90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Friday, May 10, 2013

Remembering Mom

The mother of Here & Now producer Alex Ashlock. (Courtesy Alex Ashlock)

Margaret Ashlock, mother of Here & Now producer Alex Ashlock, in 2000. (Courtesy Alex Ashlock)

My mom died in the fall of 2003. She died at my sisters’s house in New Hampshire in a room I still have a hard time going into 10 years later. My dad had already been gone for a long time. He died in 1981.

When your parents are dead, it’s like a huge part of your life story is locked away inside a house you don’t live in anymore.

I miss them both of course, but especially my mom, because she’s the reason I do what I do today. She’s the reason I read, listen and write. When I was growing up there were always newspapers in our house. When we lived in North Carolina it was the Durham Morning Herald. Later, in southern Illinois it was the St. Louis Globe Democrat in the morning and the Alton Telegraph in the evening. I remember how proud she was when the Telegraph published a letter to the editor I had written, an indignant response to a negative review of a J. Geils Band concert at the Mississippi River Festival.

The radio was always on in our house. We had one of those big old Admiral TV, radio and record player sets. I could pick up just about any radio station east of the Mississippi River on that radio. Later, we would listen to to KMOX out of St. Louis. Harry Caray and Jack Buck did the Cardinals baseball games, but there were also great personalities on that station, hosts like Jack Carney.

The parents of Here & Now's Alex Ashlock. (Courtesy Alex Ashlock)

Margaret and Ray Ashlock, the parents of Here & Now’s Alex Ashlock in the 1930s. (Courtesy Alex Ashlock)

I think she thought Jack Carney was just about the funniest man in the world and I’m not sure she was wrong.

My mom, God bless her, also let me watch the old TV show “Playboy After Dark” on Saturday nights. She watched it with me and we saw Steppenwolf on that show. It’s funny what you remember.

My mom had a hard time after my dad died. They had been married more than 40 years. She probably drank too much for a period of time after he passed. But she never stopped being a mom to me or my sister. And she loved being a grandmother to my three sons. They called her “swimming pool Grandma” because she had a pool at her condo in southern Illinois. She used to play this silly game with them at the pool. She’d be sitting in her chair and the boys would run and jump out over the water. She would yell “cereal” or some other thing and they would have to yell back an answer, like “fruit loops” before they hit the water. They loved that game.

My favorite photo of my mom shows her in the backyard hammock at my sister’s house. The dogs are on the grass beneath her. It’s three years before the cancer killed her and she’s smiling in the late summer sunshine without a care in the world.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t want to call her to ask her how things are at the pool or how the Cardinals are doing.

Not a day goes by.

Alex Ashlock is director and producer of Here & Now.


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

September 29 6 Comments

Michigan Coach Faces Criticism For Keeping QB In Play

University of Michigan quarterback Shane Morris was having trouble standing on his own after a major sack. The coach kept him in the game.

September 29 26 Comments

Methodist Pastor Faces Last Church Trial

Reverend Frank Schaefer, who was defrocked for officiating his son's same-sex marriage and later reinstated, awaits one more church trial. He writes about the experience in a new memoir.

September 29 7 Comments

Monarch Butterflies Could Be On Rebound

After precipitous declines in the monarch butterfly population, there are signs the species may be on the rebound.

September 26 4 Comments

Dean Of Boston Sports Journalism Celebrates 42 Years On The Job

Here & Now's Robin Young visits the most-beloved sportscaster you've never heard of: Jonny Miller.