Leading her first-grade class across the frozen Mississippi to escape boarding school.
Getting kicked out of Catholic school for painting the Virgin Mary statue’s finger and toenails.
Trying to get a date with a mortician by lying in a casket.
Those are just some of the stories in Maddie Hickey’s memoir, written by her son Thomas Hickey and released last month. “Another Giggle, Please!” follows Maddie’s life growing up during the Great Depression in the Midwest and her family’s time living on Lake Lucy in Chanhassen. Though Maddie died in 2011, Thomas wanted to make sure her stories and memories live on for generations to come.
“The book is written in my mom’s voice, so much so that people who knew her say, “I feel like I’m having a cup of coffee and talking with your mom,” Thomas said. “My mom and I were very close. She told me everything. I was her confidant. So, I just knew what she would and wouldn’t say.”
“Another Giggle, Please!” is available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.
1 Why did you decide to write her memoir?
On one of my trips back to Minnesota to visit my mom, she had just received the memoirs of two of her aunts. Afterwards, my mom and I said to each other, “It’s too bad we didn’t get Grandma’s memoirs together.” With that I suggested, “How about if I write all the stories you used to tell us of you as a child.” She agreed and actually edited an early version, up until the time she met my dad, before she passed away in 2011.
I had taken journalism courses and wrote a few articles for publications and columns … but, I had never written a book. I started around 2008, but I went to grad school, moved and a lot of stuff was put on hold. COVID was actually a catalyst, when I told myself I need to get it done. We ended up releasing it around Christmas and everyone has really loved it.
2 How did you go about writing the book?
For the first two or three years, I just focused on writing everything down. I interviewed family members and my mom’s good friends. I did change some people’s names to protect the innocent ... they’re all condiments. There’s a Maxine Relish, Jimmy Heinze and Joe Hellman.
During those years, I found different things would trigger more memories of my mom. I was working as a speech therapist helping a patient regain his ability to eat, and the patient asked for more napkins. But they were on the other side of the building, so I went into the bathroom, grabbed a wad of toilet paper, handed it to him and said “This is what they use at the Ritz Carlton.” The patient laughed, and I remembered that’s something my mom used to say. I had to weave that in.
For me, the book was also therapeutic. When I’m missing my mom or just having a bad day, I go back and revisit her in the book and escape to my peaceful place where we meet again in my memories. It’s a different way for people to deal with loss, but it helps.
3 What’s one of your favorite memories of your mom?
That’s difficult. There are so many. I guess I miss her zest for life. She always tried to be an optimist, even as hard as life gets. When plan A, B, and C failed, but plan D succeeded, she’d say, “Plan D is better than a kick in the teeth.”
One story of my 20-year-old cousin, who was visiting from San Diego, didn’t make it in the book. My cousin divulged to my mom that she was a huge Prince fan. My mom said, “Oh, he lives across the lake from us. Let’s go visit him.” They drove down the narrow gravel road about half a mile then got to the gate. A big bouncer-type guard came out. My mom rolled down the window and said, “Hi, we’re neighbors. We came to say hi to Prince.”
“No you won’t,” he said.
So, they had to back all the way down that narrow road. They should have brought cupcakes or a cup of sugar.