Cookielady’s Last Batch

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

One day after talking to my Mom on the day marking 10 years since my Dad passed away, I got that call you never want to receive. A friend found Mom dead on her kitchen floor. My quasi plan trip now includes a sooner-than-charted dash south to Baltimore, where they are flying her body for the funeral.

I was fortunate to be with friends Andy and Kent at dinner last night, who provided wonderful support, as was the response when I dropped my news in twitter. For some reason, the thought came into my head that I wanted to talk about Mom on ds106 radio. I am warmed by the love I felt over that hour and a half, plus even more the live singing later by olga.

I did a chunk of talking about the route of my trip so far, and more about Mom, replaying the audio from her time on ds106 radio.

ds106 radio tribute to Mom (90 Mb mp3 / 1:33:41)

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

I have (on the hard drives left at home) an hour of audio I recorded with Mom a few years ago where she told me her stories of growing up poor in Baltimore and her life after meeting my Dad. I was intending to work that nto digital movies, as she was intending to finish her own scrapbook project which I think she had gotten up o 1950 with.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

She described her Cookielady routine when I put her on the ds106radio last february when I visited in Florida. Every Sunday she would make a batch of chocolate chip cookies, carefully arrange them in plastic bags, and she would distribute that week to anyone who helped her or just look like they needed a lift.

Talk about amazing stories! Her sharing of cookies led her to meeting Trisha Yearwood (and giving her cookies)

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

I’m still numb or going on auto pilot, and am counting on that to get me through a day of driving. That and a lot of love and friendship I feel from my network. F*** the “Personal Learning Network” I have a “personal life network”.

It will propel me to hear some music today on ds106radio which I plan to be listening to once I get across the border. I’ll be doing a direct shot down interstate 81 through New York, Pennsylvania, and as Little Feat sang, “right on through to Baltimore”.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

For all those years of telling me what butterflies mean, now I am watching them to see signs of Mom.

Bye mom.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I’m so sorry for your loss! She sounds like a beautiful lady and it seems like she has passed on her beautiful spirit to her son. I hope the good memories like the ones you shared help ease the heartache! You are in my prayers!

  2. Oh, Alan. Oh. I saw the title of this blog post and knew just what it was, from the way you’ve talked about your mom in the past. I’m so very sorry to hear this news. I’ve always really liked this quote from Thomas Campbell…”to live in the hearts of those we leave behind is not to die.” Know that my thoughts are with you.

  3. Our prayers are with you and the family. Alyce was a very special lady to us, thanks for sharing her with us. I will miss her very much, I spoke to her almost everyday or saw her when I dropped the news paper off to her, always got my big warm hug. I will always remember her for the rest of my life when I see a butterfly.
    Peace & Love to all.

  4. Oh my friend, my brother, I am devastated to hear of your loss. I remember so keenly my version of what you’re going through now. Lean on that personal life network, my friend, my brother. And know that in that network, your mother lives, for she gave you that special gift of connecting, of bringing networks to life.

    I feel so very fortunate to have had that conversation with her on that sunny Brooklyn afternoon. It was crystal clear, immediately, how much love and hilarity and wisdom and beauty she had shared with her son–and that day, with me as well. I felt I had known her all my life and hoped we would one day meet face-to-face.

    My thoughts and prayers and love are with you. May light perpetual shine upon you both.

  5. I am so sorry to hear this. Your mom was a very special lady. I always loved the posts you made about your mom and the times she shared with us. The love, joy, and warmth always shined through. She will be missed… I too will be looking for those butterflies….. Love and prayers are with you…

  6. You’ll be driving within a couple of miles of me on the way down 81. I hope you feel the support flowing out from this node in the network.

  7. Glad my mother is visiting in September, thinking I should put her on the radio, and maybe I should do stuff on ds106 again, because community matters, dammit. Oh yeah, and thinking that butterflies are free.

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family today.

  8. Alan Alan. I am at a loss for words. I know this is so hard. I know you were close and a
    I enjoyed hearing about her through your stories. I’ll be thinking of you. Take care. Drive safely and know that there are many people thinking of you and your mother. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  9. Alan:
    Oh my. . .how sad for you and for all those she cheered with her act of cookie kindness. I remember those cookies. She brought some to the MCLI once when I was there. They were memorable because they were made with hands that had lived life fully and they were chock full of chocolate chips!
    Enjoy the memories of your mom.

  10. Alan, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. I had only glimpses of your mom through your photos and blog posts, but it’s clear the world has suffered a great loss. Please take care, and know that you’re in my thoughts.

  11. So so sorry to hear this Alan. What remarkable pictures, and what a remarkable women she must have been.

    One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was that everyone grieves in their own way — don’t let anyone tell you your way is wrong. I don’t know if that is advice you need, but just in case. I found the advice helped me in a situation where it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the right way to act, and worries that you’re too sentimental not sentimental enough too outward not outward enough too angry complacent whatever. Fuck the world for the moment and deal with it the way your heart tells you to.

    Maybe this is something you already know. Having met you, I am guessing this is something you discovered some time ago.

    I’m not religious, but I can bake cookies. It looks like maybe I’ll try and do that this weekend.

    Stay well,


  12. Alan…

    I did not technically ever meet your mom BUT, I feel like I have because I know you. She must have been one sweet, caring, giving lady to raise a guy with a heart as big as yours. The spirit of the cookielady has passed into the cookieson. Keep cooking up all the good things you do. Your mom is right there with ya. Love ya…


  13. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Your mother clearly made an impression on so many! And I’m with Mike… there’s no right or wrong, just being. Your mom lives on in many ways, not least in one good man.

    When my grandfather died not too long ago, I thought of this poem by Frost:

    “A Late Walk”

    When I go up through the mowing field,
    The headless aftermath,
    Smooth-laid like thatch with the heavy dew,
    Half closes the garden path.

    And when I come to the garden ground,
    The whir of sober birds
    Up from the tangle of withered weeds
    Is sadder than any words

    A tree beside the wall stands bare,
    But a leaf that lingered brown,
    Disturbed, I doubt not, by my thought,
    Comes softly rattling down.

    I end not far from my going forth
    By picking the faded blue
    Of the last remaining aster flower
    To carry again to you.

  14. I can’t recall who but someone told me once that they had met an older lady in a grocery store that gave them cookies. I wonder if that was your mom or someone inspired by your mom? Of course, the person thought it weird that a stranger would give them home baked cookies. Many people need that gift of kindness so I know your mom will be missed. If I catch a whiff of chocolate chips drifting down from the heavens, I’ll know why. 🙂 Be safe in your travels to Baltimore and I’m so sorry about your and the world’s loss.

  15. I am not good at death. Have very little experience with it. I never know what to say. All I know is that death is just as much a part of life as life. We are never here or there. We are all everywhere at once all together.

    I hope these words help:


    The day I heard of your mom, I heard this song for the first time and now the two events are somehow related:


    it’s safe out there and now you’re everywhere,
    just like the sky.
    and you are love,
    you are the love supreme,
    you are the rye.
    and when you hear this,
    you know its your jam,
    it’s your goodbye.

    Might not be the right things to day, but they are all I got. Smile Alan, your mom would want it that way.

  16. My condolences, Alan, from downunder. Networks spread far & wide, & whilst not sharing your places & memories, the experience of loss is universal. We’ll have a few ‘biscuits’ in her memory. Take care.

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