BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – May Mallard, mother of eight, was killed in a hit and run at around five this morning. An early riser, Mallard was following her usual morning routine, going for a swim at the indoor pool at her local community center, when she was run down while crossing the highway which she used as a shortcut. The narrow highway crossing was illegal, but Mallard was known to use it all the time. There have been local radio reports telling drivers to watch out in the early mornings, as a 76-year-old lady continued, despite fines (unpaid) to cross at the same spot every morning.
Michael, an attendant at the community center called the police at five-thirty sharp, telling them they should check the highway. “Mrs. Mallard never missed her constitutional swim,” he told police. Though dubious, a traffic cop – apparently unaware of the local knowledge of Mallard’s morning movements – was told to be on the lookout and soon found the body of Mallard. The policeman, a young man, was overheard saying “I never want to see anything that smooshed again.”
Mallard, known by her neighbors and friends as Mrs. Mallard despite the fact that Mr. Mallard left her right after their children were born, was famous for being one of the rare survivors of the birth of octuplets. An anonymous artist erected a monument in her honor in the Boston Public Garden during the ‘70s. Though the monument wasn’t authorized by the city, a petition gained thousands of signatures and the Parks and Recreation Department decided to leave the monument intact. It depicts Mallard and her eight identical sons – Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack – gathered around her, clinging to her dress. An inscription at the base of the statue reads: “Mother and Sons.”
When Mallard herself was asked about the monument when it was first erected, her sons were all toddlers, and she was said by the newspaper reporter at the time to have been “so incoherent over the telephone that one simply couldn’t understand her gabbing.” When Mallard heard this remark, she penned a letter to the editor of that newspaper. Though the paper had to excise many of her swear words, the letter became infamous and was used by second-wave feminists who believed in motherhood not being a shackle of the patriarchy but rather a personal woman’s choice.
Rather against her will, according to her sons, Mallard was made to be a figure of feminist pride. The octuplets were included in a documentary film made about unconventional siblings, and in the film, Ouack said, “Mom never wanted anything but to make sure we didn’t dress the same. She hated that.” Jack continued, “She hated being put up as a pillar of feminist pride, too. She didn’t mind the statue, but in that letter she sent to that editor when we were kids—” Pack finished his sentence: “—she wrote something like ‘you try pushing a fucking litter out of your vagina and then needing to take care of all of them while your asshole of a husband runs off because he’s scared of having so many kids’ and that was it.” Mack added, “Plus, we were little brats. If we weren’t made so famous with that monument—” “—she probably would have strangled at least a few of us,” Nack finished.
Mallard ran a daycare in her home for many years, raising her own sons beside other people’s children, since it was the only way she could make money while also taking care of her children. Once they got older, she continued the daycare, but marketed it using her slight fame as an octo-mom and only took in children of the wealthy, in classes of eight. She retired in her early sixties and led a quiet life up until her untimely death. Her sons plan to perform a funeral procession through Boston Public Gardens before driving to Mount Auburn Cemetery where she will be interred.