Alice Davidson, Send-Back Queen. A Conversation with Sara Davidson
Play • 32 min

Author and journalist Sara Davidson is an award-winning storyteller, and she says she learned that skill from her mother Alice. Every night before bed, Alice would tell Sara and her sister the next installment in a serial story about a miniature girl named P Winky Smith who was so small she could fit in your pocket. 

But that doesn’t mean their relationship was idyllic by any stretch. For Sara, there were high highs and low lows in her childhood. Her mother was funny and once had dreams of being a comedic actress (she also had one of the first nose jobs in L.A.!) but she could also be derisive, mean and stubborn.

Alice then developed dementia, and for Sara this was the first time she could truly love her mother, in part because ailing Alice had forgotten many of the things they had fought about.

Together, Sara and Katie talk about dashed dreams, nose jobs, and the challenges of growing up with such a complicated mother, especially Alice Davidson, who was known as the “send-back queen” because she never settled for a dish that wasn’t perfectly prepared in a restaurant.

Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)

Music composed and performed by Andrea Perry

Producers: Alice Hudson, Claire Trageser

Social Media: Ilana Nevins

Special thanks to Sarge, for permission to use the clip  from his routine about the beleaguered Jewish husband.

Mother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at

Note: Our sister podcast, Mother Mine, has moved to a separate feed.
Click here to listen to it on Apple Podcasts

More episodes
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu