Mother's Day - Lessons Learned
More than any toy, clothing, or other gift, it can be said that the most valuable thing you get from your mother are the memories you create together as she cares and watches over you in your journey to adulthood.
Georgia Leona Rush, of Sweetgrass Court
Submitted by Emily Watkins
My mother provided me with countless memories that I hope to always keep but the memory I want to share now is one that I now realize was her way of giving me something she didn’t have as a child. My mother, Georgia Leona Rush, was born in 1929 during the Great Depression, a time when so many families had to “make do” with what they could. Her family was no exception because their only means of income was from the land they lived on in Ninety Six, South Carolina. They sold eggs, produce, ham, and lumber.
For some reason my mother had a dream to go to college, the first one in her family. She enrolled in Lander College which was a women’s college at the time. She told me she caught the public school bus to get to her classes. I remember her telling me this was “the happiest time of her life.” This was when she was introduced to the fine arts for the first time in her life. She joined the chorus and participated in all the cultural events they offered and saw another side of life. I took it for granted as a child that I got to take dancing and piano lessons; I thought everybody did this. In retrospect, I see that she wanted to give me what she didn’t have as a little girl.
The memories of my mother driving me every Saturday to dance lessons over an hour away and the hours she waited while I had piano lessons after she had worked all day didn’t mean much at the time. Now those days are on my mind a lot as I think to myself, “I was one lucky girl.”
Jean Mitchell, of Homeplace of Burlington
Submitted by Carla Loy
I have many fond memories of my mom, but this would have to be the fondest.
Every year on my mom’s birthday, we would take a day off work and go shopping. We went to Fieldcrest in Eden and bought towels and linens, some for us and some to give as Christmas presents. Then we would eat lunch at the Family Diner in Reidsville. Then on the way home we would stop and buy a pumpkin for to sit on the front porch. Since it was October, pumpkins were very plentiful.
My mom was not only my mom, but she was my best friend and always will be. She was always there for me when I needed her. To my everlasting regret, I wish I could have been there for her when she needed me the most. I could see that she was beginning to falter, but it never crossed my mind that she had Alzheimer’s until she was pretty well advanced.
I love you Mom, I always will!
Dina Collins, of Somerford Place Roseville
Submitted by Denise Giannini
The most endearing memory of my mother Dina is her baking crème puffs at Christmas for our family. Everyone was delighted to receive her tasty treats, especially my ex-husband.
My mother has always been a generous person; at Christmas she would make sure I had at least an armful of gifts to open (although the best gift she ever gave me is her love). To her dismay, my mother is no longer able to bake or shop for Christmas. The memories that I have of her in the kitchen will forever be etched in my mind…
Ruby James, of The Forum at Tucson
Submitted by Judi Victor
I think the real reason pink is one of my favorite colors is because it reminds me of my fifth birthday party. Mom had magically transformed our dining room into a vision of pink, fit for a princess. From the tissue paper flowers she made for the centerpiece to the delicate party favors set at each place and the pink and white streamers that floated down from the ceiling, it was captivating. But the pièce de résistance – indeed, the crowning glory – was my birthday cake.
She had toiled over it for hours; mixing, layering, baking, frosting and adding just the right touch of maraschino cherries to what otherwise would have been an ordinary angel food cake. Viola! The result was as beautiful as it was delectable.
When I was in junior high, Mom decided to try her hand at ceramics. Dad and I imagined that she’d paint a simple mug or a napkin ring. But Mom’s first project mirrored the crown of a saguaro cactus, turned upside down and hollowed out to form a bowl. She glazed the inside with a vibrant turquoise blue, while the outside remained in a rough-hewn, wind-swept desert tone. To this day, Mom’s ceramic masterpieces are among the most treasured artwork in our home.
Through the years, Mom has always brought taste, elegance and inspiration into everything she does.
From her flair for decorating… to her culinary prowess and her extreme fashion sense…to the creative genius that inspired hundreds of children in the school libraries she commandeered for so many years…to creating unforgettable family celebrations – form birthdays to graduations to weddings and beyond – she has a way of making everything in life beautiful.
She’s my Mom.
