Labor Day Musings
The story goes that one crisp autumnal morning my mother woke and knew the gestation of me was over. And as much as she hurried to get to the labor room, I hurried faster and was born in the hospital elevator on Labor Day 1952.
Yesterday on Labor Day, just for kicks, I looked up Labor Day for that year and discovered it was accurately celebrated on September 1. So this birthday yarn, like so many of my mother’s stories, was just not true. I now also assume I was not born in an elevator.
My mother, bless her soul, had little use for facts — especially if they got in the way of a good story.
Yesterday happened to be both Labor Day and my birthday, so with my time off I continued to settle into my new home and unpacked a few remaining boxes. In one I unearthed decades worth of journals —all started on Sept 3. Not a single lasted more than a few months; no Samuel Pepys am I.
It is disheartening that all of them begin with such hope for that year’s transformation. “I will forsake forever sausage, egg and cheese croissan’wiches,” “I will actually get from couch to 5K” and “I will finally bid adieu to my prodigious proclivity towards procrastination.” But alas it seems the things I can change continue to be more like the things I need to accept that I will never change.
This year is a mildly macabre milestone. I have outlived my wonderful storytelling mother by one year.
With all my many jobs, careers and passions throughout the years, clearly the most wonderful labor of love for me has been the nurturing of my fabulous daughter, Eve Crawford Peyton. She’s bit of a storyteller herself and absolutely one of the best writers I know.
Her literary career began at McDonogh 15 where as a first grader she wrote and published her first book. Then in the fourth grade, after my painful divorce, I began my freelance writing career in earnest and she became, and still is, my copy editor of choice.
She now has a master’s of journalism from the University of Missouri and for years she was the editor of several of Renaissance Publishing’s magazines. She also edited several publications for Loyola University New Orleans and writes an awarding-winning blog, Joie d’Eve, which deals with the struggles of modern day parenting, particularly in New Orleans.
“I can’t not be a writer,” she says. “It helps me make sense of the world.”
Just a month ago, Eve took a new job at her alma mater, Benjamin Franklin High School, as the school’s marketing and communication coordinator.
“The students are amazing,” she says. “We all seem to have the same Franklin DNA. I see so much of myself in them. It’s like the 15-year-old me is sitting across from the 37-year-old me.”
It’s important to her that people understand that Franklin serves everyone who can get in and that they don’t cap their admissions. In fact, one of her first press releases states that admission at the school is higher than ever.
“Being here is pretty fun,” she says. “My office overlooks the courtyard where I ate lunch. My first week on the job I played a lot of ’90s rock and one of my tasks this year is to plan and market my class’s 20th reunion."
Eve is also excited to be the advisor to the paper she once edited and where her love of journalism was certainly cemented.
She says her main goal is to have her children one day go to Franklin too. It’s in their DNA.