Weekly Challenge #5: Interview Your Parents

Gregory Peck. Her adult celebrity crushes have included Patrick Stewart, Niles from Fraiser and the dad from Growing Pains.
* If she could be anything, she’d love to be an actress, like Emma Thompson. She’d also love to be able to sing, since she can’t carry a tune.
* If money were no object, she would rent a villa in Italy for a month and have everyone in the family come visit. We’d have meals outdoors, swim in the pool and walk into town. She’d also love to go on a safari, but the ones that aren’t scary.

What are some fun facts about your parents? I’d love to hear! xo

P.S. Having babies in Paris.

  1. Emma Thompson is my ultimate talent crush!

    I learned that when my Mom was 18, she packed everything she owned into her bright yellow Trans Am and moving by herself from a small town in Ohio to Florida. I always knew that she’d moved down when she was young but I didn’t know she was 18. Or the proud owner of a yellow Trans Am. Or alone. When I asked her why, her response was “I was tired of snow.”

    This apple didn’t fall far from the tree, even if it lives far away :)

  2. So, just wanted to say that I’ve never been able to carry a tune, either, but I took a music class in college (required for my major) in which we all had to sing – in front of others in the class. It was a stretch, for sure, but everyone was doing it, so there was that we’re-all-in-this-together feeling, and there was no judging. Anyway, the teacher said everyone can, in fact, sing, it’s not a talent but a skill that you practice. So if your mom really wanted to try it, she should just go for it! She could take lessons, just for fun, and see what happens. I am still not a good singer, but I’ve “practiced” a lot with my babies, and I think I’m improving a bit. :)

  3. This was so great, thank you! We were on vacation with my entire family for my mom’s 60th birthday and we asked her your great question (and more) over a beachside dinner. It was such a fun way to commemorate the event. We learned that she wanted to be a nutritionist for an airline when she was younger and the thoughts behind the decisions to move the family across the country (twice!). It was fascinating and we had amazing dinner conversation as a result.

  4. I did this! Two weekends ago – hoping this summer to interview my 92 year old grandmother – and it was transformative. I found out stuff I never knew & it somehow created this safe-zone where my parents forgot they were my parents for a while and just…talked. Like we were old friends. I cannot recommend this challenge enough. I’m going to pull my favorite bits & post on my website this week :) Thanks!

  5. What a cool idea! I so need to do this with my mom. Too bad my dad is already gone…. Thanks for the tip!

  6. This is kind of on the sad side but my grandmother once told me about the day she was in the kitchen, she was very young, maybe five years old and they were cutting beans for dinner. Her father was in the basement making booze (this must have been during prohibition). One of the beans fell on the floor and her younger sister picked it up and put it in her mouth and began to choke. My grandmother could tell something was wrong so she picked her up and tried to comfort her but the little girl was choking. They didn’t have the Heimlich maneuver back then so her sister choked to death right there. They had no idea how to help her. It was such a sad and shocking story. I could tell that even though she was only five, she felt somehow responsible. Heartbreaking. I wonder, how many people died by choking before the Heimlich was well-known. It made me realize life is precious and yet insignificant at the same time.

  7. There is a bit of a language barrier in my family for me, because I always grew up speaking English back to my parents who spoke Spanish to me, so I have always wanted to chat with my boisterous grandmother, but have never done a very good job at it.
    However, once my mom told me the story of how they came to America. My mom, her sisters and my grandmother were then living in Ecuador and were very wealthy because my grandfather old a huge rice farm. However, one day my grandmother found out that her husband had many families on the side and was supporting all of them. My mom told me after my grandmother found out she chased him around with a shotgun! Long story short, a fire happened on the farm, and the barn was where they stored all of their money so they lost everything. My mom ended up convincing my grandmother that they could all move to America and be happy by themselves and make a new life. So they did. They moved to New York where my grandma, mom and aunt sewed in a factory. Eventually my mother became a jeweler and my aunt modeled for a while. Such an inspiring woman-power story! Up until a few years ago I had never known that who I met in America was not my real grandfather, but my grandmother’s second marriage. Who knew!

  8. Toby look so like your Dad, it’s weird!

  9. I found out my dad retired at 54. That’s so young!!

  10. Man, I totally want to be friends with your Mom…

  11. I think it’s such a great idea to ask your parents what may seem to be mundane questions. You think you know them, but there’s probably a part of them you don’t know.

    My mom was never one to talk about her past because she had a difficult childhood – she grew up very poor and my granddad was a career criminal who was in and out of jail most of his life. Last summer, though, my daughter was embarking on her first summer job and so I asked my mom what I thought was a pretty innocuous question – what was her first job – and it turns out she worked for a bookie who was a friend of granddad’s. She worked in the front, which was a record store, but the back was where all the gambling took place and she had a button under the cash register that she was to press if the police or anyone suspicious entered. Her stories about her days at the record story were thrilling, a little scary, but mostly funny. I was so glad that I asked.

  12. Haha, I totally do this from time to time. I am quite inqusitive (like my father)…

  13. D says...

    You’re going to name your daughter Emma now aren’t you? ;) (that is, if this babe is a girl!)

  14. Who didn’t have a crush on Gregory Peck? ;)

    • M. says...

      Exactly what I was thinking.

      I still gush over him.

  15. I was just talking with my mom a few weeks ago about when she was growing up in the 60’s and her mother worked as a secretary. She was saying that none of her friends had working mothers at the time. She went to secretary school and was always practicing shorthand and typing because she had to be a very fast at typing in order to get hired. It reminded me of Mad Men!