Submitted by Dorothy Shirek, of Overland Park Place
It’s my pleasure to tell you about my Mom. I guess the easiest way to do that would be to tell a brief little story:
Her name was Kathleen, and she and Daddy had four daughters. To say we all loved her is a terrific understatement. Sadly we lost daddy when he was just 71. By that stage of our lives we daughters were all married. Would you believe the four sons in law were all offering mother a home with them. Mother chose my husband and she lived with us for the rest of her life. I call that a success story (it sure puts an end to some of the Mother in law stories.)
Geraldine McKay, of Overland Park Place
Submitted by Joan Melvin
Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful mother! How do I begin to express how much I love you and what a wonderful Mom you’ve been! My heart is so full of love, admiration, appreciation for all you’ve done for me.
From as long as I remember, you always made me feel so loved and special. Amidst your busy social activities, you always put your children first, and never missed my dance recitals or school programs. I have great memories of afternoons when I would practice piano and you would stop what you were doing to come and sit by me and sing.
Through the teen years, you were always there for me when I needed to talk. You would encourage me to pray about it. Thank you for bringing me up as a Christian; for being the spiritual leader of the family, and for nightly devotions after dinner. It was your strong faith that helped me become the Christian that I am today and I feel so blessed that we share our faith. There is a unique bond between a mother and a daughter which has strengthened as I have become a mother myself. I thank God for blessing me with a mother like you and for our special relationship!
Submitted by Susan Keck, of Overland Park Place
I was one of three children, and when my little brother was born (Bill) I told him to go home. My mother Honey Keck welcomed us both with love and affection. Bill & I also have a sister Kathy who has given our mother beautiful grandchildren who she adores!
Submitted by Irvin Kawarsky, of Overland Park Place
My mother, Mae Galinsky arrived from Lithuania at Ellis Island sometime in the 1920’s.
An Aunt of mine playing matchmaker introduced her to my father. After time she gave birth to me and my sister Rosalie. Mom taught us ballroom dancing, played ball with us and encouraged our interests. When my sister was around 6 she invited several friends to our apartment to celebrate her birthday, without telling Mom! This of course surprised Mom but she was a good sport. She baked a cake and made a party for the kids. Mom was always helping with her grandchildren who she adored!
After my sister moved to Washington DC, Mom and I became even closer and to this day I think about her and miss her very much.
Submitted by Mildred Abbott, of Overland Park Place
Mama was a “city-girl,” used to living with in-house electricity and plumbing. She met Daddy, a farm boy, in school. They married in 1911, when Mama was 17 and Daddy was 20; for several years, they lived with Daddy’s parents. In 1920, Daddy managed to acquire a 13-acre plot of undeveloped ground, adjoining the playground of a school. They considered this a blessing because, by that time, three daughters had been born to them.
Daddy dug the basement for our home, using a horse-drawn dredge. He, together with a cousin (a carpenter), built our 5-room house. We moved into it (unfinished) in December, 1920. Daughter #4 was born there in 1925. The house had cistern-water, a wood-burning cooking stove, and an “ice-box” for perishable foods. It was heated by a pot-bellied stove, centrally located in the dining room. Laundry was done with water heated on a 2nd wood-burning stove in the basement.
Every day brought manual labor, weather challenges, money worries, etc., but Mama never complained! Hers was the most difficult role; but she continually urged her family to “count our blessings!” She taught us about Jesus; and how to use our God-given creative talents to overcome “lacks.”
One day, years after Daddy’s death, I was driving Mama somewhere when I abruptly asked her, “Mama, how did you ever manage to cope with farm life deprivations after having been a city-girl?” She answered, “My dear, when I married your father, I’d never been on a farm and seen the beautiful fields of vegetables or orchards laden with wonderful fruit; and I was so much in love with your Daddy that, when he took me there, I felt he’d taken me to live with him in the Garden of Eden!”
Submitted by Donna Ward, of Overland Park Place
My Mother’s name was Delpha Marie Mueller and she lived here at Overland Park Place 20 years ago. She always had a great sense of humor. One summer we were going to Mexico to visit my brother for snorkeling and deep sea fishing, when I picked her up at the front door she was carrying her cane. I said “Oh are we taking our cane to go snorkeling? She replied "Well, I find they always treat you nicer if you are carrying a cane”
I moved to Overland Park Place in 2010 and am proud to be a 2nd Generation Resident!
