Peggy with her sons, Liam (r.) and Christian
In 1995, I went to England with my best friend, Cindy. And while I was in England, something happened that has long been a favorite “Mom” story.
My friend Michael, who was not a terribly butch guy and pretty slim, had been dating a guy named Christopher for several months. Christopher, who was a complete asshole, was also about 6’3, lanky but built, and had a reputation for being a badass. Michael had let Christopher move in to his apartment in Starrett City.
One night while I was in England, Michael called my house in a panic. My mother answered the phone and quickly set about figuring out what was wrong.
Michael: Can I come spend the night at your house? Christopher is being mean to me.
Mom: Why don’t you just tell him to get out of your house?
Michael: I can’t. I’m afraid of him.
Mom: Well, I’m not going to let you be afraid in your own home. Stay put. I’m coming over.
Mom told Liam what was going on and asked him to come with her “just in case.” Liam was 18 at the time, significantly less tattooed, but an actual bad ass.
When they arrived at Micheal’s apartment, my mother turned to Liam and said: “You hang back, because if I hit him it’s self defense, but if you do, it’s assault.”
Michael answered the door visibly upset. Mom told him to hang out in the hallway with Liam while she handled Christopher.
Being a single mother, mom had long slept with an aluminum baseball bat under her bed. When he was a teenager, Liam had written “peacemaker” down the side of it in permanent market. She had brought this same bat with her, “just in case.”
She entered the apartment and turned the corner into the living room where Christopher was lying on the couch in his boxer shorts talking on the phone.
Mom looked at him and smacked the bat on the floor three times to get his attention. Christopher looked up at her with his eyes wide.
Mom said: “YOU. Get up. Get your shit. And get the FUCK out!”
Christopher yelled into the phone, “Holy shit! There’s a crazy lady here with a bat. Call the police.” And hung up.
Mom said: “We don’t need the police. I’m not going to hurt you as long as you get your shit and get out.”
She watched while Christopher gathered his things and got dressed. Meanwhile, the police arrived.
With Liam and Michael now in the apartment, Mom went into the hallway to talk to the cops. With two brothers who were cops, she explained that her son’s friend was being bullied by this big guy who refused to leave his house. The cops then entered the apartment and escorted Christopher out.
Weeks later, I was out at a club with my friend Erik. Christopher was there, and Erik got nervous. (He’d never been in a fight.) When Erik suggested we leave, I said:
“Erik, he’s afraid of my mother. If she chased him out of Micheal’s house with a baseball bat, what would she do if he even looked at me the wrong way???”