“All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

I am me because my mother was my mother.  I was inspired by her in many ways throughout her life.  I still am.  My mom modeled creative thinking and the implementation of original ideas.  She was a writer of stories, poems, comedic sketches, and song parodies.  She was a blue ribbon baker and cook.  Her freezer was always packed with cookies, meatloaf, sauces, and other delightful concoctions.  She was always changing, adjusting, and improving her recipes.  At the State Fair she did indeed win blue ribbons for her english muffins, scones, and Spam recipe!

She was an accomplished seamstress.  She sewed Barbie Doll clothes for me when I was young and my prom dress when I was older.  She sewed her own clothes for years.  I have three brothers and a sister, and every year she made homemade costumes for all of us.

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Mom was a reader.  I remember being so excited after a trip to the library!  We would all sit in the living room, each with our own stack of books.  Then we would share our favorites with each other.  As we grew older, she had the opportunity to read on a wide variety of topics.  It was always interesting to have a conversation with her.  Many of the books she read dealt with the American Civil War.  When she found out that her great grandfather fought in the war, she began research in earnest.  She has actually visited the field on which he was shot in the knee.  Because of her stories and research, I became interested as well.  It’s one of the reasons I enjoy teaching about the Civil War.

My grandparents were the only grandparents I knew with a music room in their house!  Having grown up with music, my mother was always humming, singing, or listening to it.   She played clarinet, guitar, and accordion.  She and my two older brothers formed a trio when I was young.  On her own, she has been in countless bands and singing groups over the years.  About ten years ago she was directing shows in the community where she lived.  The shows always had a lot of music and comedy that she was responsible for writing.  About five years ago she started a singing group of 3-5 women.  They sang some well known songs, but then also some of the parodies she has written.  Audiences loved her brand of entertainment and she loved being the entertainer.

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I had four days to accept the idea that cancer was going to end her life.  That was tough.  It has now been one week since she passed away.  I am very sad, but not at all forgetful that she planted many seeds.  I love coming up with original ideas for costumes or even hallway decorations.  I love to read.  I’ve spent happy hours sewing clothes for my children – and especially loved the bouncy dresses for my daughter.  I played clarinet during high school and have been in several choirs.  A few years ago, I even sang one of her parodies in a fund raising talent show.  Like I said, ” I am me because my mother was my mother.”

5 thoughts on ““All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

  1. Your post is a wonderful memorial Mary Beth. It is totally unsurprising to learn that you had a special Mom — but it is wonderful to hear the details.

    Mothers and teachers are in the business of planting seeds. You have clearly learned well from one of the masters. Thank you for carrying on your Mom’s legacy for so many of us.

  2. I feel very close to you, Mary Beth.

    In May this year my own mother, Josette Michel, left us peacefully in her sleep after a long life, and loved by all who knew her. I owe not just the gift of life to this amazing lady; she inspired me with a cosmopolitan and wide-horizoned cultural dimension, a passion for language and languages, and a celebration of personal diversity in the unity of shared humanity. While I am, of course, deeply saddened that she is personally no longer with us, in a very real sense she lives on in the vision of the world that I owe to her.

    You and I clearly share the experience of the gift of love and life from our mothers.

    • Thank you Michel. Mothers who inspire and instill passion and joy, leave behind children who are equipped to do something similar in the lives of others.

      You are certainly an inspiration to me (and many others), and the compassion I have felt from my students during this difficult time tells me that I am special to them as well.

      We are living memorials.

    • Thank you Gail. She was indeed amazing, and I’ve recognized that all my life.

      I visited with her in October, and she took that opportunity to tell me how very proud she is of me and the kind of teacher I am.

      To hear her saying those words in my head is such a gift. Amazing woman is right!

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