This Mother's Day, The Lima News invited readers to share stories about their mothers' skills. Those stories, lighthearted to heartwarming, follow. Happy Mother's Day, all.
From Karen Meyer, Elida
For as long as I can remember, my mother’s skills as a seamstress have amazed me. The whir of Ruth Falter’s sewing machine signaled that she was either making clothes for us or something for our home or altering clothing for someone else. As a teenager, mother thought it best for me to learn to sew, but after attempts to teach me, she wisely decided to send me to the Singer store in downtown Lima for lessons. As I learned this skill, I understood her love of sewing and took advantage of mom’s stitching knowledge to get me out of my many sewing debacles!
As we grew up, mom’s focus moved from altering hand-me-downs to Barbie clothes to prom dresses and wedding attire. Soon we had families of our own and mom continued to sew for us, from home décor to sock monkeys for each grandchild.
Although mom is now 87 years old and uses a wheelchair, she always has a sewing project going, but quilting has become her passion. Her bright, sunny sewing room is her sanctuary where she creates quilts. Over the past seven years, Mom has constructed 20 quilts and other various quilted pieces. She has made bed-sized quilts for each of her six children and for 14 of her grandchildren (so far). Each quilt is uniquely designed to fit the personality of the recipient, with love and prayers stitched in. It is her way of giving a piece of herself to her family that will be treasured forever.
Now, through Mom’s guidance, I am learning the art of quilting. I know I will never be as talented as she, but as I listen to the whir of my sewing machine, I only hope I can carry on her legacy that is written in the language of quilts.
From Cindy McPheron, Lima
I have two wonderful moms to celebrate this Mother’s Day, my mom, Linda Reaman, and my mother-in-law, Dorothy McPheron.
Not only are they terrific cooks, they are the most caring mothers ever. I have seen them time and time again putting others before themselves. They perform their job as mothers (and grandmothers) with so much pride and they take these roles seriously.
Nothing is impossible for them when it comes to helping others. And age is definitely not a factor as to what they can or cannot do. I have watched in amazement at how they have cooked, cleaned, babysat, run errands, etc. You would think they would be exhausted, but let them hear that someone needs help in some way and they are right there to fulfill a need without hesitation.
And as much as I know that they have experienced their share of sadness and disappointment in life, it has never stopped them from always reaching out to others. Their children, grandchildren, spouses and neighbors have benefited from their care in so many ways. And they do it all with a mother’s perfect love.
I am so grateful to have these two wonderful women in my life. Happy Mother’s Day. I love you both.
From Jane Bollinger Adams
Florence Bollinger was just barely 5 feet tall (standing on a matchbook cover) and weighed right around 100 pounds, but when she sat down at that piano, she was a giant. As we called song titles to her, she would immediately play them start to finish. We usually sang along with her. If she did not know the song, she would say, “Hum a few bars.” She could listen to any song and play it on the piano or organ usually on the first try. Her little hands would fly over the keyboard and her little feet would keep rhythm on the pedals below. There were six of us kids, and we all had different likes and dislikes when it came to music. We liked everything from Elvis to “Wabash Cannonball.” My mother would happily oblige.
When I was a kid, I thought this was what every mother did in the afternoon and early evening — play the piano. I never really understood what a gift she had and shared with many people.
Later, she moved in with my younger brother. He related that Mom would sit at the dining room table and her little hands would go up and down the “keyboard.” Was she playing for her own mother and father or perhaps a higher being? Now that Mom is gone, I miss her playing my favorite songs, and laughing and singing along. She was not only a very talented and gifted musician to our immediate family, but was also a seamstress, bowler, golfer, friend to many and respected by all. I miss her tremendously and have always been very unhappy I did not inherit her talent. But, I can listen to a song and then sing it note for note. I think my mother would have liked that.
From Kathy Leffler
Our mother, Judy Kimble, left us unexpectedly two years ago. She had several amazing skills; her top two were cooking and listening.
She was the best cook, and she never measured anything. She made her own spaghetti and barbecue sauces. I remember the first time I tried to make the barbecue sauce. When I asked her how much of this and that, she replied you just have to taste it. With her meatloaf recipe, it was until it felt right: Just enough eggs that it was sticky, but not slimy. She also made a dish she called Glorified Pork Hash. Unfortunately she took that recipe with her. None of us five kids know exactly how she made it.
