In honor of what would have been my mother’s 85th birthday (she was born Sept. 7, 1931), I’ve scoured put together a collection of her greatest quotes. Cheers mom — and thanks for all the wit, wisdom and laughter!
Scene: Early September dinner time at the Crews household and my hair is in pre-Bo Derek cornrows because it meant I didn’t have to wash it if Miss Ruby, my nanny, braided it that way.
Mother: So what did you and Ruby do today, Nicole?
Me: Ruby took me to my first day of school!
Father: She did what?!
Me, proudly: Yes, we walked to Kern Street School and I signed up for the free lunch!
Mother, dropping her cigarette: Hand me the phone, Joe.
Scene: Driving from the lake on Mother’s Day in a bikini with a bucket of chicken, and emerging from the car to greet mother.
Mother: Yeesh, Nicole, do you even own any pants?
Me: Says the woman who greeted my high school date at the door in panties and one of dad’s undershirts.
Mother: Well, we didn’t have air conditioning.
Mother: So what do you want to watch tonight?
Me: I thought we could watch the Super Bowl.
Mother: I’m sorry, my hearing must be going. I thought you said you wanted to watch the Super Bowl.
Me: Very funny. C’mon, it’ll be fun with the commercials and the half-time show.
Mother: This reminds me of when you were a cheerleader and I asked if you understood football.
Me: What did I say?
Mother: You said ‘it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, you still get to cheer.’
Mother: Did you watch the Final Four? Duke won?
Me: I know, mother. The whole world knows mother – with the exception of certain drag queens and various Trappist monks.
Mother: Well if they’re from North Carolina they should know it, too.
Scene: Epic Halloween blowout at my late ’90s apartment and my mother shows up in a full-length mink with a sweeping sable collar and a More menthol dangling from her mouth.
Me: So who are you supposed to be?
Mother: You in forty years.
Me: So for Mother’s Day we could get mother-daughter tattoos. What would yours say?
Mother: Do not resuscitate.
Mother: So what event are you attending tonight?
Me: “Corks for Kids.”
Mother: Good. Children today don’t know how to use cutlery.
Me: I said “Corks” not “Forks,” mother.
Mother: What’s the difference?
On my love life:
Mother: So why did you come home so early from your date last night?
Me: That’s none of your business.
Mother: Nicole, your love life is a conundrum, not a business.
Mother: So, are you single handedly bringing back “The Rachel?”
Me: Rachel who worked at the coffee shop or Rachel the buyer at Bloomingdales?
Mother: Does it matter? It’s still Greek Girl Blond.
Me: Says the woman who went from Cruella DeVille to Tina Louise in one swift dye job.
Mother: Answer the question.
Me: Well if it’s Bloomingdale’s buyer then yes, why not? It’s worked for Greek girl Jen Aniston for all these years.
Mother: Angelina Jolie might beg to differ.
Me: Your hair may be lighter, but your roots are still dark.
Mother: So has anyone come up with a slogan for Greensboro yet?
Me: I drove by the Convention & Visitor’s Bureau the other day and noticed a club next door called “Sexy Party Bar & Club.” Maybe that should be it: Greensboro: It’s one Sexy Party.
Mother: They should have embraced the Green trend when it was still green.
Me: That’s what my friend Angie said when we were walking the Greenway the other day.
Mother: Greensboro: The Green Way
Me: I just wish they would stop building doo-dads along the Greenway and finish the actual Greenway.
Mother: The Greenway wasn’t built in a day.
Me: You may be on to something.
Mother: You never know a man until you see him on a boat, on a mountain or in the cut.
Me: How about in his cups?
Mother: Well, that’s a given.
Mother: What did you have for dinner last night?
Me: I clubbed some baby kale.
Me: I needed strength for the Golden Globes.
On the Oscars:
Mother: Did you watch the Oscars?
Me: You mean the Oprahs?
Mother: The camera did seem to spot on her a lot.
Me: Yeah. You’d think she was Kanye at the Grammys.
Mother: Who is Kanye? Oh. I know. That rude rapper. I’m glad he’s not in the movies. So many rappers are.
Me: Street cred pays off on screen. I have to say that I love Common though.
Mother: Who is Common?
Me: He’s kind of like the Harry Belafonte of this era.
Mother: Then why is he called Common?
Me: I think he was originally named Common Sense but some ska band with the same name sued him.
Mother: I’m not even going to ask what ska is. It sounds like something my neighboring Swedes would eat in Minnesota.
Mother: Where are you going all dressed up?
Me: I’ve got another funeral.
Mother: Don’t be like me and outlive all of your friends.
Me: You’ve still got me mother.
Mother: Nicole, you’re my child. Not my friend.