12 More Things You Don’t Know About My Mom And I Probably Shouldn’t by Oliver, Aged 11


My brother, Sebastian, wrote about my mum last year and because we are twins, it’s only fair I have a turn.

She comes from England and I like it there. I like the rain and the cozy houses but she’s says they get old pretty quick. She should know; she’s old.

She makes me eat super healthy and forces me to run about but she took me shopping on my birthday so she’s a pretty good mom, really.

Here are a few things about her life you probably don’t know. I didn’t.

And I’m not sure I should.

12 Things You Don’t Know About My Mom

1. She took her high school English Literature advanced exams having read only one of the ten assigned texts in its entirety. She didn’t do as well as she could have.

2. She doesn’t like Shakespeare. In fact, she says that if she has to watch ‘King Lear’ one more time, she may have to go up on stage and kill him herself.

3. She hated economics in high school but a lesson that has never left her was the one on diminishing returns where her teacher used eating multiple Mars Bars to make her point. My mum always remembers that when she’s eating multiple Mars Bars.

4. She was planning to study American Literature at university requiring a year of study in the US. Then she watched a documentary about sororities and fraternities and dropped the idea.

5. She eventually went to university when she was 32, in San Francisco, where, ironically, she ended up studying American Literature.

6. While there, she got in an argument with a Jesuit priest over his intent to spoil her 4.0 average over a late paper. She didn’t win. Obviously there wasn’t enough Catholicism in her life prior to the age of seven or she would never have dared question the man.

7. The toughest classes she ever took in her life by far were for general ed credit at her local community college. Each class cost $45.

8. When she rolled up on American shores, she nearly got sent straight back home again when an immigration officer took a dislike to her. He raised himself up, leaned over the counter and boomed, ‘You have no job, no money and no domicile. You bother me.’ She was sent, quaking, to a holding area for some time but eventually navigated it thanks to the immigration lead who took pity on her. Phew for me!

9. My mum and dad were married in the Napa Valley, California, by a humanist priest, a role my mum had never heard of but thought meant years of studying theology at college. She was wrong on that one.

10. Her first green card interview after marrying my dad resembled the real life version of the movie, ‘Green Card’ rather too much for her liking. Interrogated at length, having her proofs of legitimacy repeatedly discarded, she shook with fear not knowing that all the while her undisclosed 8-week twin pregnancy (that would include me!) would win her the fast track. The hour-long interview was followed by another, 18 months later, painstakingly prepared for in light of the earlier experience that lasted 2 minutes once photographic proof of a couple with two incredibly cute babies (that would include me!) was forthcoming. Who knew?

11. Even after 15 years of living in CA, she still has trouble being understood. The word ‘water,’ especially when ordered in movie theaters, seems to provide particular difficulty but it’s probably her fault because she refuses to say it with an American accent. She has learned to shout when ordering, however.

12. She has five different accents: American (so the Brits say,) Aussie (so the Americans say,) BBC announcer, the one she uses back home with her family, and Royal. She uses the last one when she wants to complain about something. And it never fails.

You didn’t know any of that, did you? Me, neither. Gulp.

She’s a wild one, that Warrior Woman. 😉

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Galit Breen
April 15, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Love it lady! This is cute and clever and your guy is a doll!

I love the 5 accents and shouting while ordering! 🙂
Galit Breen recently posted..The Red Dress Club- A Phone CallMy Profile


Alison Golden April 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Galit, when I first arrived in the US, and ordered in restaurants, I spoke so softly that some very strange surprises arrived at my table. Not at all what I had wanted.


Mary E. Ulrich
April 16, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Oliver, you are a born interviewer and writer. This is adorable in any language.

Still trying to figure out what a humanist priest is? Love the line about jumping up and killing King Lear herself.

Alison, you have amazing kids because you are amazing. Enjoy each other.
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Alison Golden April 20, 2011 at 9:16 am

You are too sweet, Mary. I have a better idea what a humanist priest is now but it was a *totally* new concept for me at the time.


April 17, 2011 at 9:31 am


I did not pick up on the fact that your other son is named Oliver. I love the names Oliver and Sebastian. And please tell them both that they are excellent writers and paint a lovely picture of their mom (or is it mum?) with words.
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Alison Golden April 20, 2011 at 9:14 am

Thank you, Beth. ‘Mum’ and ‘mom’ are interchangeable at this point although it still feels weird seeing ‘Mommy’ written on my Mother’s Day card. 🙂


Mika Castro December 6, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Smart kid! Very clever one to tell stories about her mom’s success! you are so lucky!
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