I have so many wonderful memories of my Mom because she was an extraordinary woman. She was born in 1919 and lived through the depression, through WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. She watched a man land on the moon, the launch of the space shuttle, and astronauts manning the space station. She listened to news and programs on the radio, witnessed the arrival of television, the advent of color television, a telephone in every house, and a cell phone in every hand. She learned how to drive in a Model T, learned how to cook on a coal burning stove, had the first microwave on her street, and moved to the wilds of Arizona with a young family and the love of her life. Just imagining all the history that she experienced and lived through boggles my mind.

While in Chicago, she cooked and cleaned and kept her home in pristine condition. She worked alongside my Dad in the small business they started together, cutting glass, helping customers, keeping the books, doing payroll, and generally making sure things ran smoothly. All while being active in their church, her kids’ school activities and taking care of her aging parents, younger siblings, and grandparents.

After moving the family to Arizona, my Mom set up her family’s household, found schools and a church. She and Dad found a place to start a new glass business, stocked inventory, set up the necessary machines, and sought out contracts and customers. Mom learned how to make picture frames so they could capture new customers and ran the Arizona business while Dad went back and forth to Chicago to keep their original business running smoothly until they found a buyer for it.

This amazing woman and her husband had always dreamed and hoped for a large family. When they discovered after the birth of their second child, my amazing sister, that more of their own biological children were not in the cards for them, they fostered kids with a view to adopting at some time. Mom never gave up hope and that is where I became part of the story. And a couple of years later, our littlest brother arrived.

I inherited so many, many things from this incredible woman. Patience, loyalty, how to work hard, how to play hard, keep learning forever, my love of reading, look out for people who might not be able to look out for themselves, what family is and what family means and what family does, how to be a partner and wife, how to be a strong woman. All these things and more, I learned from my beautiful, precious Mother.

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