When my mom passed away last month the stories of her life started being told.

There were a lot of them I already knew, of course, after having spent my first 41 years alongside my mom.

But I quickly realized as we were going through photos, I didn't know much about my mom's life, B.C. -- Before Children.

One photo in particular stood out -- my mother, standing among six other women, holding a piece of paper with the number 5 written on it.

Credit: Val Townsend
Credit: Val Townsend
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It was an FBI lineup!

Before she had kids, my mom worked as a stenographer for the Buffalo field office of the FBI. In the late 1960s-early 1970s, there were no female agents -- so in the case of an investigation involving a female suspect -- women from the FBI's steno pool were asked to stand-in during lineups.

Another wild story emerged as added context to this photo of my mom in a very glam fur coat.

Credit: Val Townsend
Credit: Val Townsend

My mom had received this coat from my dad during a shopping trip in Toronto when they were first together. Fair to mention, my dad was a musician -- so the fact that my mom looks like she's headed to a Rick James concert, tracks.

As was the fashion in the late 60s, mom wore a lot of miniskirts. She was also a very tall woman who was 80% legs, so I'm sure she took full advantage of the trend at the time. Thanks to her fashion sense, she wound up being confused for a prostitute on the local evening news.

As the legend goes, video of my mom walking in downtown Buffalo (where she worked at the time) aired alongside a separate story about sex workers on WIVB. Apparently, my dad got a lot of confused calls from friends about... what was his girlfriend's job again? I've been told the station later apologized for the confusion.

More stories are coming out as we remember mom since her passing. But it got me thinking back to my own wild stories from my BC-era, and when I might ever tell my kids about those times.


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