Connie's Mom - Terrie Coady
Connie's grandma, Concepcion Barbosa, holding Connie's mama, Terrie Coady
Did your mom do much talking about her birth experience? Tell us a little about her while you're at it!
My mom talked about my birth all the time. I was born at Van Nuys Maternity Hospital on Sherman Way. I was the only one of my mother’s four children to be born at the hospital - the others were born at home. My mother told me that when she arrived at the hospital the nurses confined her to bed and put her in stirrups. She told the nurse that I was coming and that she needed to push. The nurses held her legs together and told her she was not allowed to push until her doctor got to the hospital. This slowed the whole thing down, and I ended up having to be pulled out with forceps. She was always angry at that hospital.
Connie Barbosa, was born in a small town in Chihuahua, Mexico called Camargo and eloped to the States with my dad to Los Angeles when they were teenagers. She worked in a cookie factory on an assembly line for .95 cents an hour, standing at a conveyor belt for 9 hours a day, with 1/2 hour lunch and two ten minute breaks, for 33 years.
Every memory I have of my mother is a cherished one.
I loved hiking with her. We'd go a lot to the Switzer Falls picnic area. She was a tall woman - big boned, big hands, broad torso, but she could move herself over fallen logs, over a rugged path, through a spring like it was nothing - she was so agile! She’d buy a fresh watermelon from a farm stand along the way and put it in the mountain stream to get it ice cold, then hit it against a rock and pass out the jagged pieces. This was heaven to me.
Tell us about what Connie (me!) was like growing up:
At 6, Connie was the perfect child, granddaughter, student and athlete. She knew what she wanted, she was confident, she listened intently to people who spoke to her, always made eye contact, and asked pointed and relevant questions. She was always collecting things when we went hiking - a twig, a rock, a dried bird’s nest, and, her most cherished collection of all - wild animal scat!
When Connie was 13, she and I went to the theatre to see Fiddler on the Roof. She was amazed at the live theatre; the songs were fraught with pain and joy of the Jewish culture and love and marriage; she loved it. We went to In n' Out after and she proclaimed this to be “the best night of her life”. We were alone with no other family members. It was a real treat.
I always thought she’d be a writer. By the time she was 10 years old, she was editing all the Golden Books in the house, offering grammar and syntax suggestions. She was creative, but also liked to play by the rules.
What does your typical weekday look like? (Terrie is the Community Liaison for the Los Angeles District Attorney's office)
Up at 6:00am, read the Skimm news feed, the LA Times, the NY Times
Whatever is the breaking news dictates how my day is going to go.
I drive 1.5 hours in traffic to Downtown Los Angeles, to the Hall of Justice (I listen to a lot of books on tape). I say good morning to our staff of 7.
I go through my schedule with my assistant Donna, who I could not live without.
I have several standing meetings ranging from check-ins with the Gender Responsive Team to a strategy team that deals with the reentry of incarcerated women into the community and reunions with their children and families; this committee also handles issues with incarcerated women who are pregnant. I often meet with law enforcement to study crime trends in certain parts of Los Angeles. Currently I am working with Hollywood and Skid Row to find out what crimes are going up and reaching out to business partners, non-profits and law enforcement to work to bring the numbers down. My job also includes planning international and domestic visits to our office. Recently we’ve had contingencies from Uganda and Mexico come to learn about child abduction, cyber crime and human trafficking units, to name a few. I’m also meet and listen to the concerns of activists groups, faith-based groups, and non-profits to hear their concerns and consider how the DAs office can support and facilitate in making LA County a more just and safe place to live for all.
I usually have an event in the evening at a Chamber of Commerce , Bar Association or Rotary and I come home around 9:00 pm to lay out a suit or outfit for the next day.
How has your life changed since your children flew the coop?