Gertrude Haslach, of Somerford Annapolis
Submitted by Kathy McNerney
Mom always marveled at the goodness and greatness of God in; flowers, butterflies, clouds, and birds that sing! The petals of a flower amazed her in that God could create something so intricate and beautiful! Mom's Faith has always been #1. Her life revolved around God and Church. It was so beautiful to go to Church every Sunday, as a family.
Mom always enjoyed having a good time; she was never one to sit at home. The last trip to Florida she wanted to be in the ocean, go on jet skis and swim the length in the pool. She was frail, but she was determined to be with her family! Going shopping and stopping for ice cream afterwards, just the two of us it was so cool! Mom would make me lunch and let me eat some of her cottage cheese with a pineapple when I was too young to go to school (I think of it every time I eat cottage cheese).
Mom also gave career advice. She suggested I consider becoming a nurse or a teacher, saying “it is something you always can go back to”. Having my teaching certification has advanced my career…thanks Mom!
As our lives approach full circle we will remember that Mom allowed us to give back and care for her. When we were young, she would nurse us back to health, bandage our ‘wounds’, put ‘smelly stuff’ on our chests or give us a kiss to make it all better. Now it is our turn to take care of Mom, we each do it in our own way. Each time we visit her and see her face light up, our hearts melt! Making her happy is the best memory of all!
Submitted by Florence Feys, of The Villa at Riverwood
My mother, Edith Middendorf, was the eldest of six children—two girls and four boys. Although she was a good student who liked school, she had to leave school after the 6th grade to help with the housework.
As a young woman, she found employment in a dress shop making alterations. She became quite skilled in sewing—a talent that she put to use in later years when she had a family.
When Edith was 28 years old, she married Walter Bernzen. They raised four children; two girls and two boys.
As a housewife, my mother was always busy. Her days were filled with caring for her husband, four children, mother-in-law, and brother-in-law who lived with the family. Between cooking, cleaning, laundry and in the summertime, canning fruits and vegetables, and of course, mending and sewing, her hands were never idle.
She also found time to work for the church. She was president of the Women’s Society for several years and helped with cleaning the church and cooking for church bazaars.
Family was very important to her. She took care of my paternal grandmother until her death from cancer; and my dad’s brother who suffered from blood poisoning.
After her children married and the grandchildren came, they were her pride and joy. In their later years, my mother and dad lived with my sister who never married. My sister took care of them until their deaths.
My mother loved to travel and made trips with the family to both coasts. She lived to be 94 years old and was privileged to die at home in her own bed with several family members at her side.
Frieda Mitchell, of Summit Place of Beaufort
Submitted by Muriel Hawkins and Karen Ulmer
Frieda Mitchell was a wonderful role model for her daughters, and while there are many fond memories, the most memorable are the lessons her daughters learned (and continue to learn) from her. Frieda had humble beginnings. Her parents were farmers who worked odd jobs to ensure their four children would be able to attend private high school.
Frieda built upon the love and determination her parents taught her and passed on the legacy to her children. While raising her daughters, Dr. Muriel Hawkins and Ms. Karen Ulmer, Frieda found time to march with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and founded a daycare program. The school still bears her name. Frieda taught her daughters the importance of taking action against injustice, and doing everything possible to meet the needs of others.
At the time that Frieda founded the daycare center, preschools and daycare centers were scarce. She raised $500,000 to start her daycare program which became a blessing to so many children and families. She worked tirelessly to improve the lives of African American women and children. She has received national and international recognition for her work in child care reform and civil rights. Some of her other accomplishments include serving as the organizer and Chairperson of the Beaufort County Education Community (BCEC), the central force for school desegregation.
She managed to accomplish so much while still being a loving and kind mother to her daughters. She did not just tell them it is possible to make a real difference in the lives of people, she demonstrated her principles through her actions. The strength, determination and values that she gave her daughters is only surpassed by the love she gave.
Submitted by Gladys Matthys Glaser, of The Forum at Memorial Woods
Selma Carolina Teichelmann was born in Copeland County, Texas August 21st, 1907. In 1918 the great Flu epidemic hit and all nine children and their parents were hit. All the kids managed to survive but sadly, both parents died one day apart leaving the nine kids to go live with their relatives. Selma moved with her brother Otto in with their favorite Aunt, Uncle and their Grandmother.
