I listened to mother listening

to this 1932 hybrid of Dr. Phil

and Dear Abby on the radio

every day, dispensing wisdom

to callers during the Depression.

A high school dropout

and former cab driver,

Mr. Anthony, (not his real name),

served 3 months in jail

for non-support in a divorce.

Self-taught, he had a private practice,

charging $25, ( $200 today).

On the oil-cloth covered kitchen floor

I played with pots, pans and wooden

clothes pins as I watched Mother weep

in response to the tragic plight of callers.

Mother was searching for a solution

to family life with an overly intrusive

mother-in-law, who tried to control

the destiny of her only child, her son.

She identified with Eleanor Roosevelt,

who also struggled with a mother-in-law.

While Mother hung wash on the line

with dishpan hands, I would overhear

her exchange views with a neighbor

about the valueof Mr. Anthony’s advice.

My eavesdropping led me to become

a psychologist for the next 60 years.