When my four children were little, I was a trial attorney - I would wake up at 6:00 get breakfast on the table, make lunches, drive them to their schools, go to court to argue a case, meet a client, visit a crime scene, then go pick up all the kids from school. Go grocery shopping, come home, make dinner, prepare for tests, make a dozen cupcakes for an event, go to CVS to get a poster board for a project, drop someone at the library or a friend's house. Plan girl scout programs (I was a girl scout leader too many times). Wash uniforms - both sports and school. Do homework, blow some noses, put a bandaid on a kid, sew a button, counsel one of you who had a relationship issue, a teacher issue, or a friend issue. Fill out a permission form. Make out a check for an outing or field trip. Count change for a treat from school. I was the room mom, the team mom, and the house mom.....taking in all the kids who did not want to go home to their own homes.
What do you wish your good-for-nothin’ kids would get you for Mother’s Day from our website??
Wow!! I love the Abstract Nude Earrings, the Bunel Cuff, and all of the Loop Vases and of course those two babies that model for you!!! Can I order them? (*Connie chiming in here to say, damn, Mom. You have good taste.)
Alex's Mom - Linda Hoffman
What did your own mom tell you about her experiences as a new mom?
My mother, Annette, told me she decided to breastfeed me and was met with fierce resistance! I imagine, at the time, her friends thought there was something wrong with wanting to breastfeed – as if it was unnatural!
Annette always worked outside the home. She started Murette Publications with her friend, Muriel, publishing children’s coloring books in foreign languages. After several years of commuting to NYC and finding the ‘magazine’ publishing world quite shallow (a publisher wanted them to offer a new magazine along the line’s of Woman’s Day) they closed their office. She ended up going to college to get her BA at the University of Pennsylvania when I was 9 and my brother Jon was 6. Then she went on to get her PhD from Bryn Mawr and became a renowned anthropologist! She wasn’t really around for school plays, baking brownies, or the like—but she was there when it mattered and she ultimately gave me the freedom to become who I am today.
One of my most cherished memories of her is arriving in Kwaibwaga Village in the Trobriand Islands, Papua , New Guinea, and being greeted by the villagers so eager to show us our new house, a small hut without running water and electricity, where we would be living together for the next four months.
Annette Weiner was an anthropologist know for retracing the steps of Malinovski and proving many of his theories quite wrong! Read more about her here.
Tell us a story about Alex when he was little…
Alex once asked, ”How does God see everything all at once?” But before I could answer, he said, “Is it because he has gold in his eyes?” He was determined, sure of himself, and very creative. I had no idea what Alex would be when he grew up, but I had faith he would do something uniquely his.
What does a typical weekday look like for you?
A typical weekday is up before 6, meditating or doing yoga, caring for 300 apple trees, weeding berries, making wax figures, paying bills, taking out the compost, listening to the birds, being anxious about deadlines, answering emails, not posting to Instagram, worrying about our old dog that can hardly go upstairs, organizing farm workers, not doing the publicity I should for the farm and my sculpture exhibit, weeping at the news from the New York Times, bemoaning how far we live from Lui and Vita!
How has that changed from when your kids were home?
When my kids were growing up most of my days were spent in my studio on the ground floor of our house/church. We had help at home and I focused on my art on the weekdays. Weekends were family days.
What do you think about this whole pottery thing?
I love East Fork pottery! I have some in my home, though not enough. I also have my favorite tea mug that Alex made at Guilford College - I am waiting for it to become the special edition East Fork legacy mug, so I don’t have to worry about it breaking. It’s already over ten years old and I use it every day!
What non-pottery stuff do you want to get for Mother’s Day?
I would love some wooden spoons when they return!*
Linda, if you're reading this - the point of this to sell stuff online!! You can’t recommend products that people can’t currently buy!
(Kidding, but also not kidding)
Debby Vigeland - John's Mom
Tell us a bit about your childhood. Did your mom give you any details of your birth?
I was born in Omaha, NE and no, I didn’t get many details from my mom – other that in those days, they kept new moms in the hospital for 2 weeks! I don’t think moms back then talked much about this. It felt to me like birth was something that just happened to them and that the doctor was the star player. Dr. Spock was big back then, and my mom probably thought his word was gospel.
