• Maggie Meahl

The Writer’s Life: Motherhood and Golf

*Originally posted July 4th 2019*

If there are two activities that don’t go well with the writer’s life they are motherhood and golf. Of course all three are key components of my world. Today I will focus on how all three intersect with each other–I guess the phrase “Jack of all trades; master of none,” applies here.

Circa 1930s golfer–reminds me very much of my late grandmother “Margaret” my namesake and avid golfer.

Golfers run in my family. All my grandparents played and my dad’s parents were particularly good at it. Granny was an athletic type and had dreams of becoming a gym teacher. I am not sure when she picked up golf but I know it was important to her and she was fairly active in it until breast cancer (and the exhausting treatment of it) attacked her in the early 1970s.

Granny with her family. She is my connection to the Huntington family that I have been researching and writing about for years. She was a hardworking mother and good golfer–not sure how good. My father (upper right) was also an avid golfer (6 handicap all his life) and writer-type.

Granny “held down the fort” and mothered four very different and rambunctious boys from the 1930s up into the 1950s. Somehow, in between feeding this tribe all sorts of casseroles (the most famous of which was dubbed “Creamed Ice Box” which must have involved some type of Campbell’s Soup product), she found time for golf. After all, she lived in the “Country Club” district of Edina, MN.

Vintage “Mr. and Mrs.” trophies won by my grandparents, in 1949, at the Minikahda Club, Minneapolis, MN. The base is in the Art Deco style.

Ok, so what does this have to do with writing and motherhood? Well, the idea of sacrifice that we women do in order to make our loved ones happy and secure. Life in some ways is just a series of choices: small, medium and large. Granny had four boys, then retired into her twin bed, just like countless other television sitcom wives from the 1950s and 60s. She’d had her family and wanted to play more golf, not take care of a bunch of boys and their neighborhood pals. I totally get it. She’d been a mother since 1936.

Now, my last child (third) is about to leave the nest this fall (weep?!) and my golf has been picking up. Have I been writing every day? God no. Am I bummed? Yes. But, I LOVE golf. It makes me focus, which is something I can lack at times in this crazy distracted world of ours. Golf is also about memory and making creative shots. Am I getting better? Maybe.

Writing ideas do not come to me on the course (but they do when walking).

I do, however, have a favorite golf short story: “Winter Dreams” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Written in 1922, it combines the 1920s Minnesota country-club vibe (my home state), unrequited love, teen angst, jealously, snobbery, class, and caddying. Most literary analysts consider it the genesis of The Great Gatsby.

Winter Dreams featured in Metropolitan Magazine (1922)

Golf season is here and my writing output is near zero–I’ve hit a lull and not sure where to take my writing next: novel, biography, more blog, etc. I am procrastinating on a feature article that might get picked up, or not, with no assurance or contract from the editor. I did some photo captions for an article and made corrections to proofs on my first scholarly article due to be published in August I think. In the fall, as the golf season ebbs, my game gets worse, and the course gets cold and cluttered with leaves, I will depart and head to my office or the local library to finally, perhaps, write fiction or non-fiction. Life, after all is just a series of choices and I am lucky to have a family, play golf, and write. Full stop.

1 view0 comments