Happy Birthday, Mama Alice!

My mother and I share many similarities. The wide Polish cheeks. That crazy cacophonous laugh. Terrible eating habits including talking with our mouths full and spilling crumbs everywhere.

Observing these similarities over time is enjoyable, occasionally annoying, and especially comforting on a day like her birthday. On May 6, 1954 Mama Alice was born in New York City. So today I woke up early intending to promptly embark on a celebratory Alice and Lauren type jaunt. At the time my agenda included hitting our favorite Whole Foods at Fresh Pond, procuring some croissants from our favorite bakery Quebrada, and baking Mama Alice’s famous butter-free, whole wheat apple pie.

Being on Alice Time

I woke up as if I had nothing on the docket and instantly became engrossed in my latest library check out, which led to reading it in the bathtub, a fool’s multitask. This is classic Alice. I don’t think I have a single memory of her in a rush to get anywhere. She’d leave for a grocery store and come back four hours later with a new haircut, a bag full of consignment shop finds and some recent town gossip. If I questioned her tardiness, she’d say something along the lines of, “Lauren, I can’t help it if people want to talk to me.”

Serendipitous Delight

The rest of the day couldn’t have been more perfectly imperfect if my mother had dreamed it up herself. I drove in circles. I just moved so 72 percent of the time I have no idea where I am never mind how to efficiently navigate toward my next destination. I wanted to go to the bakery first, purchase my pie ingredients at Whole Foods, write this blog post, and head home to bake.

Croissants from Quebrada Baking Co. on 208 Mass Ave. East Arlington, Mass. It's amazing and they have vegan treasures.

I got lost and ended up at Whole Foods first. While there I read the entire June issue of Psychology Today in the aisles to save $4.99 only to end up buying it for my roommate because I know she’ll love it. Finally I made it to Quebrada where I overpaid for some croissants, ate one in my car while spilling crumbs everywhere, and gave my roommate’s croissant to a homeless woman named Robin. Just this moment I decided to postpone baking in order to write outside while I eavesdrop on a mother meandering around with her daughter. Right now this 4-year-old fashionista is explaining why she would like to be a mom, a cook and a policeman.

How to Celebrate My Mom

If the above story thrilled you and you’d like to learn to celebrate my fabulous Mama, here is how: 1. Wander around guiltlessly and aimlessly. 2. Eat in your car as if your car were a park bench. 3. Don’t be afraid to make an illegal U-turn, or five.

Consignment Shop

More Serendipity? I didn't even realize I was sitting outside of a consignment shop while I wrote.



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4 responses to “Happy Birthday, Mama Alice!

  1. What a beautiful tribute, Lauren. I love the creativity, and the honoring of your mom’s ways.

    Such a lovely, creative, and spirited person. I’ll make U-turn (or 3).

  2. Caitlin

    “Lauren, I can’t help it if people want to talk to me.” (Hahahaha…officially stolen as my new phrase)

    LOVE this post! Threw me right back into the backseat of your Camry with the orange peels and apple cores. Is Alice the reason I feel okay making illegal U-turns? Because I will tell you people out in California act as if I am getting on Route 2 the wrong way. The brilliance and influence of your mom never ceases to amaze me.

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