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.


16 thoughts on “12May23: done for now…

    • Thanks! Yes, she was very strong in many ways, though she endured back surgeries, polio as a child, and knee replacements. Swimming gave her lots of pain relief.

  1. Your mom was fabulous, Doug! Anyone who has a public swimming facility named after her must have made a huge impact on everyone she met. It’s rare these days to find a person who worked selflessly to help her community.

    Is that the foundation or basement your mom and you are working on in that photo of the two of you? California generally doesn’t have houses with basements because of winter flooding (at least before the climate changed) and because it usually isn’t needed: furnaces (if the house has one at all) and hot water heaters are installed above ground, usually in a utility room or closet. I miss the convenience of having a basement to store stuff, but maybe not the damp and the spooky stairs leading down to one. 😉

  2. Wonderful tribute to your mother, Doug. As to still missing her, I just got a WP “blogoversary” message, and it hit me again that it is the 7th anniversary of my father’s passing, and the impact was just as strong. You are not the only one, it seems.

  3. Dear little Andy cat! You are special to each other. 🙂❤️🐱

    She was an amazing woman. You have written a fine tribute, Doug, to not only your mother, but to your family and the values that were passed down to you and your siblings. Thank you for this view into your lives.

  4. What a lovely tribute to your Mom and to your family also, Doug! And what a sweet picture of Andy, those kitty kneading moments are so endearing.

Leave a Reply. You may comment using your WordPress.com, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ accounts.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.