Sep. 14, 1922 Los Angeles Los Angeles County California, USA
Sep. 28, 2004 La Mirada Los Angeles County California, USA
She has left a legacy that will truly last three generations and continue touch the world, in some small way, long after you and I have joined her. My mother's deep love of country was always with us and which influenced me. It was in her Fourth of July celebrations, in the music she listened to, in the books of American history which she kept on the shelf as her favorites. These were the examples she set. She, as much if not more so than my father, gave me my love of America. She certainly was creative; actually she was an artist. Who among us can not forget the legacy she left in her crafts – some of her most beautiful work was her woodcarving, now heirlooms. She made her golden Christmas wreaths from simple pods and cones, her Christmas ornaments were made from tin can lids, and there were her knitted mufflers, sewn Christmas ornaments, floating candles, yarn covered clothes hangers, rugs and wall-hangings, her refinished furniture and many many hand painted, beautiful little statues, mugs, holiday items often initialed; things that will one day, I hope, be in the hands of her descendents. One incident describes mom's personality in a special way. When I was about 13 years old, our Siamese cat, Beau Thai, killed a pet mouse shortly after the mouse had babies. Mom was heartbroken, but she was determined to care for those tiny creatures, each hardly the size of a bean. She fed each one, every four hours, with an eyedropper - every four hours – round the clock. Even at two in the morning. Two of those mice lived to adulthood and became little pets. Mom was someone who cared. Mom was enthusiastic about her family and what it was and what it did. In the early 1960s my father started to study his family lineage. Sometimes I think, no I know, mom knew parts of daddy's genealogy better than he did. Some of you may remember the painting of the home of one of my father's ancestor's on the wall in our dining room in Arcadia. I cannot imagine my father thinking of doing that on a wall. Although I cannot say this is absolutely true, I'll bet mom was the driving force behind it. And later she lovingly encouraged him to visit Bolton, Massachusetts to walk in that 170 year-old home. She was a great supporter. Dad joined the Sons of the Revolution, a genealogical society, in 1962, and a few years later my sister and I were joined, probably against our will, into the Children of the American Revolution, the C.A.R. As we got more involved, mom was there with us. Her encouragement and support, and the friendship she showed to us and other children were so very important. In 1970, Mom received the Children of the American Revolution's Endowment Pin, an special award given to only a few who made great contributions to the CAR. While she was never a member of the DAR (she had no revolutionary ancestors), she contributed greatly to the success of Mark Hopkins CAR and her children's involvement in it.
She knew how to make memories for her children. She took a red hat box that became a special red Valentine's Card box which held the cards for that day, or the Fourth of July's, or especially her favorite holiday Christmas with the wonderful family times. She made special things happen too. I wonder if it was her idea to have dad take us on the Red Line street car in Los Angeles before it ceased running. Instead of flying me to a CAR conference in Washington, she and dad put me on the Santa Fe Super Chief to Chicago and then onto the Washington on the Baltimore and Ohio – what a memory – and a piece of history for only a few years later the Santa Fe Super Chief itself became a piece of Americana. As far as memories go, she has allowed us to remember our youth by making countless scrapbooks and picture books for us until we were long into adulthood. Mom was a loyal friend and daughter – for as many years as I can remember, she visited her parents, and later her mom, every month or so it seemed. She wrote to her friends and relatives often - a letter to pen pal in Australia or to my father's cousin in Chicago - a birthday card to a nephew or a daughter-in-law. A special note was almost always there. Mom had an inner toughness that impresses me to this day. When I was 16 and my sister 14, my father lost his job. In a few years, we lost dad's mother. Shortly thereafter mom's mother passed away. And then, we lost our home. Dad took an odd job here or there, but it was not enough. A bar-b-qued steak was a thing of the past. We sometimes had only a plate of lentils with a piece of hamhock for dinner. Never again would life be as it was. While the money dwindled and dad was idle and depressed, mom kept up a cheery spirit, and kept us going forward. Everything was ok! Of course, it wasn't, those were not happy times, but for her children she was strong and she made sure we were taken care of. Sometimes it took everything she had just to get out of bed, but she did it. Looking back, I am awed by the inner strength that she had to keep everything together. As our lives moved on, she kept her finger on us, as mothers do. I was particularly hard to follow, in the military, living in far off places, yet there was always a letter in the mail, occasional cookies, a word of encouragement, or a funny card. And in my down times, and there were certainly those, she was always there. Mom was a happy, creative, fun, and loving person. I can remember the jokes, the "tickle fights," the water fights, the laughing and positive spirit. She was almost always positive – I rarely heard a negative word.