Vikki Laskowski (Mom)

Mom taught me to drive at age twelve in 'Hunk', our brawny old Volkswagen Beetle, on a large plot of undeveloped red earth abutting a small lake not far from home. By law I was still five years away from a learner's permit but she thought it natural to gain as much control over a car as a bicycle, and the sooner the better.

Soon, our three eager dachshunds would get to hop onto the back seat as we set out, and mom would leave me to practice alone while she walked them around the lake. Spin the rear wheels over the dirt in a slow, controlled glide took a bit of tactile skill, but moreover an understanding of how the clutch modulated power between the engine and the gearbox. It was mom who explained this to me.

Growing up I would question the way the world was with goat-like stubbornness, and throughout my teens mom would patiently and wholeheartedly engage me in long debates on whatever new notion I was set to piece apart next. Her own turbulent youth had led her to develop an ability for reasoning out not just the ways of things, but of people. She never shied away from sticky philosophical questions and could always convey how and why she saw something a certain way.

Mom, you instilled in me the determination to dig until the truth is found, and to associate curiosity with love. Thank you.