This beautiful picture graces the walls of my living room. My mother painted this picture before I was even born. To say she was multi-talented, would be an understatement. It was more like, what couldn’t she do? I’m sure my big kids have an image instilled in their memory of Mom coming to our condo and our rescue many times with her tote bag full of tools. I appreciated her handyman abilities. Patching walls to fixing leaks, refinishing furniture the list goes on and on.
This one has been hanging in my kitchen for many years. This is a picture that I grew up with. Mom hung this proudly in every house I lived in as a child. I acquired this after she passed away. My sister has a few of Mom’s paintings as well. My oldest has a beautiful picture of San Fransico that Mom created. She was such an interesting multi-faceted person. A certified draftsman long before I was born. A dance instructor. She ran a small dance studio in Fresno. She met my father there at that studio, he was one of her students, she taught him how to ballroom dance.
She was a gifted seamstress that costumed every childhood play my sister and I were ever in. She would make costumes for every cast member! She was so outstanding that she created her own patterns for most things that she sewed. She made coats, special beautiful prom dresses for my sister and I. Halloween costumes galore…she even made gig clothes for the guys in the rock band I was in lol! In later years she created special quilts for every grandchild that she had, 13 of them, each a different design. A Grammy original so to speak! I was 7 months pregnant with Zoe when she passed away. She had almost finished a quilt for Zoe as well. The day before she died at home, she told me that she wished she could finish the quilt. She was sad that she wasn’t well enough to complete it. She dearly wanted to get up out of bed to go finish it. Bless her heart, I found the quilt upstairs nearly finished after she passed. My sister and I were able to finish it for her. It would be her last creation, for her last grandchild whom she would never meet. I cherish this quilt! Looking back, it’s amazing that as sick as she was, she had the will, desire and ability to make this.
Her love and emphasis for the arts was paramount. She wrote, produced and executed two musicals in her lifetime with the Roseville Civic Theater in Carmichael, CA. She wrote songs for the musical by humming them to her pianist friend. Lyrics that were cute and very catchy as well, “I’m In Love With The T.V. Repair Man”, comes to mind. She was fun and funny! Great sense of humor and a quick wit! The smartest woman I have ever known with many varied interests. An avid reader. Always had a book in her hand. History, geography, space exploration, parapsychology, and even religion. She would sit for hours with graph paper and chart earthquakes. She would collect and chart compiled numerical data in an effort to one day predict where they would “quake” next. She would always say “For every action, is a reaction on the other side of the world be it seismic tremors, quake or volcanic activity”.
In latter years she would chart and graph the winning lottery numbers in an effort to somehow dispell random drawing of numbers. She was sure everything was predictable if you could chart and graph it until it came together and became a predictable pattern?
She always had a globe nearby. My oldest owns and display’s that globe now. Sometimes, she would sit with my kids and play this game… She would spin the globe and see where my child’s finger would land. They would talk about that place. If she didn’t know much about it, she would refer to her set of encyclopedias. My kids enjoyed sharing in that with her. One particular day I recall her spinning the globe with all of my kids in attendance. Mom marveled at their discovery… She said, “I didn’t know this island was here!” She put her face down close to the globe for further inspection of the new find and exclaimed so matter of factly, “Oh, it’s peanut butter island…” This was so funny, we all just laughed. Somehow peanut butter laden fingers had made their way onto her globe. Kids and peanut butter, go figure…This became one of my most treasured memories of her. It was so sweet and endearing!
She was my biggest supporter and played the role of cheerleader in my life, so many times. She helped me get through all of my tough years of single parenthood. She would bolster me up emotionally, give me a pep talk before and after every court appearance that I had to make in family court. My ex and his wife drug me to family court many times in an effort to take the kids to get out of paying child support. A decade that robbed us all of joy and peace! It never worked, the court always saw through his baseless allegations. I hated like hell though having to answer to those allegations. They would drum up the most ridiculous and awful things that you could say about a person. I was forever in a defensive legal posture. I wouldn’t wish that decade of my life on my worst enemy! I used to tout that I’d rather have a root canal without any anesthesia than have to appear in family court and play this emotionally torturous and exorbantly expensive game. I always prevailed and nothing ever changed regarding custody of my children but at great monetary expense and emotional hardship. My Mom helped me hold onto my family. She helped fund my legal expenses. OMG she was a lifesaver.
My Mom was always there to talk to and she always gave the best advice! “Be careful of what you want, you might get it”. On darker days when she was really angry about it she would say, “The best revenge is living well”! She was my best friend. We would drink coffee and talk together for hours about all kinds of things!
I physically cared for her for many years. She lived with me for the last 6 years of her life. She was ill for a long time although the actual cancer diagnosis came only two days before her death. She wouldn’t have wanted to know and fight that anyway. She detested Dr.s and never wanted to think of herself as sick. She never acted sick! For many years before we lived together, I would clean her large house and maintain the yard for her. I still have dreams about cleaning that house…Mom was a borderline hoarder. It was a real challenge to whip that place into shape and dejunk. Wow, she did not like to clean. One day I decided that I would step in and take charge. I was shocked that she let me! She didn’t fight me and told me years later that she was so glad that I took over managing everything. She had let her property taxes go unpaid for years and they were about to foreclose on the property. I had no idea until I answered her telephone and was given that news. That was the day I realized that I needed to step in and take charge. It was a full time job in itself as the property was run down and in need of updating, remodeling and a lot of TLC. So, I took charge of everything and contracted out repairs and elbow greased the rest. Sold both her home and my condo. I bought a home for all of us and we settled together in a Paso Robles, CA. She had the upstairs portion of the home which was spacious . A large master bath, bedroom and a craft room. Her own space which she thoroughly enjoyed. By this time she had Alzheimer’s as well. It was difficult watching her cognitive decline.
The kids and I occupied the downstairs portion. By this time, the kids were in highschool and my youngest at the time was in middle school. Mom died peacefully at home with all of us there with her. I was so glad to have Hospice to help with her passing and to provide the loving comfortable exit she so wanted. She died within two days of her lung cancer diagnosis. I brought her home from the hospital and she passed away the next day. I held onto the home for another year after she passed. I sold our home when Zoe was a one year old toddler. My new husband and I decided to move to Phoenix. I had lost so many of my older relatives there on the central coast that sadness and memories were looming around every corner there. Two sets of Aunts and Uncles died within years of each other. I welcomed a fresh start in Phoenix.
She always loved that I could play and sing. She was my biggest, (only) fan. She was amazed at my childhood music savantism. This was one of her favorite songs that I started covering as a teen. She would tear up when I played this…
I know she would be thrilled to know that I have revisited my savant. I took many years off only playing the piano occasionally when my kids were young. The past couple of years that I have been actively been pursuing my music has given me great personal joy! I know she would be smiling down on me to know that I actually write songs of my own as well as cover them. Even if it’s taken me to 54 to get here lol.