Then there was her listening skill. You could talk to her about anything. It didn’t matter if you were sad, angry or scared. When you were done, you always felt better and at peace. She never really told you what you should do. She’d just listen ‘til you figured it out. She would help you to find the bright side to every problem.
I believe that because of these and many other skills she had is why all of her children stayed close. We would all gather almost every Sunday at our parents’ house just to share her company and to enjoy a wonderful dinner. Even her grandchildren, when they got older, would come over.
She was and is by far the most amazing woman that we know. Her presence and her skills are deeply missed.
From Patsy Spring
Two of my 91-year-old mother’s unique talents and creations are “handkerchief mice” and crafts made from used greeting cards. Agnes Mattern learned how to fold handkerchiefs to make “mice” from her grandmother. Mom entertained the children who she babysat by making the mouse jump with a flick of her wrist. She has “scared” all of the employees at the nursing home where she resides and enjoys seeing their reaction. She had many old beautiful hankies which she folded and gave to her grandchildren (and great-grandchildren) as a lasting memento of her talent.
In addition to her mice, she made hundreds, if not thousands, of baskets and ornaments from used greeting cards and had hundreds of patterns for all of the sizes and shapes she designed. She made very small baskets (two inches square) to rather large baskets (one foot square) with four to 10 sides each. She glued the greeting cards to cardboard and then stitched around each side. After this, she stitched them together to form a basket. Unfortunately, her hands are too shaky and weak to make them anymore. I tried to make one of the flat ornaments, but was never able to finish it. I don’t think I could ever make them as perfect and meticulously as she did. They made a unique gift for friends, family members and teachers. People were amazed at her workmanship.
The handkerchief mice I can make, but I still don’t have the right “flick of the wrist” to make them jump like she does. One skill I did acquire from my mother is the gift of poetry. She is a published poet, and I am as well. My daughter has poetic talent as well, so maybe this is one talent we will carry on for many generations.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!
From Winona Rogers Brigode, Lima
My mother, Alice Brown Rogers, bore nine children. The first four were boys. Boys are rather rambunctious. When they were old enough, she taught them to knit. She said it was one way of getting them to sit still for awhile. She would knit sweaters for the soldiers, and the boys knitted a scarf to go with the sweaters. She also taught us girls to knit, crochet and embroider. All together, there were five boys and four girls.
From Margaret Lewis, Lima
Looking back, my mother’s most memorable talent was her skill with sewing. Betty Jane Wenzel never did it for money, but she surely did it to save money. Anything for the family or home that could be created with a needle and thread, she made. From the cradle through high school, she made almost all the clothes for her three daughters. It was a rare treat to have a “store-bought” outfit. Baby clothes, blankets, sweaters, hats and mittens were knitted by hand. Doilies, hats and scarves were crocheted. She embroidered pillowcases, and made drapes, pillows and slip covers when a room needed a make-over. I am not sure it even occurred to her to buy these things!
From Dee Davis, Lima
My mom, Alice Musser, was the best mom a kid could ask for. She grew up in a poor family. She had to quit school to take care of her brothers and sisters after her mom died at a very young age. That made her strong in spirit and life lessons.
There were four of us kids, and we were truly loved by her and my dad. She could go to the refrigerator and put a great meal on the table with leftovers.
She made homemade noodles that people raved about. When we grew up, we helped and she always made sure we had enough to put in the freezer. She made pies and cookies for my dad at least four or five days a week. She loved to fish and did so any time she had the chance. We lived on a small farm, and she worked in the fields and then came in the house and cooked a wonderful supper. She kept the house spotless. She loved to crochet and made lots of afghans and doilies. She would sit down and watch the Reds and hoop and holler. We were sure all the neighbors could hear her. She was so much fun. She had lots of friends. She went to church and believed in God. My dad died four months before they would have celebrated their 70th anniversary. Mom died 10 months after dad. She died of a broken heart. On Mother’s Day, I think of her, knowing that she is once again with my dad. That’s the greatest gift I could ever receive. Yes, we had the greatest mom ever, and we were so lucky. We all miss you so.
