First Words — 04 May 2013
Something special, for Mother’s days


My mom is calling.

“Did you remember to fix the mistake in your editor’s letter?’’ she says, before anything else. “The one where you used the last name of the woman you were writing about but not her first name?’’

“Uh,” I say, shifting uncomfortably, “I didn’t really do that, did I?”

“Yes,” she says. “That was pretty silly.’’

“Uh,” I say. Fortunately, she can’t see me turning red. “Yes, that was pretty silly.’’

There are many people behind the scenes at City & Shore. I will eventually write a letter about each of them, about how grateful I am for the contributions they make to bring the magazine to you each month.

But today, seven short shopping days from Mother’s Day, I’m writing about how grateful I am for the one who’s helped me the longest.

My mom.

My mom, who called after reading one of my letters a couple of years ago and asked if I’d meant to write Sedona instead of Sonoma.

“Aggggh,” I said. “Yes.’’

My mom, who called after reading the cover of the magazine a few months later and asked if I’d meant to write Sizzling instead of Sizzing.

“Yes,’’ I said. “Aggggh.’’

“Your mother reviewed your latest article,” says my dad, my mom’s messenger. “She thinks the paragraph beginning, ‘At lunch overlooking…’ was a bit rambling. Maybe you could read it over again and see if it could be smoothed out.”

“Well, ah, you know,” I say. “She’s right.”

Mom is always right.

My mom writes me a lot of letters and clips stories she thinks might be interesting to me, but she has no formal journalism experience or training. She’s just watching out for me, the way she has through birth, braces, Boy Scouts, broken hearts, broke bank accounts and fender benders. (I’m going to hear from Mom about all the B’s in that sentence.)

We only get one Mom in life. We should all be so lucky to have one who watches out for us so well, and for so long.

About a year ago, I got a letter from the Society of Professional Journalists that my editor’s letters had won first place in statewide competition. “We won!” I said, sharing the news with Mom, like I did when I made Eagle Scout, got my braces off, found true love, cashed my first paycheck, bent my first fender (instead of hers).

“That’s nice,’’ she said, “But in the last paragraph of your next letter, I wondered if you should drop the ‘And I watch as’ and replace it with, ‘He drives past, etc…’ ”

“Well, ah, you know,” I say. “You’re right.”

I’m happy my mom’s still watching out for me. I’d like to send her some of the jewelry we write about this issue, or pick out something nice for her from among our Mother’s Day Giving guide or take her to one of our trendsetting restaurants or just sit with her and dish about ABC’s Scandal, our cover story.

But I’ll probably just send her a letter, with love.


—Mark Gauert,

 Photo: An early collaboration with my mom.


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