Cheapskate Wisdom from … Mother’s Day Founder Anna Jarvis

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“Any mother would rather have a line of the worst scribble from her son or daughter than any fancy greeting card.”

I spotted this quote in today’s WSJ story about Mother’s Day messages that made mom feel bad. Curious about Jarvis, who apparently became deeply disillusioned about the commercialization of the holiday—ain’t it that way with every holiday?—I hunted down the original South Florida newspaper interview she gave in 1924, in which she dispensed plenty more wisdom about Mother’s Day. Here’s a more substantial excerpt of her thoughts on the day she founded, even though she herself never had kids:

Confectioners put a white ribbon on a box of candy and advance the price just because it’s Mother’s Day. There is no connection between candy and this day. It is pure commercialization…

The sending of a wire is not sufficient. Write a letter to your mother. No person is too busy to do this. Any mother would rather have a line of the worst scribble from her son or daughter than any fancy greeting card or telegram…

Mother’s Day is a personal, family and memorial day. It’s a celebration for sons and daughters; a thank offering for the blessings of good homes…

Mother’s Day is a day of sentiment—not sentimentality; a day for everybody, but it is named Mother’s Day, for where better can sentiment start?

Make Mother’s Day a family day of reunions, messages to the absent and the spirit of good will to all.

Go home on Mother’s Day. At least, write to Mother.

Something tells me if Jarvis were alive today, she’d say that sending mom an e-card, or even ordering her some flowers on the Internet, just wouldn’t cut it.

On the other hand, I know lots of moms who would take issue with this line, which they probably read with horror:

There is no connection between candy and this day.

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