  16. your mom’s celeb crushes are hilarious! niles from frasier…i love it!

  17. What a fun post! Although I didn’t interview my parents recently, this is what my mom told me a few years ago. She went on 8 arranged marriage date before she met my dad. Arranged marriage dates (usually set up by the parents or matchmakers) were popular practice in Korean tradition way back. Young people can openly meet one another in public through these dates, and their social status (or usually the parent’s wealth) were usually similarly matched so they were believed to make sense in terms of marrying each other.

    When I asked her what she liked about him, she said he was athletic (he was a great soccer player and a tennis player), kind of old fashioned but was very respectful, had a good job, his jokes were silly but unforgettable, and he came from a large loving family which she saw a great value in. So they officially dated for 1.5 month and got married in fall.

    The funny thing she found out after they got married was – before my mom met my dad, my grandfather (mom’s dad) was a big soccer fan and used to host parties for the young soccer players from another town after their soccer matches. Having three daughters, my grandfather thought it would be a good way for young people to meet. However, my dad never showed up to these parties and didn’t had the chance to meet my mom prior to their arranged date. At the party though, she would hear other people talking about my dad how he won the game for their team, and she wondered who this mystery guy was. So she had a secret crush on him for a while, but eventually moved on because she was getting married and all. Never in million years, she thought that the mystery man would later become her husband!

    So that’s the best part of the story how they two met. It makes me smile every time I think about it. I haven’t told this story to anybody in a very long time, but I am glad to share it. Thank you for the opportunity, Joanna.

  18. Since I see my mother every day, I have never given it a lot of thought. Now I really want to this too! It would be exciting to know about her childhood and when she was yound, since she lived in the Soviet Union.

    • oh, she must have a loooooot of interesting stuff to say, i’m sure! You MUST make her talk, seriously.

  19. My Momma also had a big time crush on gregory peck. After seeing Roman Holiday, I jumped on that bandwagon too! :)

  20. Has your mom ever read The Sense & Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries by Emma Thompson? She’d probably love it, if she hasn’t. It’s one of my favorite books, mostly for the diaries, but I also love the movie itself.

  21. Once my Dad revealed that him and his girlfriend (before he met my Mom) rented a house in rural Iowa for a summer and made wine in the basement! How is that person the same person that would become irate about wet towels on the wood floor?

  22. Goodness, for a minute I was wondering if you interviewed me! I long to be able to sing well, and renting a villa in Italy (or Spain) has long been on my bucket list (inspired by part of the Rosamund Pilcher book, The Shell Seekers) I wasn’t in a commercial but I did model in some fashion shows for Sears :)

  23. That’s such a nice idea. I’ve thought about it with older relatives but, honestly – we should begin with our parents, as well! Love it.

  24. i love the idea of the villa. and 1.60 an hour?! that’s madness!

  25. I love this idea for a blog post! I’ll be copy-catting. :)

  26. I just had an assignment to write a profile piece, so I interviewed my 90-year-old grandma… I recorded three hours of her talking about everything. She remembers when chocolate chip cookies were invented. Seriously.

  27. My mom is a teacher, and she put my dad through law school when they were first married. They moved far away from home for him to go to law school, and it all happened very spontaneously. I recently learned that before my mom had moved down to Florida, my dad went to the elementary school and interviewed for her, and then ended up teaching her class for the first couple of days of school while she was moving!

  28. I love the pictures of your parents, what a nice couple they make! How fun to interview them. I did that with my grandmother and she told me a story of how her grandfather was a doctor and she went with him to deliver a baby and remembers riding through a creek on the way there and seeing the water come over the wagon wheel (yes, in a covered wagon). She said he had a keychain with tiny gold rings on it and he gave one to every baby he delivered. She also said she remembers being scolded for not accepting the cobbler the family offered her because it had sorghum molasses in it and she didn’t like it. He said she should have choked it down and told them how delicious it was! I loved hearing her stories. She also won Miss Texas in the late 1920’s and went on to compete in and win the Miss America pageant. She met George Burns and Gracie Allen while she was in Atlantic City at the pageant. Her pictures are absolutely stunning. She had quite the adventurous young life!!

    • This story made me smile. It’s crazy to me how much world change that generation saw!

  29. OMG! I had a huge crush on Niles from Frasier too (I was 27 back then :P) and I had always thought it was ridiculous :) Say hi to mom!

  30. you’d be surprised how affordable renting a villa in italy can be! It’s effectively like Air BnB, but in another country. You should look into it, maybe that would make an awesome family trip next year!

  31. Love the idea of interviewing your parents. I’m sure I would learn a lot too. I just learned a couple of months ago that my dad was a weed dealer in college. I was shocked, but I thought it was funny.
    xo Quinn

    Quinn Cooper Style

  32. a few years ago, my brother & i took my mom out to dinner and had several glasses of wine with her which opened her up to talk about her rebellious teen years. she grew up in the 70’s in brazil and she never wanted to share with, us for example, that she train hopped all across brazil with her boyfriend and ran away from her parents house for a few weeks.

  33. That’s really sweet! I love that, only go on the safari’s that aren’t scary!

  34. One of the coolest things I learned about my mom over the years is when she was pregnant with my older brother, the Fonz kissed her on cheek, patted her baby bump, told her to have a good pregnancy, and of course gave her a thumbs up! I wish it was me that was in her belly :)