Herald-Whig

Your Turn/Mara Clingingsmith

Posted: Dec. 22, 2019 12:01 am

With MARA CLINGINGSMITH

When I was a kid, I wanted to be ... a teacher because my mom was a teacher and I thought she had the best job!

What would you rather be doing right now? Crafting, baking or hanging out with my kids and grandkids.

Shhhhhh! Don't tell anyone that ... I am a court show junkie! I love all of them, but Judge Judy is my favorite.

Other than your wedding day and/or the birth of your children, what was your proudest moment? Hard to say, but I'm most proud of my children and the adults they've become. We are a blended family, which has been very challenging. But, despite our ups and downs over the years, I think all four of our kids would say, whether related by blood or by marriage, they love their siblings and are loved and cherished by my husband and me.

It really stinks when ... people don't own and learn from their mistakes.

What word in the dictionary would your face be next to? Passionate. It's my strength and my weakness.

I always laugh ... whenever I can!

Invite any three people, living or dead, to dinner. Who are they? One would be my mom (she passed away three years ago). I miss talking to her. But after dinner I want her to play the piano and sing for me (she did this beautifully!). The second would be my dad (he passed away 20 years ago). Lots of changes since then, and I want him to meet my husband and see how my kids have grown up. The third would be my grandfather. He died when I was 14 after being sick most of my life. He was brilliant and always had a Scrabble game going. He taught us at a young age how to play, and he knew every word in the dictionary. I would love to have a conversation with him, adult to adult, and just get to know him better.

At the end of a really long day at work, I like to ... curl up on the couch with my husband and watch a movie.

People who knew me in high school thought I was ... at first, most people thought I was mean because I tried to look like a bad***. I moved a lot and attended four different high schools, and it was hard to get to know people, especially at the last two, which were very small schools. Once they got to know me, I think they thought I was loud and talked a lot, which is completely true.

My most unforgettable brush with greatness was ... running into Betty White in New York at the Broadcasting and Cable Awards in 2011. She was being inducted into the Hall of Fame, as was my boss at the time. I can't forget Jonathan Van Ness either. I worked with his mom and dad while he was growing up -- when we called him Jack and before he became a superstar on "Queer Eye."

I would drop all my plans tonight if I had the chance to ... hang out with my adult kids.

If someone gave me a million dollars, there is STILL no way I would ... quit crafting.

America should be more concerned about ... showing each other respect. We need to teach everyone that it is OK to have a different opinion than someone else, to be different from someone else, and still be kind and respectful.

I'm OK if there's ever a national shortage of ... crafting supplies. I could probably craft for years without buying anything (but don't tell my husband that!).

When I'm on the internet, I always go to ... Pinterest, Facebook and some favorite shopping sites.

What is the most useful piece of advice you have ever received? My mom always told me "life isn't fair" and "you are responsible for your own happiness." If I wanted to be happy, it was up to me to make sure that happened, no matter what life (or other people) threw at me.

When I'm cruising down the road, I'm likely listening to ... WGEM FM, Y101 or Real 92.9.

I always get sentimental when ... seeing someone show kindness to children or older people, or someone overcoming a challenge. My kids will tell you I cry at everything.

The older I get, the more I realize ... that there is more than just one way of doing things.

If I had one "do-over," I would ... be less controlling.

My favorite item of clothing is ... yoga pants. They are so comfy.

If I've learned anything at all ... it's that life is short, and you can never have enough people who love you or love your kids.

Mara Clingingsmith, 57, is the regional director for Quincy Better Business Bureau. She has been married to her husband, Mark, for 17 years, and they have four children and six grandchildren. Although she started out in Collinsville, Clingingsmith made Quincy her home 42 years ago.