Jackie Mott-Brown is 92 and lives in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Her son, Steve Mott, is 60 and lives in Austin. During the pandemic they revived a soothing tradition that started after Jackie divorced Steve’s dad.
“[Steve] would write funny stories to read to me and that always cheered me up,” she said.
During COVID, Steve stepped up his game and wrote an entire book, one chapter a week, just for mom. Steve Mott said, on Monday nights, he would ring up Jackie and read her a new chapter.
“And I made [it] a point of every time I called her, I would start the same way. I’d say: ‘Good evening! Welcome to Storytime with Stevie, Episode 46. This week sponsored by Osceola Mary.’ Osceola Mary was our cat, in 1975.”
Jackie Mott-Brown is normally very active. She is an artist and a writer. And she says not being able to interact with other humans in person was affecting her deeply.
“There were only two constants all during the COVID time,” she said. “And one was getting meals delivered to my door and the other was that storytime came Monday night at 7:00 on the dot. Isolation was the worst thing for old people. The storytime was a lifesaver.”
It was for Steve, too.
“You know, I did this work for mom, but I also did it for me,” Steve said. “It gave me something to do besides worry about the world falling apart. So, it was very therapeutic for me. And of course, it was fun to talk to mom every week.”
Mott’s book is called “What I Didn’t Tell You.” Each chapter is an undelivered message from one character to another. Here is an excerpt.