12May23: done for now…

Sometimes Andy comes around to knead the blanket and look at me. “Are you my Mommy?” he seems to ask!

Then he takes a nap, perhaps to dream about his real Mommy, long gone from his life.



In two days, Sunday the 24th of May, it will be one more Mother’s Day I’ve been without my mother, She died the 5th of January 10 years ago. Had she lived a few more weeks to the 24th of February that year, she would have been 99 years old at time of death. Amazing!

Mom was a teacher by training, starting out in the country school where the creator of Alliance’s Carhenge, Jim Reinders, had her as a teacher, then the Hemingford school system where in the 1930s her contract stated she couldn’t marry, go to bars, and had to go to church. The only place she could get lunch, she said, was a bar, and there she lived on bacon-lettuce-and-tomato sandwiches, a favorite of hers (and mine!) all her life.

She became a substitute teacher in the Alliance school system after her children were mostly raised, helping pay for the home she and Dad built on Mississippi Avenue from wood salvaged from a WWII warehouse on the former Alliance airbase. 

Mom and me, her little helper, building the house on Mississippi Avenue.

Mom’s passion and lifetime “job” was teaching hundreds (thousands?) of people to swim through the Raed Cross swimming program. She taught 60 years, acquiring a life free pass to the swimming pool and a proclamation by the City Council after 50 years of teaching swimming.  After 60 years, the bath house of the then-new Big Blue swimming pool was named after Mom.

My Dad’s comment was typically supportive of his wife for over 70 years at the time, “They should have named the whole darn pool after her, not just the bath house!”

I think the “Big Blue” means something to someone, but I think Mom was just pleased to get the recognition she got.

That summer, Dad had to go into the care center after an illness, Mom and I moved to a retirement village, and our lives took an end-of-life turn for my parents, a slow decline. Fortunately, they were mentally alert till they died and as active as possible at each stage. (I know the feeling!)

I think the four children Mom and Dad had came out pretty well and we all were well loved by our parents. Just Kathy, my sister in Seattle, and I are the only ones left, yet we got good work values from Mom and Dad, a wicked sense of humor, a love of children and animals, appreciation for life, and more.

I am sure I don’t have to ask Kathy if she, too, misses Mom almost ten years and a half after her death.