The Osmonds made it to #1 in the United States with their hit single ONE BAD APPLE in 1970.
Donny Osmond hit #1 with GO AWAY LITTLE GIRL in 1971.
Marie Osmond made it to #1 with PAPER ROSES in 1973.
Our own little brood of talented children was growing as the Osmonds were growing in popularity. By the time we had six children, I figured we should have the next family sensation. I mean, our children have talent oozing out of every pore. It was only natural.
Just a couple of things stood in our way.
1. None of the six bubbled over with enthusiasm, as in, “When do we start, Dad?”
2. I couldn’t twist our name into anything as catchy as “The Osmonds.”
Flash forward to 1992. My mother was forced to retire at age 93. She would have worked until she hit 100 if allowed to do so. “What else would I do?” was here anthem. After leaving work, she moved half-way across the United States to be with me and the four youngest children. At the time, I was a single, working parent. Now, I have nightmares nearly every day that I didn’t find enough time for either the children, or for my mother.
My mother wanted to write the “Great American Novel.” She was never able to find the time or the opportunity. Maybe now that she was retired, she could start writing in earnest. All she asked from me was to help her find the proper typewriter, since she had left hers behind. To my shame, I gave up after only one day of searching.
Another project she wanted to complete before she died was a book of her favorite sayings. It was to be a book of proverbs and rhymes that she grew up with or developed over the years. Some were famous, but most were her originals. One of her favorite Psalms was 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” One of her many original adages was, “Keep your hands out of your pockets. You look like a Doukhobor barnstorming.”
Again, I failed her.
After she died, I self-published a book of as many of her quotations as I could remember under the title THINGS MY MOTHER TRIED TO TEACH ME. It was too little. Too late.
Miraculously, I also have a couple-of-dozen letters my mother wrote me through the years. Oh, how I wish I had listened to her when they were written!
Today, these stories about my mother and about the Osmonds come full-circle.
You don’t have to stretch your imagination to know this 70-year-old man choked up quite often while reading Marie’s book.
I am not sexist when I say I believe the primary target of this book is probably women. I mean, one of her other books was BEHIND THE SMILE: MY JOURNEY OUT OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION, which I’m guessing wasn’t aimed at men. I knew about the message of BEHIND THE SMILE, and since I have chronic depression, I stayed away from it, as much as I love Marie Osmond!
THE KEY IS LOVE has many sayings and letters from Olive Osmond, Marie’s mother. It reads so much like THINGS MY MOTHER TRIED TO TEACH ME. For example, Mother Osmond would also refer to Psalms 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”
At one point in her life, my mother counseled unwed mothers. Three of these girls lived with us for a time. Marie wrote that the Osmond parents “made room in their growing household a number of times to give shelter to young (pregnant) women.”
Their is so much in this book I wanted to underline. Then I realized a couple of things. If I underlined and made notes for things that touched me, the text would be unreadable. Also, anyone reading my copy would never understand WHY these sections hit home.
Still, I might read this wonderful book again, and this time, I will mark it up. If I can focus through moist eyes.
Marie devotes a chapter to the loss of her son Michael. It is a very tough chapter to read. In other places, Marie repeats her struggles of being a working mother – at times a single, working mother. Her anguish rings true throughout.
Thanks to Marie, I have been inspired to re-write THINGS MY MOTHER TRIED TO TEACH ME. This time, I will include excerpts from those letters she wrote to me. Her wisdom has not faded in the years since she wrote them, it has only strengthened.
I wrote a sequel to my mother’s book titled, THINGS THE WORLD HAS TRIED TO TEACH ME. It ends with my theme, “The secret of life is love.”
Or, in the words of Olive Osmond, “The key to life is love.”