Life with Mod: Why ‘Mod’?

I’ve written 30 blog posts since launching Mod Organization, and most have been step-by-step guides to organizing specific spaces. Friends and clients have encouraged me to share a bit more about my journey and how I’ve come to start this business. In all honesty, writing about organization is easier than writing about myself, but I am up for the challenge!

My maiden name is Modder. My Grandma Modder used to tell us that the name Modder means mud in Dutch. I have absolutely no idea if this is true or not, but my Grandma had a great sense of humor and seeing as how it is her married name, I somehow question the validity of her statement. Phonetically, I think Modder is super easy to pronounce, mah-der. However, especially in elementary school, it was often pronounced moh-der.

For some reason, a mean nickname resulted: Motor Mouth. Anyone who knows me will laugh at my ‘for some reason’ statement. You see, I’m a talker. I love to chat. I love to tell stories. My therapist has recently led me to the ultimate revelation—I’m a verbal processor. My husband was not at all surprised when I came home from that appointment and explained to him that I process my feelings and thoughts the best by talking about them. Oh, I love him for understanding that about me for the thirty years that we have been together!

Back to nicknames.

In third grade, my Brownie troop had a bridging ceremony in our elementary school auditorium. On a stage. With a microphone. Again, if you know me (and I’m hopeful you will feel you do after reading more from me), you know that I enjoy both a stage and a microphone. I’m not necessarily talented. I just enjoy entertaining. Also, thank you to Hatch Elementary School for having an auditorium with a stage. This is not common anymore and is really a wonderful thing for young children to have any type of performance experience.

I digress. Back to third grade, Brownies, and the stage. My leader had been my leader for at least a year, likely more. She was holding the microphone and announcing every young, brown-uniformed, girl as she made her way across the stage to move on to green-uniformed life as a Girl Scout. Then it came to my name. “Karen… Moh-der”.

The. Horror. All of the girls laughed. I was so sad. Yes, I remember how I felt that day. I can, apparently uncannily, recall many details of my youth. But do NOT ask me where my car is parked at Costco because I honestly never know. I did what any strong, yet sad, young girl would do and I took the microphone from her hand, held it to my mouth and said, “It’s Modder”, and walked across the stage. After the ceremony, my leader told my parents that my sass really wasn’t a good quality for a scout to have and I was out. Well, good riddance. Now my Wednesdays were free to play and read. (On a side note, as our daughters were involved in our local scout troops, I never ‘got’ to be a leader. Whenever I was asked, I simply explained that I was on the Girl Scout Black List and not allowed to have any official roles.) Also, God bless all scout leaders because you do amazing things. It just wasn’t my thing.

Here is a pic of me in 5th grade. When Motor Mouth was a thing.


Back to nicknames.

I moved on to junior high and I think I basically stopped talking because the Motor Mouth nickname fell away. I’m sure my silence had nothing to do with being a weirded-out-pre-teen who spent her days in braces, giant, plastic-framed glasses, and feathered hair just trying to fit in… anywhere. Junior High memory sharing involves more time, and definitely more therapy. These were not my best years!

Junior High me.


High School Mod.

On to high school. At some point a new nickname emerged… Mod. This one stuck and not many people called me Karen anymore. In fact, my high school friends still mostly call me Mod and I love it. It was a time when I came into myself and started to really understand who I am. It was also a very hard time for me.

My mom was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in my early high school years. My friends became my support system. My mom died August 3, 1988. Just two weeks before I began my journey to college.

Off to Bradley University. Some of my good high school friends made the transition to Bradley alongside of me and as a result, Mod hit the Bradley U. campus. I can safely say that not many of my college friends even knew my name was Karen. The two women who called me by my actual name are two of my most cherished friends today.

When my husband Mike first met me, we were introduced by a frat brother of his from southern Illinois. This buddy pronounced Mod as Maude. Mike thought my name was actually Maude for a long time. Oh boy. I mean, God bless any teen girls named Maude in 1988, but that just wasn’t this girl.

College Mod.


Life is an incredible adventure and I have learned to appreciate every experience because it has made me the woman I am today. From Motor Mouth to Mod to Karen to Mom, it’s all been incredible. When it was time to name my organization business, Mod Organization felt exactly right.


One thought on “Life with Mod: Why ‘Mod’?

  1. Oh, friend. I loved reading about Motor/Maude/Mod. And seeing as how I a five year run as a Girl Scout Cookie Mom under my belt, you just holler if you want me to verbally jack a scouting sister (or five) up. Because I would do that for you. No, really,..I would. xoxoxo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *