My Wonder Woman Mom

My Mother, Wonder Woman

this lens' photo
Mom moved to Heaven on the 4th of July, 2002.

I remember thinking how fitting it was that she left us on that day. Because Mom was a true patriot! She was very proud of her service to our country as an Army nurse, and as an Army wife.

My mother was an incredible human being and a fantastic mother. I don't think she had any idea how great she was, nor would she have wanted any accolades. She was very humble and content to just do good works and leave the glory for others.

Mom was my first "best friend." She was the kind of mother who would listen and never judge. And she was always supportive of my endeavors. Plus she had complete faith and confidence in me, no matter what I did. She is also the most forgiving person I have ever met. There is no one who can ever take her place!

This is her graduation picture, from Nursing School, as an R.N. She was only 20 years old!

On Mother's Day I used to send her a mushy card, and flowers, and take her out to lunch, and look at all her pretty crochet ... because she was a world class weaver of magic with yarn...It was always such a great day to be with her, just the two of us. It seemed so seldom that I got to have her to myself. We all wanted more of her!

Since I can't do that any more, I decided to write this tribute to her. I still can't believe she's gone....

Words to Live By, Mother

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Growing Up

Wonder Woman Mom

As a child her parents had a farm and she had a horse and lots of animals and she never outgrew that love of the outdoors and animals. She also was a very proficient gardener and grew all kinds of food organically everywhere we lived.

Sometime during the depression, my mother’s family were forced to leave the farm, and grandpa opened a restaurant in the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. My grandfather survived that time by putting the whole family to work in the restaurant, including
Mom…and survive they did. After the depression my grandfather became a home builder, and an Oklahoma State Judge before he died.

She had always wanted to be a nurse, and she graduated from high school at 17 and immediately enrolled in nurse’s training. After her first two years of nursing school, she started flying lessons and earned her private pilot’s license.

A female pilot was very rare in those days! But Mom would have been a bird if she could have… and she loved going on any ride or experience in the air. Roller Coasters, Ferris Wheels, Hot Air Balloons, Air Gondola Rides, etc. Flying in a plane seemed natural to her!

Meanwhile Pearl Harbor had been bombed on her 18th birthday while she was in school, so she finished her nursing degree and immediately enrolled in the Army Nurse Corps. By the age of 21 she was already a Registered Nurse in the Army.

While serving in Ft.Smith, Arkansas as a nurse, she met my father in the Officer’s Club and they hit it off right away. They got married a month, a week, and a day after they met. This picture is them on their wedding day.

St. Francis of Assisi

This was my mother's favorite prayer. It was posted in every room in our house. I know a lot of nurses love it and maybe that is why she loved it so much. It was also her motto, the set of words she lived by.
The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

A Mother's Prayer for the World

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Wonderful Wife
Army Wives are Unsung Heroines

After they got married, my father’s job as an Intelligence Officer took him all over the world, so she left the service as an officer, and became an “Army wife.”

This meant she got to travel all over, and that fueled a wanderlust that never left her. Growing up we went away at least once a month my whole life. The beach was our second home! But we also went to all kinds of National Parks and monuments. Mom wanted to see all the states, and I think she did get to see most of them.

But the wives of Army men don’t get the credit they deserve, in my opinion. We moved very often, and it was Mom who organized the whole thing. Somehow it went very smoothly always. It was not until I started moving a lot on my own that I realized all the logistics involved and I still wonder how she did that so often with 5 children!

In addition, whatever my Father needed was handled. If he wanted to bring some single men home for a home cooked meal, she added a table leaf, and we had company. And if Dad needed to go to a school for the Army, she either packed us up to go with him, or she took care of everything in his absence. Not once did I ever hear her complain. Whatever the Army wanted was okay. She viewed it as her patriotic duty.

Mom Lived Her Life in Service

Wonder Woman Mom

Sometimes while I was growing up, Mom would work part time as a nurse, because she really liked it. But mostly she just put her talents to use volunteering. She was always very involved in Girl Scouts, as a leader and an organizer, and as a chaperone for our events. And she was always involved in our school activities, as a room mother, and a helper to teachers whenever they asked…and of course, the Church…doing charity work.

But as a mother of a special needs child, she had her days full anyway! My sister was autistic and needed constant attention. My parents refused to institutionalize her so her care fell to Mom, (and me, as the oldest), because Dad had so much work to do all the time. Plus, she was very busy with 5 children to care for, and a garden to tend, and sewing to do!

Dutiful Daughter

Here she is at Sweet 16

When my maternal grandparents got older and could not really care for themselves the way my parents thought they needed to be taken care of, Mom and Dad had a family conference, and it was decided that my grandparents would come and live at our family home. So Mom and Dad turned our garage into an incredible apartment for them and Mom became their caregiver. I was already in college, so not there to help any more.

We all loved having them! But it was more work for Mom. True to her nature, she never complained. I remember thinking how nice it would be for her to have some time off just for herself, but it never happened. She cared for them and my sister till they all passed away.
Mom Finally Got Honored for Her Service

In 1994 the United States dedicated a memorial to Women in the Military in Washington, D.C. and my Mother was invited to the ceremony!

This is when I found out that she was one of the first nurses accepted into the Army Nurse Corps. Both Mom and Dad always told me the other one was amazing, but it was not until they were both older that I learned what accomplished people they were. They were both very humble.

In all those years she never really talked about her time in the Army, but when she got invited to that ceremony, she was happier than I had seen her since my Grandparents died. She and Dad went to the ceremony and had a grand time, and we were all so proud of her!

She finally told me a little about her service and the terrible wounds and the toll war took on soldiers and their families. It turns out she was a career Nurse Officer, but of course, once she met my Father, she gave it up to go where he went. However, she was very patriotic and felt it her duty to help the sick and the servicemen which is why she voluteered for the Red Cross. The medal and the ceremony were very important to her.

Here is the front of the medal/coin issued by the U.S. Mint to honor the Women in the Military. Dad had it made into a necklace for her, and I have it, with her dogtags hanging on my mirror so I can see it every morning.
Here is the Reverse of the Medal/Coin

The coin is legal tender, but I could never part with it!

This side of the coin depicts the actual memorial in Washington, D.C.
Monet Print of Child in an Artist's Garden

~It Has Always Reminded Me of Her and I

Mom Loved to Read and Crochet

And Garden, and Collect Shells, and Rocks...

Sometimes when I think of her, I marvel at how much she influenced me! She loved to read; I love to read. She loved to sew and crochet; so do I. She collected shells and rocks; I do too. We both loved planting food and watching it grow. Sometimes I think we are twin souls.

In this picture of us in France, I am 6, and as in most of the pictures I have of her and us kids, she is holding my shoulders. I felt I was her favorite. She could read me like a book and seemed to understand whatever was going on with me, without explanation.

And it is because the things she most liked to do needed her vision that I think it is particularly cruel that fate took her vision in her later years. For the last few years of her life, Mom was almost blind and could no longer read. She could still crochet, and did, but it was slow going since she could not see her work, and sewing was out of the question because she could not see the needle. I was so sad for her! This woman who did nothing but give of herself her entire life was deprived of her favorite hobbies…

But at least when she was getting ready to leave us, she got to have us around her, and that was some comfort to her, for which I am grateful. We were all with her in that room, a morning I will never forget or get over.

Thank you Mom, for being my Mother!

Mother's Love 
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