Down in North Miami Beach, Fla., Phyllis...


Down in North Miami Beach, Fla., Phyllis Littwin basks in the glow of her son Mike's writing accomplishments. He's added to them by penning today's romp of a Mother's Day cover story, "Mom's the Word."

Mike, The Sun's thrice-weekly lifestyles columnist, dutifully mails his work to Mom for her critique.

"I think he's amazingly funny, but there are times when I disagree with him," his mother says. "But, as a son, I have never found fault with him. If I ever got angry at him as a child -- which wasn't often -- he would just put his arms around me, because he knew I couldn't talk without using my hands. And then I'd laugh, and that would end it."

Mike was raised in a household of unconditional love and uncontrollable laughter. "We are just a funny family," Mrs. Littwin says. "We look at life in a strange but happy way."

Consider the strange but happy story of how Mike became Mike.

"When he was born he was quite homely," Mrs. Littwin cackles. "His grandmother came running into my hospital room and said, 'Thank God it's a boy! If it had been a girl, she could have never gone through life.' Then, she thought for a moment and said, 'He looks like Mike the plumber!'

0 "And from that day to this, he's been Mike."

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