RICHMOND, Va. — In recent months, West End mom Victoria Masterfield has become both fluent and imaginative in her use of emojis, a vocabulary of digital icons that express mood and enliven messages.
Masterfield, who turned 58 this October, uses an Apple iPhone 7 to exchange multi-media messages with her young-adult children, Jacqueline and Richard. Aware she’s transitioning into life as an empty-nester, Masterfield frequently employs emojis to connect with them.
“The emojis are helpful,” she explained. “If Jackie writes to say she’s running late for a family meal because she wants to check out First Fridays, rather than telling her it’ll be a problem, I might send the hourglass emoji and the face with endless tears emoji. She still gets the message but I don’t have to sound as mean.”
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Masterfield’s son Richard, a visual systems designer for CarMax, has found the transition helpful. “When I first started my job, I texted Mom by accident when I meant to text my roommate,” he told Peedmont reporters. “I was like ‘Shit I’m so hungover.’ It was a work day, like a Tuesday or something, but she just responded with a smiley face in sunglasses and a pizza slice. I was like, ‘damn, she gets it.’”
Richard’s roommate, Matt Foley, has come to admire Masterfield’s spunk, quick thinking, and dynamic use of the visual lexicon.
After a mislabeled phone number prank in April, Foley ended up in a group text with the Masterfield family. Despite the initial mix-up, Foley says the experience has been rewarding. “It’s a constant thread but it’s mainly me and Mrs. M., and I’ve been telling her she’s just killin’ it,” Foley elaborated. “She’s got these great combos. The other day I was like ‘Guys, Hogtoberfest!’ Mrs. M. was the first to respond. See, she’s vegetarian,” Foley clarified, laughing. “So she sent a pig head emoji, that one where the hearts twirl around the other hearts, and a see no evil monkey face emoji.”
Daughter Jacqueline, a senior at St. Catherine’s School, is also onboard with this new era of icon-based parental communication. “I think Mom’s chilling out,” she said. “Like on Bastille Day, Mom caught me stoned, coming back from tubing on the James. She flipped. But then I sent her the French flag emoji and she responded with a croissant and fireworks. So I sent a film projector and she sent a popcorn bag and two raised hands, and like, we both knew we were good. We made snacks and watched ‘Amélie.’”
“What Matt says, it’s true,” she added. “Mom’s pretty much killin’ it.”