Friday, May 11, 2007

Mom is the word

“What are you doing for Mother’s Day?”

I was going to go to my mom’s house in Ellenville. But the question from Freeman Managing Editor Sam Daleo was about what the Life department was preparing to do for mom’s special day.

“A story,” I replied.

“That’s it?” Sam said.

Freakish pause. Disapproving frown.

“I can run some wire stories,” I said nervously, referring to those that come to us via The Associated Press. It belatedly became obvious that our readers were expecting more on Mother’s Day, especially from the section of the paper with a huge “Life” banner on top of it.

Sam had an idea. He suggested doing a Mom’s essay contest. And after some deliberation, we decided to ask for readers’ words, put them all online, and pick the best ones to run them on Mother’s Day in the print edition of the paper.

It was a great idea. But I had one concern: teachers.

You see, if just one educator got a hold of this initiative, I was sure would be flooded with submissions. All of a sudden, success was a threatening proposition.

A week later, I received a package from Ellen Luksberg, a teacher at M.Clifford Miller Middle School in Kingston. It contained dozens of written essays by seventh-grade students at the school. They were moving, cute and fun to read. And I was petrified about how to process that many entries.

Alas! Things get done when things need to get done. So all of them -- along with other entries -- are now posted online. And I am in the painfully joyous process of selecting the best three, which you will get to read in the Freeman on Mother’s Day.

Enjoy them. We certainly did.