Dear Doug, I had to write you and let you know that we have lost one of Mad's greatest fans. My mom, Mary Ann, died May 24th, 2005 at the age of 72. She introduced all of her eight children to Mad. Even after we had all grown up she still went to the local grocery store and picked up the latest issue. As a tribute to her wonderful (and obviously twisted) sense of humor I set up an easel next to her casket with a family portrait and copies of Mad #37 and #56! Everyone who walked into the funeral home wanted to know what Mad was doing there. I simply explained that Mad had always been a part of her life. I wanted it to be a part of the celebration of her life as well. Mom would never have wanted people to be standing around crying at her funeral. Many thanks to the "usual gang of idiots" for a lifetime of laughs and for taking some of the sting out of death. I used those two issues from my personal collection. I bought or inherited from friends most of my collection back in the late 70's. I have a few scattered issues from 1957 to 1961 and every one from 1962 to 1967 and 1973 to 1980-something. By the time I was married in 1991 I had lost all interest in buying any more Mads (shifting priorities, I suppose). I selected #37 and #56 because I wanted to make sure no one would think it was an accident that they were there. If someone picked one up and dared to remove it from it's plastic sleeve, I wanted them to see what era made Mad the great master of satire. Mom would have approved of the choices as it represented the most wonderful time of her life. She was in her late 20's then. Being a stereo-typical Catholic mother of the 50's she wanted a ton of kids (eight in ten years). Her life was all ahead of her then. She wanted to pass along her delicious sense of humor to her offspring. I know of NO other mothers of guys my age who read Mad. That alone made her much more "in-tune" than my peers' parents. As she died such a short time ago, her loss is terribly fresh to me. There is a hole that nothing seems to able to fill right now. Fortunately, time will heal this wound. I couldn't help but laugh to hear the priest at her funeral Mass tell of her love for reading Mad. She would have gotten a big kick out of it! I have to give her a lot of credit. She never gave up on Mad. The last issue I picked up a few months ago gave me the same stomach-flu-like symptoms that I used to get when I picked up a Cracked magazine in the 70's. If Dr.Kevorkian were not in prison I might consider sending him to the new Mad offices. I hear that they have to replace William Gaines coffin once a year as his constant "spinning" wears them out. Sorry, if the editorializing is a bit much. The brilliance that WAS Mad need not be a thing of the past. Perhaps the future holds better things for our venerable institution. One picture is from 1967 and shows my mom holding my brother Greg and baby sister Helene. I'm the little two-year-old Mad-head sitting at her feet!
The pony picture was taken in 1937. My mom was five and had this taken when a man traveled through the neighborhood and offered photo ops with his pony, a big treat for the city kids!
The other picture was taken when my mom and dad were dating. It was 1955 and they were attending the wedding of a friend. My dad is still with us at 73! He's beaten cancer twice and is doing well despite the great "adjustment" after 49 years and 12 days of marriage. Rest in peace, Mary Ann.
Take care Doug and thanks for a great website!