Your kids, Doris and Ted, May and Ted, Sharon and Larry and Bea.
From Michelle Wagner and Trina Wagner, Kalida
Our mother, Karen Trevino, has many skills we wish we could master as well as she has done, cooking, for one. Growing up, we can remember she always had a meal on the table. Lots of times there wasn’t much, but she always made something out of nothing. Gravy was and is one of her specialties. We have tried to master her recipe, but it definitely is not as good as hers. She has always said when you cook a little of your soul goes into the dish. We wholeheartedly believe that. As well as cooking skills, our mother is very good at sewing. She has made us many clothes, pillows, curtains, etc. And might we add, doing all the mending on an antique foot-powered Singer sewing machine, no less. It’s a skill in coordination that neither of us has mastered, none the less finished more than one straight-like seam.
Although skills are a good thing to teach your children and definitely a tradition to carry on, we feel there are more important qualities to show your children. Our mother has always been compassionate, giving and loving. Always giving of her time and herself. She would give the shirt off her back to someone in need and has done just that on more than one occasion. People often joke about looking in the mirror and seeing their mother looking back or saying things and sounding like their mother. When our time comes and we see or hear our mother in us, we are blessed to have her as a role model. God trusted her to nurture and care for us. So if we are like her, then we are on the right path.
From Cindy Hurley, Wapakoneta
My mom, Garline Powers, never had a mom to raise her and teach her skills. Her birth mother gave her children away to her mother to raise. My mom grew up poor in Kentucky often wondering if they would have enough food, so she learned early on to make do. My mom has taught me to make the best of every situation. She has the skill most often to see the good in people and that people make mistakes, but it’s what you learn from them. She has the skill to be a caring wife, mom, mamaw and mother-in-law all at the same time. She cooks great and makes whipping a meal up in minutes seem like nothing. She has been a caregiver for a husband with cancer, babysitter for her grandbabies every morning before going to the hospital, cooks for funeral dinners at church when needed and always willing to help anyone. She has the skill to try to make any problem better and to try to be a peacemaker. She has the skill to mend a broken heart. All this may seem like nothing, but she had no example of a mom growing up to learn any life skills. So, I thank God every day for her and her amazing skills because we all know moms can’t just have one skill. The best skill of all is to teach me how important prayer is and to put God first, and the rest will follow.
From Gail Eckler, Lima
As the seven of us trooped off the school bus and came in the back door, we were welcomed by the aroma of The Ol’ Yellow Cake. Ol’ Yellow could still be in the oven or resting on the kitchen table. It didn’t matter; we knew we could eat Ol’ Yellow. Often, we didn’t wait for icing. We just cut and ate Ol’ Yellow while she was still warm. If there were icing, it was usually chocolate made from the recipe on the Hershey’s can. The icing would have a mind of its own. The icing would be one of two ways. It could be so hard you could chip it off Ol’ Yellow or so runny that it ran off the cake. Ol’ Yellow was often a birthday cake decorated with used candles. The recipe for Ol’ Yellow was a pinch of this, a dash of that, a teacup of flour, eggs — one, two or three, depending on how the chickens produced. The milk was straight from the cow. Years later, my brother wanted the recipe for Ol’ Yellow. My sister searched the grease-stained cookbook stuffed with handwritten recipes, recipes torn from magazines and newspapers, but no recipe for Ol’ Yellow. Ol’ Yellow was always a staple in our house. Mother, Anna Mire Eckler, could whip up Ol’ Yellow in a matter of minutes. Sadly, mother died at age 50 and her 11 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren never got to experience Ol’ Yellow. When the seven of us gather, someone always mentions Ol’ Yellow. Now for the story about navy beans and cornmeal mush. On second thought, that story will have to wait for another time.
From Marilyn Delph
My mom’s name was Beatrice “Bea” Myers. She was Bea to her grandchildren whom she loved dearly. She died two years ago at age 94.
To name just one of her abilities or special skills would be impossible. She truly was gifted in so many ways.
Mom was not a seamstress at the sewing machine, but she was always mending broken toys, broken dreams or broken hearts. She was always quick to listen and not judge. She gave advice only when asked.
Growing up, there were five of us kids and Dad at her supper table every night. Many times, there would be a few extra friends or family dropping in for one of her wonderful home-cooked meals. Everyone was always welcome and had a place at our table. I think cooking was one of her greatest abilities. Not just cooking, but being able to put a healthy and really good meal together on a budget.
Dad worked very hard outside of the home, so Mom took charge over keeping the home going. She could make a very tight budget go forever. As a child, I never knew we were not wealthy. I thought I had everything. Mom and Dad were a good team.
Mom was happiest when helping someone. She was a good friend to many.
I hope I have learned a little part of all of Mom’s talents to carry through my life.
Thanks to Dad and Mom for giving me a wonderful childhood full of good memories to bring through to my adulthood.
From Kay Spallinger, Wapakoneta
My mom, Agnes Huddleston, has a busy life with raising six kids. Included in those duties were normal everyday things most moms do; cleaning, cooking, laundry, ironing, caring for pets, shopping, paying bills, running kids to games, etc.
But on the flip side, my mom did “man-type” work, including plumbing, roofing, yard work and repairs. Mom loved tackling “projects,” as she called them. I can still see her coming off the roof with tar in her hair and on her hands. If a drain clogged or leaked, Mom to the rescue. It might take her longer, but the job would get done.
She always had confidence in herself to do all these jobs, no matter how big. She also painted and built items out of wood. For many years, my sister and I would bring Christmas toys to Mom to put together. She has a knack for following directions and patience to complete the job.
My mom is 84 and slowing down, but still enjoys yard work and keeps her own home. We just have to keep ladders and wrenches away from her.
From Rose Taflinger, Lima
Agnes “Micki” Huddleston has so many skills that I will alphabetize them.
Accountant: Mom budgeted and handled the finances. Having only one income and six kids, it was not an easy skill.
Beautician: Mom cut all six kids’ hair and Dad’s. She also gave perms and colored aunts’ and grandmas’ hair.
Carpenter: Mom built gates, garage doors, laid carpet, installed new storm windows and put together all of my kids’ Christmas toys.
Chef: Mom made every food taste great. My fondest memory is eggs and bacon after Mass on Sunday and pot roast, potatoes and carrots for dinner.
Gardner: Mom would plant strawberries and other vegetables. She also mowed, raked and planted flowers.
Painter: Mom painted our two-story house, inside and out, several times.
Plumber: Mom took care of the clogged sinks, frozen pipes, installing new faucets and toilets.
Roofer: Mom would tar our flat roofs and put shingles on the other roofs.
Seamstress: Mom loves to sew. Sewing on buttons, taking care of rips and hems and crocheting afghans are her favorites.
Teacher: Mom was always there to help with homework or to assist on our science projects.
Through the years, I have grown to really appreciate all of my mom’s skills. There was never a project or job that she was afraid to try. She was her own boss and taught herself these skills.
Mom’s best skill is being the most loving, caring and supportive mom in the world.
Happy Mother’s Day! I love you!
From Dr. Ruhl E. Warden, DDS, Lima
My mother is Ova Burdell Warden. During her lifetime, beyond the duties of a wife and mother, she taught herself to be a crafter, carpenter, furniture maker and refinisher, tailor and seamstress, knitter, milliner, master gardener, veterinarian of sorts, roofer, house painter and piano player.
My mother was one of two girls in a large, poor farm family. She quit school after the eighth grade to work in a glove factory, where she learned to sew. She direly needed money for dental treatment.
As time went on, she became a wife and mother of two boys. The Depression caused many people to be industrious. My family couldn’t afford to buy toys; so while my father repaired cars and lawnmowers, mother made toys for my brother and me.
One example is a fishing game which I have saved. She made a pattern and cut out several “fish” from discarded metal once used for a heating system. She attached a small horseshoe-shaped magnet to a stick and string to complete the game.
She spent summer and fall cooking, canning and cold packing produce from our large garden. She also canned meat given to my father in exchange for his labor. She made sauerkraut using a large crock and a long handled homemade wooden stomper.
When my father’s favorite chair sagged, she took it apart, repaired it and reupholstered it. The finished chair looked very professional. That turning out well, she moved on to the couch.
Many times, I watched her go back and forth from the kitchen to the dining room while cooking and dressmaking at the same time. I can remember trying to peek while she was doing a fitting.
If my memory were better, I know I could think of many more of her accomplishments. There was no stopping her.
From Debra Krummrey, Alger
the photo is of her after swimming at Maple Crest
When I read “Wanted: Our mothers’ skills” I thought, easy. My mind raced back to my youth in the 1960s and my mother, Carrol Reichenbach, wearing a beautiful apron and preparing a batch of noodles. I remember the giant circles of dough drying on the kitchen table and wanting to touch them. Mom would quarter the dough, roll and cut out the noodles. My sisters and I loved the next part – separating the noodles by tossing them in the air. The end result was the best beef and noodles ever. Mom was an excellent baker, red velvet cake, German chocolate cake, coconut bars – all from scratch.
Fast forward 40-plus years. Mom is 88 years old and lives at Maple Crest in Bluffton. Her meals are served to her in a beautiful dining room. I have traded the beef and noodles for grilled chicken breasts, arugula and veggies, but the memories I can taste forever!
From Lisa Fillhart, Lima
I miss my mother, Marjorie “Honey” Kilgore every day. She went home to be with Jesus Dec. 25, 2003. She left an awesome legacy for her family, which was the gift of writing poetry. She loved to write anything from silly poems that would lift your spirit, to words that would reflect the national news. She always wanted to be able to have a book published of her poems and a children’s book that she wrote. It has been shared with many children but was not published. Here is one of her poems that she wrote for her mother, and I would like to honor her today by sharing with all the mothers that are reading this. She had such a great smile and loved to have fun. Please hug your mom today!
M-is for the memories that are a part of my life
O-is for the odyssey enjoyed by a mother and wife
T-is for the teardrops shed in sadness and joy
H-is for happiness that nothing can destroy
E-is for everything in this life that’s precious and good
R-is for realistic meaning the greatest gift from God truly is motherhood!
From Donnia Gould, Lima
My mother, Ruby Hopkins, was raised on a family farm in Tennessee with eight brothers and sisters. She shared the duties of the house with her mother and learned to clean, cook and maintain the home. She married at the age of 16 and came to Lima with my dad and became the wife, mother and domestic engineer of the Hopkins household.
We had a home where my brother and I felt safe and loved. We had a mother who dreamed “how to” things. One of the things she dreamed was how to crochet.
When I entered first grade, my mother began crocheting a bedspread. She said the house was so lonely and she needed to do something to keep busy in anticipation of the school day ending. I have that bedspread today, and it is still beautiful.
Mom has crocheted many things through the years. When my younger daughter was born, Mom crocheted booties because Anne’s feet were too small for socks! Our daughters wore lavender crocheted dresses for their baptism. When my son was born, he was brought home wrapped in his grandmother’s love. The last two years Mom has crocheted hats, booties and comfort squares given as gifts to new mothers at Lima Memorial Health System. Baby afghans, shawls, adult afghans, dish towels, pot scrubbers, pony-tail ties, lap throws, doilies and tablecloths make my mom’s dreams come true!
As for me, what is a crochet hook and thread? I can sew on a button if one falls off!
From Carolyn Jolliff, Lima
If I had to choose someone to idolize or have as a role model it would be my mom, Mona Cox.
She was married to her first and last love at the age of 17 and was married to him for 63 years before he died three years ago. For the two years before his death, she was his devoted caregiver. Whenever anyone would mention taking a break she would always say, “’Til death do us part, that’s what I vowed on our wedding day.”
She is the strongest woman I know. I’ve had some hard jobs in my life, but my mother’s job had to have been the hardest. She is the mother of 12, six girls and six boys. She is grandmother of 36, great-grandmother of 39 and a great-great-grandmother of one.
She was always a stay-at-home mom, always there for us when we got up in the morning and when we went to bed. Our homes were always kept very clean, and she made them very homey. She loved to move her furniture and change her curtains. She still does. I guess that is her thing. She is a great cook. She still puts her heart and love in her cooking.
