Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim

Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim


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"A warm, lively collection of narrative vignettes chronicling the day-to-day relationship of two women who also happen to be part of a successful mother-daughter writing team." —Kirkus Reviews

Love and guilt are thick in the Scottoline/Serritella household, and Lisa and Francesca's mother-daughter-turned-best-friends bond will strike a familiar note to many. But now that Lisa is a suburban empty-nester and Francesca is an independent twenty-something in the big city, they have to learn how to stay close while living apart. How does a mother's love translate across state lines and over any semblance of personal boundaries? You'll laugh out loud as they face-off over the proper technique for packing dishes, the importance of bringing a coat in the summertime, and the dos and don'ts of dating at any age. Add feisty octogenarian Mother Mary to the mix, and you have a Molotov cocktail of estrogen, opinions, and fun.

The stories in Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim will make you laugh, cry, and call your mother, daughter, and all your girlfriends.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250025081
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 05/06/2014
Series: Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman Series , #4
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

LISA SCOTTOLINE is a New York Times bestselling and Edgar-Award winning author of twenty-one novels. She has served as the president of Mystery Writers of America, and her recent novel Look Again has been optioned for a feature film. She is a weekly columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and her columns have been collected in four books and optioned for television. She has 25 million copies of her books in print in the United States, and she has been published in thirty countries. She lives in Philadelphia with an array of disobedient pets.

FRANCESCA SCOTTOLINE SERRITELLA graduated cum laude from Harvard University, where she won the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize, the Le Baron Russell Briggs Fiction Prize, and the Charles Edmund Horman Prize for her creative writing. She is working on a novel, and she lives in New York with only one dog, so far.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Date of Birth:

July 1, 1955

Place of Birth:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1976; J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1981

Read an Excerpt

Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim

By Lisa


I was just talking with a friend of mine, who says she has to nag her kids every time they leave for a trip. She nags them to pack their bags, to get ready on time, and to not forget their sneakers. She feels bad for nagging them, and all of it takes me back to when Daughter Francesca was ten years old and we had one of the best fights of our life.

And yes, you can have a good fight with your daughter.

If you’ve read me before, you know that I think fighting is healthy and normal, and a good fight is when you learn something from your kid. Not when you win.

If you win, ten years later, your daughter will turn up pregnant.

Don’t try to win. Try to learn.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I’ll never forget the day of our fight, because it’s when I started traveling light.

Now I have it all figured out, especially with respect to nagging. We either do what our mothers did, or we do the exact opposite.

And hopefully, this is a conscious choice, since in due time, if we have any self-awareness at all, we catch on and live the examined life. We figure out our own way to parent, and even to live. We don’t have to become our mothers unless we want to.

We have free will, and better shoes.

Most of the time, I want to become Mother Mary. I parent the same way Mother Mary did, in many ways, mainly in loving my kid more than words can say and saying so, complete with hugging, kissing, praising, and celebrating in general.

Mother Mary thinks it’s cute when I fart, and that’s what we call unconditional love.

Love is such a positive emotion, and kids need to hear it all the time, even grown-up kids. It makes everybody happier, like a hearty plate of spaghetti.

I’m Italian, remember?

But one thing that Mother Mary did not do is nag.

And there’s a reason for that.

Let me remind you that Mother Mary grew up as the youngest of nineteen children. This is not a joke. Well, at least, I’m not kidding.

The Flying Scottolines were excellent Catholics, way back when.

Her mother, my grandmother, was married twice because her first husband died, probably from the exertion.

Even Italians have limits.

Anyway, I grew up with Mother Mary telling me stories from her childhood, all of which rival Angela’s Ashes for their cheeriness. There were siblings who died in infancy. The family was so poor they ate her pet rabbit. There was no money to send anybody to college, and though my mother did well in school, her mother wanted her to drop out and get a job.

Nobody puts Mother Mary in a corner.

She defied her mother, worked while she went to high school, and graduated at the top of her class.

God bless her.

But even her funnier stories from her childhood make it sound like she was raised by wolves. Half the time, her parents didn’t know she was around. Once she got pneumonia, and nobody noticed. No one helped her with her homework, got her to a dentist or doctor, or made sure that she had books or clothes, much less that she was dressed and ready for anything on time. In fact, she walked half the city to go to her high school, through some very rough neighborhoods, all by herself.

Needless to say, nobody nagged Mother Mary.

So when she raised me, she didn’t know she was supposed to nag me. She didn’t get the memo.

She made a decision to be more loving than her mother, and love came naturally to her. But although she loved us, and was there when she needed us, she just wasn’t in our business. She always worked as a secretary, and we let ourselves in after school and were generally responsible for ourselves.

Not that I’m complaining. Brother Frank and I had a great childhood. We grew up happy, healthy, and pretty much in charge of our own fates. And when we got burned, we felt the consequences.

So we never did it again.

For example, Brother Frank started to ditch English classes in high school, and my parents didn’t catch on until a notice came home saying he wouldn’t be able to graduate.

Opera ensued.

My parents went hysterically to the school, which agreed to let him graduate if he went to summer school to make up the classes, but also required him to walk at the end of the processional line at graduation.

This was worse than it sounds.

The processional line was in order of height, and the guy at the end of the line was so tall he went on to play for the NBA.

Brother Frank was five feet, six inches.

At graduation, he looked like a sheepish caboose, or a punctuation mark at the end of capital letters, LIKE THIS.

And everybody laughed, eventually even Frank.

Fast forward to when I become a mother, with a daughter, and in the meantime, the world has changed. Walking at the end of the procession isn’t the worst that can happen anymore. There’s meth addiction, psycho killers, and reality television.

So you know where this is going.

I started nagging.

