Listener Essay - Mother's Day Retort

May 9, 2014

  Kate Cohen is a writer and editor in Albany, New York. You can find more of her work at


  This Sunday is Mother’s Day and today in our Ideas Matter segment, we’ll learn about representations of women and motherhood in film from Dr. Jennifer Creech, she served as a panelist a recent New York State Humanities Council-funded film series, "Celebrating Women of Courage and Character" at Rochester's Little Theater Film Society.

Professor Creech received her Ph.D. in Germanic Studies from the University of Minnesota in 2006. She is an Assistant Professor of German in the Department of Modern Languages & Cultures at the University of Rochester and is an Affiliate Faculty member in the Film & Media Studies Program and the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Women's Studies.

    Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son is Lori Duron’s poignant memoir of her adventures in raising a gender creative child. The book comes from Lori’s popular blog of the same name.

Raising My Rainbow is the story of her family as they navigate the often challenging but never dull privilege of raising a slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son.

  On December 14, 2012, Scarlett Lewis experienced something that no parent should ever have to endure: she lost her son Jesse in an act of unimaginable violence. The day started just like any other, but when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Scarlett’s life changed forever.

Following Jesse’s death, Scarlett went on an unexpected journey, inspired by a simple three-word message he had scrawled on their kitchen chalkboard shortly before he died: Norurting Helin Love (Nurturing Healing Love). It was as if he knew just what his family would need in order to go on after this horrible tragedy.

**As mentioned in the interview posted here, J.T. Lewis' website is**

    Award-winning poet Jeanne Murray Walker tells an extraordinarily wise, witty, and quietly wrenching tale of her mother's long passage into dementia.

This powerful story explores parental love, profound grief, and the unexpected consolation of memory.

  The documentary feature film, Breastmilk is screening as part of the upcoming Woodstock Film Festival.

Despite endless research on the benefits of breastfeeding, the stigma surrounding the natural practice has led to a new world of motherhood where maternity confronts sexuality and naturalists are confront a culture of baby formula, breast pumps and skepticism. The film features a wide range of frank and revealing interviews with breastfeeding women as they addresses the many questions around breast milk.

First time director/producer Dana Ben-Ari joins us now to talk about her experience making the film.

  This segment begins with audio from an episode of the 1980s television series, Fame. In the clip, Carol Burnett performs with the eldest of her three daughters, Carrie.  Carrie was a series regular and Carol joined the program as a guest star.

In 2002 - at the age of 38 - Carrie died of cancer. 

The new book, Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story is Carol Burnett’s poignant tribute to her late daughter and a funny and moving memoir about mothering an extraordinary young woman through the struggles and triumphs of her life. Sharing her personal diary entries, photographs, and correspondence, Carol traces the journey she and Carrie took through some of life’s toughest challenges.

    Kristine Barnett’s son Jacob has an IQ higher than Einstein’s, a photographic memory, and he taught himself calculus in two weeks.

But the story of Kristine’s journey with Jake is all the more remarkable because his extraordinary mind was almost lost to autism.

5/29/13 - Panel

May 29, 2013

  Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock and Times Union Associate Editor, Mike Spain. Ray Graf moderates.

Topics include:
Moms Are Now Primary Breadwinners In 40 Percent Of Homes
Drone Protestors
Circling the media wagons

    The Friday before Mother’s Day in 2011, we had Dave Isay on to talk about the book, Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps. As many of you know, StoryCorps is an oral history project designed to document the fascinating lives or normal people. That Spring, Sarah LaDuke's  Mom - Carolyn - turned 70 and retired, so she copied the StoryCorps model (they encourage everyone to do so) and we aired some of her recorded conversation with her mom.

Since that conversation, Carolyn LaDuke has been through a lot. She survived a heart attack in October of 2011 and was diagnosed - for the second time - with breast cancer in late September of 2012. She has recently finished two extremely trying rounds of chemotherapy and should begin radiation soon. This Friday before Mother’s Day - today - we wanted to share a new interview with Sarah's Mom.