She is 83 years old and still does what she wants when she wants. I thank God every day that He has allowed us to still have her with us.
So I hope I have watched her close enough through my life to have half the strength and dignity of this wonderful dear lady. She’s not just my mom but my best friend. Her devotion and love for her family is what she is all about.
Thanks Mom for everything! I love and respect you so very much. Happy Mother’s Day!
From Kathy Green
My mother, Rita Pierman, who will be 90 years old in October, is one amazing woman. She lives in Ottawa, where she grew up. When she was still in high school, her mother died. She worked as a secretary for a time. She wasn’t working out of the home very long, though, as she met her husband, George, and immediately became a farmer’s wife and mother.
Mom has always been a “can do” kind of person. As their new family grew, four babies in five years, she kept up a busy household and cooked for farmhands.
As the family continued to grow, they moved across the field and built a bigger home, where I live today. Her family continued to grow, with three more children. She balanced the budget and never really shared with us how tight things were.
Mom’s greatest was acceptance of her situation and making us have the best homelife one could ever have. We lived a carefree life, allowed to participate in any activity we could think of at school. We brought our friends home, knowing the house would be spotless and dinner on the table.
Her work was never done at home, but her other greatest skill was being a wonderful wife. Dad expected her to be ready to go out on the town at the end of the day, entertain at the drop of a hat and even take trips to Florida. She made dad happy though for the 53 years they shared.
As a widow, she never makes her children feel “obligated” to spend time with her. She keeps up with everyone’s affairs by telephone and never expects much help at all. She is very independent and manages all her own affairs well. I am very proud to say she’s my mom.
From Janice Gasser, Ottoville
We were a family of 11 who shared one bathroom, one kitchen table, one telephone, one television, and one magician — our mother, Marie Wurth Langhals. Mom could conjure up feasts replete with apple pies, hundreds of jars of canned fruit and homemade bread and cookies.
She gathered eggs, helped milk cows, planted her garden, hung out laundry. Yet beyond the chores of farm life, she could spin wonders with her sewing machine.
I can still recall tagging along with her to department stores where she’d turn over cuffs and collars of suits and jackets and run her hands over the ruffles of dresses. Then she’d page through McCall’s pattern books and home she’d go to the kitchen table to work. She designed quilted purses for legions of her daughters’ teenage friends before there was a Vera Bradley. She made suits for the nuns of our parish when the sisters retired their habits. After a final snip of a thread and flick of the fabric, our homecoming and bridesmaids’ dresses would appear. Every stitch precise. Every seam even. Every detail perfect.
She hunched over her Singer in the corner of our TV room, the whir of her machine competing with the laugh tracks of “Happy Days” and “I Love Lucy.” I can still hear her sewing at full throttle during commercial breaks. We would shush her when the show came back on, and she’d tame the sound to a hum.
In a few days my granddaughter will wear the delicate white eyelet and lace baptismal gown Mom created 34 years ago. Many of Mom’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren have worn it.
And when they wear it, they wear a testimony to her creativity and patience and love. And most of all, to her magic.
From Dawn Iiames, Lima
Strength is my mother’s skill. My mother, Barb Schroeder, has not only had to be a mother but a father also, since he died when I was very young. As many families, we had struggles that I see now has made me the person I am today.
Watching my mother’s strength in dealing with daily issues — teenage issues, health issues, repair issues — has taught me alot.
Now as an adult with adult children, her wisdom that she has to share not only helps me but all of my daughters, too. We never want to know what a Mother’s Day would be like with out Grandma Schroeder. She is such a strong person and gives such strength and guidance. We love her and want to honor her this Mother’s Day. Thank you, Mom, for your daily inspirations.
From Cindy Howe, Bluffton
This letter is to and about my mother, Janet Sue Gildemeister. The skills she had as a mother are still instilled in me. She taught me love, patience, integrity, morals and laughter. However, one particular skill she taught me was canning, and I’m so thankful for that. When I was younger, sure, I didn’t like to pick green beans before I could play. But to this day, I still have two gardens and preserve everything in them. I remember when I was 16 and my mom and I were canning peaches. I was waiting on two guys to show up for a double date. She made them wash their hands and help finish peeling the peaches before we could leave. I was so embarrassed, but now I laugh about it. Canning is becoming a lost art, and I’m so blessed that she taught me.