When Francesca was little, I nagged her to do her homework, take a bath, clean her room, and wear a heavier coat, and she always told me to stop nagging. Then one day, I remember the morning, she was in fifth grade, and I was rushing her out the door, nagging that we’d be late to school, and she simply burst into tears.

She said, “Mom, you’re ignoring me. I’m asking you not to nag me, and you’re ignoring what I say.”

And I looked at my child, whom I had made cry, her round blue eyes brimming with tears. And finally, I heard her. I realized she was right. She has never been late for anything. She was even born on her due date.

I was nagging her because I needed to nag her, not because she needed to be nagged.

And that’s why they call it emotional baggage.

I’m learning to check it, in all senses of the word.

Because I still carry it around, whether it’s the way I parent or the way I deal with my daughter, my friends, men, the people I work with, and even my dogs.

Dogs don’t have emotional baggage.

And if they did, they’d forget it at the airport.

They know they don’t need it.

So I look for when it gets in the way of my relationships, especially mine to Francesca, as she grows older. We are best friends, but we’re still smoothing out the wrinkles between us. It’s a lifelong process, because we both keep growing, and those wrinkles have made for some of the best, worst, saddest, and funniest moments of my life.

This is a book that chronicles those moments. It’s about our lives, my daughter’s and mine, living both together and apart, as we both grow older. Precious few books are devoted to a mother’s relationship with her adult child, which is crazy, because these bonds become more important, not less, as time goes on.

Family is forever.

So read on.

I bet that these stories will resonate with you, because you’ve had moments like these, too. The only difference between us is that Francesca and I wrote them down.

And, as you may have guessed, I haven’t stopped nagging, not completely, especially not since she moved to New York, where the meth addicts and psycho killers form a processional of their own.

Just kidding.

Though you’ll read in the following pages about Francesca’s adventures in the big city, complete with her own personal flasher.

The truth is, sometimes nagging is required, and sometimes it isn’t, and the most anybody can ask of a mother is that we pause, examine what we’re doing and why, then nag if it’s in order. Then it’s a conscious choice, and we reserve the right to nag.

Because we’ve lived longer, and we know more. Even if you’re an adult child, we’re still more adult.

And you have to listen to us. Not because we’re your mothers, but because we listen to you.

And that’s love.



Copyright © 2012 by Smart Blonde, LLC, and Francesca Scottoline Serritella

Table of Contents

Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim 1

Shakespeare Was No Dummy 6

I Love You, Man 9

Motherhood Has No Expiration Date 13

Ode to Vance Packard 16

Cushy 19

Field Guide to the American Male 22

Boxers or Briefs 25

Tickle 28

iBurglars 31

Homebodies 34

Once Upon a Time 37

Moving On 40

Advertise Here 43

Insecurity Clearance 46

Fawning 49

Starry Starry Night 53

The Many Homes of Mother Mary 56

Happy Birthday 61

Aftershocked 65

Stroke, Stroke, Bail, Bail 69

The Facts of Life 73

Southern Exposure 76

Wag the Technology 79

Kicking Tuches 82

Labor Day 87

I Stink, Officially 91

You're So Vain, This Is About You 94

Shortcut Sally 100

Doggie Universe 103

Unspecial Delivery 106

There Was a Little Girl, Who Had a Little Curl 111

Final Curtain 114

Emotional Baggage 117

Willpower and Won'tpower 121

Hairy and Crazy 124

Very Personal Shopper 127

9/11, Ten Years Later 130

Gateway Paint 135

Gateway Brownie 138

Bittersweet 143

Plan C 146

Snow Job 150

Lisa Hits the Eggnog 153

You Can Never Buy a Gift for a Mother 156

And Many Happy Returns 159

Controlled Freaks 162

Dating at the Speed Limit, or the Bad News 165

Skype Appeal 169

Dating at the Speed Limit, or the Good News 173

Girl with a Pearl Earring 176

Magic Mushrooms 179

Mythical Beastie 184

Blizzard of Oz 187

Mother Mary and the MRI 190

Grandmother Whisperer 193

Feet Don't Fail Me Now 197

Slip Sliding Away 201

In Which Spunky Teaches Me About Mother Mary 205

Subtext 208

In-box of Letters 212

Spoiled 216

To Everything, There Is a Season 220

Hang-Ups 223

Nobody's Passenger 227

All We Have to Do Is Take This Lie and Make It True 231

Called to Order 235

I Am Mother Mary 239

Get Well, or Else 243

Gadget Girl 246

Jazz Hands 251

An Open Letter from an Open Heart 254

Acknowledgments 261

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Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
The_Reading_Reviewer More than 1 year ago
I have long held to the claim that even though you deny it, everyone has baggage. We carry around and cannot get rid of regardless of how hard we try and boy do we try really hard. We have childhood issues we never resolved, guilt we project very effectively, and daily insanity we just have to deal with regardless of how much we try not to. In this story Lisa Scottoline and her daughter Francesca Serritella both famed writers in their own right join forces to tell, the stories that have made them stronger are mother and daughter. The thoughts are well documented with an honesty that at times will have you cringe knowing “I have done that.” The relationship between parent and child is a tight rope of life altering decisions then letting go, it is not easy. As Lisa and her daughter, Francesca lay out the road map of their life each reveals the bumps and huge potholes that went along with getting to where they are now. What I adored about this book was the fact that both mother and daughter write about how imperfect individuals live in a world surrounded by perfect people. These people are not perfect but they appear to be which is Lisa’s point at times “perception is reality” so go with the flow. Thanks for being such great writers and showing readers a little touch of your personal fun side.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gives the story of a lady struggling with Her feelings for her X-Husband, her new boyfriend. Picking up the pieces, putting them all back together again with her dog.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can someone go to heart result ten and tell nichole that rafe got locked out and she shoul go to heart result 15
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey guys.