Mothers Day! Mothers Bloody Day! Who invented this and what relevance does it have these days? What if the downtrodden male in today’s ‘double-income-required-to-pay-off-the-mortgage-from-hell’ type family actually does as much, or even more of the maternal stuff than the parent with the ovaries? Doesn’t he deserve at least a half share of the begrudging gratitude?
– Miffed Brit
You have this hussy to thank.
She’s Julia Ward Howe – and in 1872 she organized a Meeting of Mothers in Boston to promote peace. Of course Julia Ward Howe also wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic:
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on!
This was not a subtle broad.
For the next known observance of Mother’s Day, meet Juliet Calhoun Blakeley:
This twisted portion of the tale takes place in Pioneer-infested Michigan. On May 11, 1877 three young men were found roaming the streets of Albion really really wasted. It’s not simply that the three boys were sons of strict temperance advocates that set the town on edge, but that one of the boys was the pastor’s son. The following Sunday “the pastor was so distraught about the anti-temperance shenanigans that he had to leave the pulpit before the services were concluded.” I’m not kidding – this is how fagela the pastors were in the pioneer days. Unluckily, a certain Mrs. Juliet Calhoun Blakeley was sitting in the front row and she gladly pointed her sassy Victorian lace-up boots in the direction of the pulpit and took over the sermon for the remainder of the thing, calling on other mothers to join her. So this whole Mother’s Day deal was originally an anti-drinking campaign! Then for years after, Mrs. Blakeley’s super perfect wouldn’t-be-caught-dead-drinking-in-the-streets-of-Albion sons decided to honor their mother – and all mothers – with a churchy celebration held the second Sunday in May. In Albion. Albion, which only had like sixty-five residents, three of them drunkards. So how did Mother’s Day grow from that to this?
Now we get to blame Philadelphia. This is Anna Jarvis, one of its residents, who launched an intense campaign in 1908 to honor the memory of her own mother by creating a national day dedicated to all mothers. She called on local clergymen, business leaders, and John Wanamaker – who eventually offered the use of his store for the first Mother’s Day service, which was 15,000 people strong.
Mother’s Day + department store – now we’re getting closer!
The final piece of the puzzle stepped off a train in Kansas City two years later with two shoeboxes containing postcards under each arm.
This chucklehead was J.C. Hall, the 18-year old founder of Hallmark.
But in terms of men deserving a half share of the Mother’s Day macaroni art — I have just one word for you: Father’s Day.