the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

One Mother, One Day, Four Messages


“Hi, I just read your post about the coffee shop.  Very funny.  OK, that’s it.  It’s cold today.  Bye.”

“Hi, it’s me again.  They’re going to paint the house on Monday.  They’re doing the bathroom in “Lime.”  That’s light green.  They’re doing the living room in “Ivory.”  That’s white.  I don’t know why they call it “Ivory.”  And they’re doing one wall in the kitchen “American Cheese.”  OK, it’s slow at work today.  Bye.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.  “American Cheese” is orange.  Funny, right?  Because I don’t even like American cheese!”

“Hi, I just read your poem.  I didn’t understand it.  What does it mean in English?  Call me.”


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  1. CiCi

    I loved the poem and your mom’s messages. Sometimes I think that moms want more of that family connection – no matter how trivial or small. Mine was like that when I had moved away several years ago. Now that I’m back, she still makes that kind of phone call. It’s like an attempt to make us even more connected – if that makes sense. We’re close already – we even finish each other’s sentences and say things when the other is thinking it.

  2. Mist 1

    Suddenly, I really, really want some cheese.

  3. Neil

    Mist – Me, too. I’m a Swiss cheese type of guy.

  4. Pearl

    I like your mom, Neil. And I like the bond that you share with her. You’re very lucky, and so is she. But I guess you both knew that already, huh?

    BTW, were these messages on your phone or over email?

  5. plain jane

    That’s why I don’t leave messages for my adult children. I don’t want them to make fun of me on their blog!

  6. Neil

    Pearl — cell phone, which I always forget to answer (or at least that is my excuse).

    Plain Jane — The only difference is that I called her first and asked her advice on the best way to make fun of her.

  7. Lady

    I remember reading a clinical study about the colors used to paint to institutions – namely prisons. I believe yellow was said to incense the inmates. Wonder what comes of painting a kitchen the colour of ‘American Cheese’? Ewwww.

  8. Lady

    Whoops! So sorry luvie for those typos posted above.

  9. Neil

    Lady, I usually correct typos, but the one you made appeals to me as a newly-minted poet, so I’m going to keep it.

  10. Churlita

    I loved your poem, I just didn’t have time to comment at work today.

    I think your mother is wonderful. I can’t say anything bad about her, because I will be her in a few years when my daughters move out.

  11. gorillabuns

    my mother calls 3-4 times daily. she asks the same question every time. “are the kids okay? are you okay? everyone okay?” while the odd chance we might have been killed in a freak train accident during the two hour time span of our last conversation, didn’t occur, the neurotic speed dialing continues and by the end of the day, i lose my cool.

    it’s the same conversation, day after day. at least your mother threw in interesting color choices to ponder.

  12. V-Grrrl

    Mrs. Kramer rocks my wrrrld…

  13. Lux Lisbon

    My mother-in-law calls a few times a day also. I’m considering changing our number.

  14. Woman with Kids

    She’s too funny. I like that she explained the colors… ’cause, I mean, we’re all pretty slow here and need the extra help.

  15. tamarika

    Oh, I adore this post! If Gilad hadn’t thrown away his computer and refuses to do messaging, I would write such messages to him for sure! And your poem? A jewel … in English.

  16. ekramer

    the least you could of done is not put me in clothes from the year 1800

  17. psychomom

    Yeah Moms!

  18. Leezer

    Neil: I love your Mom. Can she be my second in line-Mom? Does she still call it a “blodge?” You are a lucky man. You also look like the woman in the photo. You can see it in the eyes.

  19. Bre

    Does she yell into the phone like mine does? Though it’s completely cliche, my mother still doesn’t understand that you can talk normally into a cell phone.

  20. orieyenta

    Jewish mothers…gotta love ’em.

  21. lizardek

    Shouldn’t it be called American processed cheese food?

  22. Amy K

    I love your cute mum almost as much as I love your blodge.

  23. better safe than sorry

    at least she knows how to leave a message. when my mom calls all i get is heavy breathing and left wondering if it was her or a prank call.

  24. Dana

    Coulda been worse. Coulda been “Velveeta” or–“Cheez Whiz.” Naaa. Cheez Whiz contains an illegal additive. You don’t want that on your kitchen walls.

  25. Neil

    Either way, it is a weird name for a paint. Have you ever gone to Home Depot and read the pretentious names of the paints? It’s how I amuse myself sometimes when CVS is too crowded.

  26. Two Roads

    the color of my kitchen is creamcicle – just like the ice cream!

  27. Erleichda!

    Oh, this made me laugh … I only live 30 miles from my parents & my mother has still been known to phone me 3 and 4 times a day (of course I’ve been known to call them that often to ask for cooking/wardrobe/electronics advice, too). Mums are adorable, sometimes even when they’re raising their children’s blood pressure …

    I’m a little terrified because my parents are finally getting online this weekend & they’ll be able to see the real virtual me!! Oh no!!

  28. Karla

    The only complaint I have about your mother is instead of calling you, she needs to leave these messages as comments to your blog. I don’t want to miss a single one.

  29. Pearl

    Your mom leaves much clearer msgs than mine. 🙂

  30. Nance

    The only time my mother reads my blog is when she goes to PA to visit her sister, who keeps up with it religiously and reads it to her. And Mom lives with my brother who owns a computer; she sleeps practically on top of it. Dear Mom…she really doesn’t quite “get” what the blog is. She calls it “messages I send to Aunt Shirley.”

  31. Lela

    You’re momma’s cute!!


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