As you can see with her picture, she’s just as beautiful on the outside as on the inside. And even though she has passed on, I talk about her right now in the present tense because every time I’m in my gardens or canning in the kitchen, she is certainly with me. She still gives me guidance to this day.
I love you, Mommy. Happy Mother’s Day, and thank you.
From Annie Ketcham, Kalida
My mom, Ruth Vorst, is a jack-of-all-trades and master of many.
She has a way of solving almost every problematic situation. Mom can rewire lamps, replace electrical cords, replace furnace filters, cook, sew, babysit, console people in need, and make time for anyone who needs her advice or help.
She loves her family and always has time to listen to us and offers suggestions that may help. When the need presents itself medically, Mom is the best nurse you could ever hope for. She has no nursing degrees, but she possesses so much patience and compassion when dealing with people.
Mom is an excellent cook. In fact, my husband jokes that if we ever get a divorce, he “gets Ruthie in the settlement.”
There is nothing Mom cannot sew. She makes and alters clothes, curtains, doll clothes, baby clothes, and bridesmaids and wedding dresses. She repairs jeans, shirts, jackets, hems, seams, snowmobile suits, car seats, and even reupholsters furniture. Her sewing machine is always open and ready for use.
The talents Mom possesses that I envy most are crocheting and quilting skills. She has made quilts, afghans, and baby blankets for her kids, grandkids, great-grandkids and numerous friends. She crochets Ohio State, Harley Davidson and personalized afghans to fit each person’s personality.
Her quilting is absolutely beautiful. She quilts by hand. The stitches look marvelous to the naked eye, but she worries that the stitches might not be “perfect.” Her quilts are made with love, just like everything else she does. I may not have Mom’s quilting talents, but I thank God every day that I have been blessed with having her as my mom.
From Traci Kearns, Lima
I learned a great many wonderful things from my mother, Fran Carek, which I am happy to be able to use on nearly a daily basis — from cooking delicious, healthy meals and baking all my own bread, to knitting, a hobby I often turn to for relaxation. There is one thing, however, that I never picked up on and am still in awe of every time I think of it. My mother had an uncanny knack for rearranging furniture. Every once in a while, my siblings and I would come home from school to find one room or another totally rearranged. While we were gone, she would move every piece of furniture in the room by herself. What she would come up with was always so creative; it was like having a new room each time. I don’t know what brought on these changes. They would just randomly happen. And, they kept on happening.
I wish I had some of those creative skills to make some magical readjustment to my house. Sometimes I will walk into a room and wonder how the furniture could possibly fit into it in another way. Year after year the same boring arrangement remains, just as it was the day we moved in. I am sure my mother could have come up with many, many new ways to arrange it. I can just picture her moving my piano to the other side of the room without help from anyone and then putting each piece of furniture in its perfect new spot. The room would take on the new life she had intended for it. Unfortunately, that will never happen, but I can still look back on the days when it did happen and remember the feeling of newness it brought to the house.
From April Counts, Lima
“Hostess with the most-est.” That’s my mom, Jacqueline Cotner. She has the unique ability to make everyone feel welcome in her home. She has a quiet confidence in every dish she serves. I am amazed by these skills. Cooking for guests terrifies me. It’s on the same scale as watching Michael Myers wreak havoc in “Halloween.” She handles it all in stride, barely a glitch. Her only concern is if there will be enough, to which my Dad replies, “It will be if that’s all we have.” This seems to appease her.
How does she make the simplest things seem so impressive and unique? And whip them up at a moment’s notice? I have a stocked pantry and recipe book, but there’s no magic happening here. Every time I make special “treats,” I am met with jokes. Hockey pucks and door stops to name a few. She tells me I forgot to add the very secret ingredient: Love.
