Listen » Nancy Wright and her son JD
Nancy Wright tells her son, JD, about her mother, Frances Ericksen.
Recorded in Gainesville, FL
Produced by Katie Simon.
Facilitated by Jeremy Helton.
Click here to read the transcript for this story.
Nancy Wright (NW): She was real small. She was like five feet, two inches tall. And...
JD Wright (JD): She didn't look that small... when you were around her...
NW: No, but she was... she was a formidable presence. And she was really defiant of authority. I remember a story when she was growing up one time, of going into a, a classroom and the screen door behind her slamming shut, and the teacher thought she had slammed the door, and made her go back and close it quietly one hundred times in a row. So, she closed it quietly ninety-nine times and then slammed the hell out of it the, the one-hundredth time.
JD: So, what was your relationship like with her?
NW: We had an interesting time, especially in adolescence. We were pretty compatible up to that point. And then, uh, I think we grated on each other's nerves quite a bit. And our relationship really kind of went downhill from there. She was critical of me and very judgment laden. And, finally, when I was about thirty, we were together, and it was just a miserable weekend. I felt our relationship was awful. And, I told her right before I left, that, um, I couldn't deal with that kind of criticism anymore. And it wasn't helping me. And she said that that's what mothers do. And I said I didn't need a mother anymore; I needed a friend. That if she wanted to continue to try and be my mother that way, that I, I didn't want that. But, to call me if she wanted to be my friend. She was very angry and upset. And, um, and I kind of almost didn't expect to hear from her, because she could be a little stubborn. It's kind of a family trait. And, uh, I think about two weeks, though, after that conversation, I picked up the phone one day and a kind of small voice said on the other side, um, 'Hi. This is your friend.' And it was. And we stayed friends until she died. With only occasional lapses in critical judgment. But, I think I had my lapses too.