Sugar Mama

One day, Typecast Press‘s chief investor called a shareholders meeting.


Mary’s mom wanted to know how her money was being spent.

Now, Mary’s mom — also Mary Mashburn — is known as the Fairy Godmother of the Arts in Colorado Springs, Colo., where she turned the Imagination Celebration from an annual festival into a year-round cultural juggernaut that put art back into the schools and the mall and, well, everywhere that children are likely to be.

Mama’s also a former military wife who learned to pick up and move the family every three years or so, always looking forward to the new adventure rather than moaning about leaving friends and familiarity behind. Mary still gushes about her mom’s ability to make word of a reassignment seem like the most exciting news in the world. With one exception: Mama cried when she neared the city limits of a slushy, late-winter Duluth, Minn., having left behind a base house on a California mountaintop overlooking San Francisco and Oakland. Ouch. Still, Mary says, thanks to her mom, the three years in Duluth became a cherished childhood memory.

See, Mary’s mom knows the value of the little touches, like hanging curtains in a barren new space. Turning “you are here” into “you are home.” She’s helped instill in three generations the excitement of learning new things, whether it’s a tyke’s first fun with finger-painting or a big kid’s halting initial steps toward operating a 3-ton letterpress.

So Mama can understand the fun of assembling what is fast becoming the Pee-wee’s Playhouse of printshops. She thinks it’s great that building Typecast Press has brought us joy and that Shop Boy sweats to give her daughter a cool place to work.

But, as the former head of a nonprofit, Mama also knows how to stretch a dime until it snaps back as a quarter. While expressing her admiration at our acquisitions phase, she wondered whether any plans might be in place for, ahem, returning dividends to stockholders.


Mary and Shop Boy reassured Mama that we had formed a committee to study her brilliant idea. We said that the lovely stationery we’d printed for her (in her favorite color, blue) constituted at least part of a dividend, right? And then we simply said, “Thank you.”

We think she bought it.


See Shop Boy’s commuter blog at

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