophy about reading, especially the part about traveling the world without leaving home. So nice to spend that time with you at the Authors Table last month.

  7. Maggie, what a great story about your mom. My mom has been gone for a few years, now. She was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known, but with something of a tart tongue. She could kick anyone’s butt at Scrabble — well, except for maybe her sisters. She wasn’t exactly a social butterfly, preferring to pursue her intellectual pursuits, though she would do anything for her grandkids — babysitting, sewing costumes, and so on. It wasn’t until after she died that I found her Masters Degree diploma and her doctorate notes (she quit to get married before she finished). I miss her more and more each year.

    • maggietoussaint says

      Thanks so much for sharing that about your mom, Diane. I see where you get your smarts from! My mom has also passed and it’s more than nostalgia that has me missing her. Whenever I hit roadblock in life, she offered solutions to try. But her advice always felt like more-it was her way of showing her love and helping us through sharing her life experiences with similar situations. She was a good listener and a great idea person.

  8. Maggie – lovely piece about a strong woman! who raised a strong daughter (and now a granddaughter is following in the footsteps). Great tie-in to your writing, too. My mom instilled confidence in my sister and me — she believed in us and as a holocaust survivor, she taught us the meaning of standing up for our beliefs.

    • maggietoussaint says

      Debra, what a legacy. You Mom must’ve had such resolve and inner strength. I weep just thinking about the Holocaust. It is my fervent hope that humanity never experiences anything like that again. Confidence can make or break a person. I have met people who were broken in spirit by life and their lack of confidence not only defined them, it severely crippled their ability to thrive. Confidence and a personal belief system, in my opinion and your mom’s, are necessary anchors to face life’s challenges. What a world it would be if people were whole and agreeable.

  9. My mom is the third of four generations of women in the family all born on the same date. My cousin’s daughter was just a few days late of making it 5 generations, though there’s still plenty of time for another baby to hit the date.
    Mom gave me my obsession with collecting cookbooks, loving reading, and taught a good work ethic. I enjoy spending time with her and value it more and more all the time.

    • maggietoussaint says

      Wow, that date and female birth confluence are strong in your family, Alicia! That is so interesting to me. There’s a part of me that’s already spinning a mystery story about that fact. I love that you share your mother’s love of cookbook collection and reading in general. And strong work ethic, that’s not something one hears much about these days. I like to stay busy as it keeps my joints working and my mind occupied. Not sure if that’s a work ethic or fear of going slow, but maybe it’s all part of the same thing. I admire people with strong work ethics. We need people with that principle in this world!

  10. Pat Dupuy says

    My mom was absolutely fearless. She grew up in the depression. Her family moved from place to place in west Texas and New Mexico while Grandpa worked odd jobs. She worked during the year so she could go to college during the summer to become a medical technologist. She stopped working when the first of us kids came along. When my youngest sister got a kidney disease Mom learned how to run a dialysis machine so she could be dialyzed at home.

    • maggietoussaint says

      Oh, Pat! What a woman your mother was. It takes courage to gain a higher education when the chips are down like that. I love her can-do spirit and unsinkable nature.

  11. My mom isn’t a force of nature, exactly, but she has a heart for animals and those who love them. Several months after her neighbors, a elderly married couple, lost their young dog to cancer, my mother found a neglected dog in need of a safe and loving home. After getting the couple’s approval, she drove several hours there and back to pick up the dog so the couple could adopt it.

    • maggietoussaint says

      Aww, Mary, that’s a lovely story. You mom was able to help her neighbors and a dog in need of a fur-ever home. I love how her compassion mobilized her into a force for love!

  12. Hey Maggie, May 10 was both my mom’s and dad’s birthdays. They were five years apart, but it made celebrating birthdays easy. My mom always very understanding of the world. She was ahead of her time in so many ways and taught me patience and perseverance.

    • maggietoussaint says

      Hi Terry, Your mom sounds like a very wise woman. Patience and perseverance are much needed by this entire world.

  13. My mother brought dishes to people who were sick or in mourning. She was a good cook and I got my love of cooking from her. I value her recipes and incorporated some of them into the cookbook I wrote. I also included one of her tales about Sabbath meals. I wish I could remember more about the meals she made for us.

    • maggietoussaint says

      That’s a wonderful tribute to your mom, Nancy. I’m so glad you inherited her love of cooking because now we have that great cookbook you put together!

  14. Maggie, you are so lucky to have had such a kind and caring mother and hold so many wonderful memories in your heart.

    • maggietoussaint says

      Thank you, Lois. It was a blessing to have her as a role model. All of her children grew up to value education and reading as well as developing our own very different personalities. Families, especially large ones, offer unique challenges and possibilities, much like story worlds!

  15. Sarah Woodhouse says

    My Mom is generous and loving. We share a love of flowers, jewelry, Dairy Queen Blizzards, and animals. My Mom taught me to read at two years old and it has given me one of the greatest gifts of my lifetime. Books are one of my loves and some of my best companions. I go everywhere with my books/kindle.

    • maggietoussaint says

      Sarah, what a lovely tribute to your Mom. The “shared loves” you mentioned span a wide range of interests and are also some of my favs. I love looking at flowers and have many planted in my yard, but if I bring flowers indoors, I have allergy problems. So I make sure I have great displays of brightly colored blooms right outside my office window! Like you, I am always tucking my kindle in my purse for every outing, just in case, you know?