My mom was a traditional stay-at-home mom and was the foundation for our family. My dad was a young neurosurgeon and wasn’t home very often. Mom always put my sister and me first, making sure we had everything that she thought we needed. She had a great sense of humor but was a very proper lady. She was always more concerned with how those around her felt, and I think she never really spent time thinking about what she wanted. And of course, you never did anything back then that was out of the traditional norm.
The times when we laughed together were the best. I’ll never forget the time when we “sneaked” out of the house to go downtown together one evening. I was a teenager so Mom would have been in her 40’s. I say “sneaked” as her dad lived with us and would not have approved. We drove back up the driveway with our headlights off, trying to be as stealthy as possible. The window flew open above the garage, and my grandfather stuck his head and said, “Where the hell have you two been?”. For some reason, neither of could stop laughing and years later, whenever we recalled this, we would laugh again until it hurt.
What are some of your most cherished memories of John as a kid?
There are so many, but I’ll share something about John in his first hours of life. It was Labor Day weekend, and our nanny who took care of his older sisters (not yet two!) during the week wasn’t “on duty” when I unexpectedly went into labor. So, very shortly after he was born I was alone with John in my room for the evening. I remember this as vividly as if it were yesterday. I was holding this brand new precious person and soaking in everything about him. I remember his size, his sleeping face, how he fit against my shoulder and even how he smelled. I experienced the strong sensation that he was now a separate person from me, and although I would protect him as fiercely as I could, I had delivered him out into a world that would be his to discover. My heart no longer entirely resided in my body, it would always be roaming the planet with each of our three children. Terrifying and amazing!
I didn’t really think about being a mom when I was growing up – not really even when I was in my early 20’s. However, finding John’s dad (who was and is my soulmate) really brought out the maternal gene in me. We both strongly wanted to be parents together.
Tell us about John when he was 6!
Well, here goes the momma in me! John was the most amazing and perfect 6 year old! He was a gorgeous child with bright blond hair & an infectious smile. Even back then, his intelligence was evident in his eagerness to learn and to ask questions about everything around him. Best of all, he was such a delight! He had an infectious sense of humor (sound familiar yet?) and was well-liked by all of his school friends. John was never afraid to show his love.
What did you think John would be when he grew up?
That was a question I pondered a lot and never could find an answer. He just seemed to be such a “renaissance man” even from the beginning. I really couldn’t predict what his journey would be. Guess I can say that I still can’t, as he continues to grow and gain in his insights into himself. John is blessed with having many gifts and could pretty much do whatever he sets his mind on.
What does a typical day look like for you right now?
I am so incredibly fortunate right now. My days are full and I take the time each and every day to appreciate what I have. That’s one positive about getting older and retiring. If you’re lucky to have your health and be with the person you want to spend your life with, you’ve got everything. Yoga, walking, hiking, cooking & reading are my daily activities. I so love being able to see two of our three kiddos more frequently that when we lived in Texas. Got to get Sarah out of Wisconsin!
Time has a different dimension for me since retiring. I’m much more aware of watching change, being able to expand moments to slow time. I’m also acutely aware that I’m heading down the slope of the other side of the hill (actually, more than half way down), and sometimes that leads me to intense feelings I’m still sorting out.
How do your days differ from when you had kids?
I was fortunate that we had a terrific nanny in the very early years, as Bob and I both worked. My workday back then wasn’t crazy, so I wasn’t away from our children for extended periods of time. Very early on, we moved to Texas (Bob’s career) and I transitioned to a stay-at-home Mom until John was in middle school. We always had memorable dinners together, discussing everything under the sun. I still can see John’s older sisters sitting at the table after dinner teaching him algebra. Car trips were partly spent reading aloud (older sister influences again) and John was quite well-versed in Greek Mythology before it was a formal subject in school.
How do you feel about this whole pottery thing?
Well…I don’t have to tell any of you how I feel about “this pottery thing”! Our home is filled with EFP, and we enjoy using these special pieces every time we eat. Had to design shelving in our Living Room just to be sure we had some appropriate space to display EF as well as the some of the earlier kiln-fired pieces. Oh goodness, I always have a wish list. I would love another Large Potter’s bowl in one of the new glazes, and the non-EFP object I have my eyes on is one of the gorgeous rolling pins.