In November of 1925, Selma married Max Matthys and they became parents to six of us children but unfortunately they lost one in infancy. Mom was a hardworking, fun loving wife and mother. In 1976 they adopted two young boys and loved them as their own.
There are so many special memories of mom, it’s hard to choose just one. When I celebrate Mother’s Day, I can’t help but think of one special Mother’s Day. In 2002, all five of us and our spouses went to church with her and planned on going to a nice restaurant in Waco afterwards for lunch. Upon hearing this mom told us we were going to her favorite place, KFC. She proudly informed us that is where she wanted to go because she had coupons she could use there. Well, we went to KFC and ordered our food and sat down to eat when suddenly mom looks me and says, “Gladys, where are my teeth?”. To which I replied “I don’t know mom, I was not there when you dressed for church, where did you leave them?”. By this time we were al laughing so hard we had tears in our eyes. Well, poor mom could only eat the mashed potatoes and gravy. We saved the chicken for later. So you see why when Mother’s Day rolls around, I can’t help but think of that very special day spent with my beloved mother.
Submitted by Herb Krischke, of the Forum at Memorial Woods
Well, I haven’t really thought about my mother in quite some time. I just always accepted the she would be there when I needed her. From the first day I was born until the day she died, I knew I could depend on her for all of my needs. She was one-of-a-kind! Even when I ‘messed up’, she would always tell dad “Don’t punish him too much”.
Born on a farm in Schulenberg, TX on Feb. 16, 1903, she only knew hard work but she never mentioned it. When she went to school she had to walk across fields and pastures to the railroad tracks where she would leave her work shoes and put on her school shoes then walk the miles to school. When I once asked if she was afraid someone might steal her shoes, she was shocked that I would even think of something like that. She grew up on a horse plowing farm without a phone or electricity. She made it all the way through her first year of high school before having to quit to ‘work the farm’.
Mom always put dad and the three of us kids first. Dad always had the first serving followed by us kids and then she would eat. She loved fish and sometimes we would go fishing in Galveston. She always got excited when we caught a good sized fish. My life was always filled with joy and happiness with my parents. I always wanted to do something special for them but once I was able to, it was too late. My dad was hit by a car one day while taking his ‘walk’ and mom moved to Florida, with my brother, where she died in 1994.
I Love You Mom.
Submitted by Alan Foremsky, of Mount Vernon of Elizabeth
Mom worked hard all her life but always had time for her two children. They, my Mom and Dad, owned and operated a dairy store/gas station and sold penny candy, so we were the most popular kids in the neighborhood. Mom not only took care of all our scraped knees and splinters, she tolerated all my pets…from mice on string harnesses to garter snakes in my jeans pocket that were found only on wash day.
By the time I was in high school, our store was history but our house was the future. It was the meeting place of all the great teenage minds even though we were the last people in the neighborhood to get television.
In the 60’s, after graduating from high school and enlisting in the Marines, I was gone for 4½ years. I think that was truly the only time my parents were not too thrilled with me. Mom and Dad were not happy about that but she never failed to write at least one letter a week to keep me informed about everyone.
Mom is the best mother anyone could wish for. Just ask my wife who has adopted her as her own. We will continue to make her every need a reality until the cycle of life is complete. Even though Mom is 101 years, our Mother’s Day wish is for her to enjoy another 10 to 15 years, at least! She loves the living arrangements, activities, crafts and staff at Mount Vernon of Elizabeth. We hope she’ll be around a good long time.
Annie Mae Akins
Submitted by Horace Akins, of Five Star Premier Residences of Reno
My Mother Annie Mae Akins told me the happiest day of her life was when her three sons returned from World War II.
She was one of the two greatest parents in the world.
Submitted by Jean Connell, of Five Star Premier Residences of Reno
It was 1951. I gave birth to my first child on February 22nd in Elgin, Illinois.
My mother – I called her Mum – made the journey from Scotland to see Moira, her first grandchild. She came by ship to New York and then by train to Chicago.
One morning, we drove to Chicago with our two month old baby Moira to meet her grandmother. The train came in as we stood on the platform. I was all eyes watching for her to depart from the train and I finally saw her. I took Moira in my arms and ran up to meet her.
The joy on her face was so beautiful when I handed her granddaughter into her arms.
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