Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mom

Happy New Year. I am finding it hard to realize that tomorrow it will be 2015. I remember reading the novel 1984 back in high school in the mid-1960s thinking that 1984 was so far away. As a teenager, I never considered that by then I would be married and have two young children. I lived in the present, listening to the Beach Boys, learning to dig The Beatles, riding my horse, and trying to get okay grades.

And here we are today. I celebrated my birthday December 20th. I kept mum about it on the blog because I just didn't want to make a big deal out of it, and yet to the outside world I was declaring to everyone who wished me Happy Birthday that I was 68. I made such a declaration to help me get accustomed to the new age. I am have told myself that it is time to embrace this decade because the 70s are just around the corner.

Today my mother would be 100 years old. She died in February 1990. She was hospitalized for some undiagnosed something or other and wanted to go home. Then  early one morning I got the call from dad saying that she was gone. She was 75 and not in very good health, but it seemed that she just chose not to wake up that morning.  It has taken years to adjust. We miss our moms so much when we don't have them any more. I still miss her.

She was born December 31, 1914, in Ottumwa, Iowa where she lived until she finally left home as a young woman to work in Des Monines, Iowa where she met my dad. Here she is pictured with her older sister who died young at 16 with heart problems. 

Pictured with her mother, Stella Eaton, mom always dressed stylish. She was 28 when she married in 1944. Her mom passed soon after. In those days medical diagnoses were vague and uncertain. Breast cancer, mom guessed.

Raised in the city as an only child, her life took a dramatic turn when she married Duane. They moved to Lakewood, Colorado where Duane's family lived, moving in with them. Later dad purchased a small piece of property in the country and moved his little family with two babies to a little house on 10 acres. I was  3 or 4, but I have very vivid memories of that little house--and the out house. While the house did have indoor plumbing for the kitchen, it did not have a bathroom.

About the time I went off to college in 1967, dad closed the business and returned to the University of Denver to get his teaching certificate so that he could teach high school math. Mom went to work at a local junior high school as the attendance secretary. This is mom's work photo, a school picture taken when the school kids had their pictures taken. 

Always a stay at home mom, she did work. Dad and his father ran an egg and poultry business. Mom worked right along side the men. Her main job with the business was to candle the eggs and fill the orders for egg  that would be delivered the next day the next day in Denver. The list of customers included cafes, restaurants, and boarding houses. Dad purchased eggs from suppliers, but they had to be candled to check for imperfections. Working in a darkened room, she would candle each egg, looking for imperfections. The candle box was a simple unit that hung from a shelf about the 12”x 18” with two holes, looking like large blank eyes. The light bulb inside the box illuminated the eggs when they were held up to the hole so that she could see inside the egg. She worked fast with two eggs in each hand and it didn't take but a few seconds for her to determine if the egg was fresh or rotten or had too much water in it, had cracks, or blood spots.

She worked hard along side her husband and father-in-law. In addition to raising 3 children. She sewed all of my dresses and my little sister's, she always had hot meals on the table, she was president of the PTA, learned to bowl, went to night school to become a secretary. 

Mom had multiple talents. She was one of those talented ones who could say, "I want to make this sleeve different" when she sewed a pattern.  And she would just cut out what she wanted it to look like.  She tried to teach me to sew. Me? I couldn't even follow the pattern directions. I'd say, "Show me." And patiently, she would.

She rode trail bikes, hunted deer and elk, and helped process the game meat. And talk about a recycler and thriftier. Back in those days I was so embarrassed when she dragged home a piece of furniture that she had dug out of the Oak Creek dump up in the mountains where their cabin was. She'd bring the thing home, take an upholstery class, and have a new sofa. 

She played the piano and sang opera. As a very little child, I enjoyed her playing the piano and singing in the middle of day, taking a break from her daily chores.

Mother taught me manners, how to behave like a lady, encouraged me, and when times were tough, she taught her children how to be tough, to meet life's challenges head on, to be realistic, stoic, loving, and giving. She wasn't one to gossip or say mean things about others. 

I know today that she would be so proud of her children and boy would she spoil those great grandchildren.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

And you dear friends I wish you a Happy New Year. 

Thanks for taking the time all year long to visit the Garden Spot and for leaving kind, sweet, encouraging comments. 


  1. Anne , what a fascinating post. What an amazing woman your mother was. She was born about the same time as mine (1912). What changes they would see now if they were here.

  2. What a beautifully written post about your Mom. She was a lovely lady and you are, too. I hope you had a wonderful birthday my friend! It's a good time to share memories and reflect. I'm so glad we are friends. Happy New year, Diane

  3. I loved reading this tribute to your mother Ann. I see we are of about the same age, I am 67.
    Wish you a Healthy, Happy and Good Gardening year in 2015!

  4. A beautiful post mom. A lovely way to honor your mom and our grandma.

  5. Your mother was quite an accomplished lady, and a nice tribute to honour her birthday. Also, belated birthday wishes to you too Ann.
    Happy New Year.

  6. Such an interesting post, Ann, full of details from life as it was. A lovely tribute to your mom. Belated birthday wishes to you, and a wish for much joy in the New Year.

  7. Happy New Year Ann! I hope 2015 is the best one yet!
    And happy belated birthday too! You should always celebrate every birthday in a big way.
    Your Mom sounded terrific. How lucky you are to have such incredible person in your past and still watching over you I'm sure.

  8. What a heartwarming post dear Ann. I think it is so good to open our hearts and remember them and all they were. I feel I know you better by getting to meet your Mother through your words. I so miss my Mom everyday, I still think of things to tell her but then stop myself, even if it has been 12 years for me. Sending you a hug and Happy Birthday to your Mom.

  9. Your mom sounds like a wonderful, well loved lady. What an honor to be her daughter. :o)

  10. Ann what an awesome Mom you had. I loved reading about her...and what a great daughter you are, too. My mother was born in 1914, in Sept. She died at 93, so she, too, would be 100 if she had lived. I wish you a happy belated birthday and 68 is so young. I was that age 6 years ago! Happy New Year, too!

  11. Weren't those women from the previous generations amazing, Ann? Your mom sounds like an amazing and interesting person and a wonderful wife and mother. I can't bear to think about the time when my mom is no longer here; we think she is incredible and will miss her tremendously. Your mother died the same year our son was born. I agree with you that she would certainly be proud of her family if she were here today.

    I enjoyed your post very much. I've barely been on the computer since Christmas at all, so I'm trying to catch up on visits. I miss blogging, but I've had to get caught up on some things around the house. Have a great weekend!




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