Is your mom Mrs. Huxtable? My first information literacy memory

First a little background: I grew up in small town Indiana. My mom is Hispanic; my dad white.

It’s the mid-1980s. I’m in the second grade. I remember this event like it was yesterday: It turned out to be my first inkling of “information literacy” – although too young to know it – and the term itself wasn’t emphasized until 1989.

This is what happened: My mom came to visit me at school. After she left, one of my classmates asked me in all seriousness:

Is your mom Mrs. Huxtable?

Yes, Claire Huxtable. The mom from 1980s hit The Cosby Show.

As a second grader, I couldn’t define the word askance, but that was the look I had on my face.

Here’s how the conversation unfolded:

Me: Where did you hear that?

Him: Nowhere. I just thought that.

[Insert future librarian thinking: Where did he get his information from? Why hasn't he verified it?]

Me: You know that Mrs. Huxtable is just a character on The Cosby Show, right? She’s not a real person.

[Insert future librarian thinking: Why can't he distinguish between fiction and real-life?]

Him: Oh.

Me: You also know that Mrs. Huxtable is African-American, right? My mom is Mexican.

[Insert future librarian thinking: I want to go grab the shiny new World Book Encyclopedia off of the shelf. Why isn't he using prior knowledge as context? After all, I know he's eaten at my aunt's taco truck. Everyone in town knows it!]

Him: Oh. Ok.

Another classmate: “I heard your mom was Hawaiian.”

Me: [sigh]

Here’s my mom – mid-1980s (top) and Mrs. Huxtable, aka Phylicia Rashad (bottom). What do you think?

photo

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9 thoughts on “Is your mom Mrs. Huxtable? My first information literacy memory

  1. Ironically, Phylicia Rashad lived in Mexico while growing up.

  2. I can see the resemblance, but more in behavior than appearance. Mrs Huxtable was super likable. I think we all thought she would be a cool mom. She was soft-spoken but also quick to laugh and tease. You knew that no matter what, she’d have your back, and she never hesitated to call Cliff out on his goofiness. She could (and often) said more with a smirk and a quick sideways glance than she did with words and when she did you were instantly on the same page.

    Sound like anyone? :)

  3. Pingback: Is your mom Mrs. Huxtable? My first information...

  4. LOL! Great story. In defense of your information-illiterate classmate, though, your mom and Phylicia Rashad are wearing exactly the same smile in these photos!

  5. I’m super late to this, but my Mom is Puerto Rican and my dad is Anglo. When I was a kid people would sometimes ask if I was adopted. :-/ Great pic of your Mom, by the way.

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