Mom hasn’t been well and looked tired as she asked my Dad what he wanted for his birthday dinner. She knew he would say ribs. It’s a tedious recipe involving sauce, hours cooking, making enough for twelve. She was looking peaked just thinking about it. I should offer to make the ribs. (Terror.) Should I say something? (Terror.) “Mom, I will do the ribs.” After all the usual protests, I had the job. I was patient. I meticulously made the sauce. I even set timers. I added love. When I took them to Dad, I said, “Do you think there’s enough?” He said, “It will be if that’s all we have.” As we sat down to eat, I prepared myself for the jokes. There weren’t any. I guess Mom was right. I just needed to add love.
From Jodi Addis, Lima
My mother, Diana Sprague, is an amazing woman who has taught me so many important things. My mother has been married to my dad for almost 48 years and still taught me how to be independent and make decisions for myself; she encouraged me not to just follow the crowd. I love that she is very creative and can find value in everything. I love that she is not afraid to swing a hammer or operate power tools. I love that even though we didn’t always have everything we wanted, she made sure that we had everything we needed. She always had the time to make a delicious dinner and still get us five kids wherever we needed to be – on time. Yet, the things that I admire the most are not really things at all; they are more like personality traits. I hope that I can be so lucky to have the ability to make people around me feel loved and be able to depend on me the way that she has always made the people around her feel. I hope that as time goes on, my kids and grandkids want to spend time with me just as much as my kids and I want to spend with her. There is not enough room on this page to express how much more I could learn from my mom. I couldn’t ask for a better mother and although I don’t spend as much time with mom as I want to, I am extremely thankful that she is still with me and I hope to have her for many more years to come. I love you, Mom.
From Koneta Campbell Vogt, Columbus Grove
Sewing is the skill I wish I would have learned from my mother, Janett Lee Campbell. Growing up in a family with two girls and two boys, the sewing machine was always out. The kitchen table had material laid out with a pattern pinned on it waiting to be cut out. She made gowns for Eastern Stars, clothes for a boutique in Columbus. She made my brother’s T-shirts for school. She made my wedding dress, winter coats, ponchos and capes. She sewed dresses for Christmas, Easter, and school dances. She made shorts, bell bottoms and hip hugger skirts with jackets to match, swimming suits for my sister and I — and the neighbor girls, too. Many mornings were spent with the sewing machine humming faster than the engine in a NASCAR race on Sunday. She would race to get the hem in an article of clothing before the school bus would pick us up. Everything was off the sewing machine and on one of us and out the door! Today I go to the store to buy something to wear and come home disappointed. I have an idea of something I would like to wear but color, style, or something just needs to be changed. I remember many nights spent in the fabric department picking out just the right pattern and material. Sometimes she would mix patterns to get just the right look. I miss the quality of the clothing of homemade and the love that went into each item. Now, I wish I had her skill of sewing and would have taken the time to learn. Every morning when I make our bed, I am reminded of the love of her sewing with the quilt that she made for us on her last Christmas with us.
From Rosemary Fitzgerald, Kenton
Upon my laundry room wall, hanging on a peg board, are my mother’s aprons. Her name was Cecelia M. Hood. In the late 1940s and until my mother died, I will always remember her with a clean starched bib apron and a handkerchief in the pocket. How I wish I would have paid attention more as to how that apron of long ago was an item of purpose, as well as the handkerchief in the pocket that wiped many noses and dried up the tears.
When going to the supermarket, all she had to do was untie those strings and go, as the dress underneath was spotless. If I wore an apron today, I would have less laundry and would not have to bother changing clothes when doing an errand here and there.
The many flowered and lace handkerchiefs are also in the pocket of her aprons that I have. They were also starched, a clean one every day. I would not be spending money on tissues if I had a cotton handkerchief tucked somewhere in my clothing. An apron pocket would be best.
The greatest memories of my mother are coming home from school, always finding her in our big farmhouse kitchen, standing over the stove making something, the apron tied neatly around her and a handkerchief in the pocket.
I have found that was a valuable time in life, when our mothers were home. I often think to myself, “Gosh!” If I only had an apron on, I could have taken my pies to the church and I would have been on time for that occasion, as I could just untie those strings and go. Memories are treasures, as my mother’s aprons and her handkerchiefs in the pocket bring me smiles and even make my eyes swim.