Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

This is my beautiful mom. I'm guessing she was in her late twenties or early thirties. Can you imagine going out to some rustic place like this, Yosemite I think, and wearing a dress, silk stockings and a matching purse? Wow! Today is my mom's birthday. She'd be 86 today if she was alive. She passed away in 2001, a week after she turned 78. It was a VERY sad day for me. So for a tribute today, I'm going to tell all of you a little about her. She was born September 22, 1923 in North Dakota and named Donna Geraldine Schonberger. I can tell you, she always hated the name Geraldine and most of the time would only use the abbreviation G. She was the oldest girl, 3rd child of 6. Her father, George Schonberger was a farmer and her mother, Alice Viola Baker Schonberger, had been a schoolteacher. There were 6 children in her family. In order: Kent George Schonberger, Claude Schonberger, Donna Geraldine Schonberger Geske, Darlene Schonberger Moody, Fern Schonberger Crane and Verlyn Schonberger Larson.

George and Alice Schonberger

Her life was mostly fun growing up on the farm but they were pretty poor and I can remember her saying she used cardboard in her shoes when the soles developed holes. And she would stuff newspaper between her coat and body for extra added warmth. Approximately 10 years after she was born the Great Depression hit and it was rough. Her grandma would sew clothes for her and remake clothes from some of her mother's things. She loved school and excelled in many subjects and when she graduated from High School, she could hardly wait to go to secretarial school. Once she graduated from school, she went to Washington D.C. to work for her State Senator. I KNOW these were some of her most cherished years. She has many, many pictures of her and her friends all around Washington D.C. They roomed together to save money and worked together and she had numerous matching outfits complete with shoes, hats, dress and purse. It was in Washington D.C that she met my father. He was in the Navy and also in Washington D.C. at that time. On a cold wintry night she was walking down an icy, snowy path with boots with little bells on them and he drove up in his car and asked her if she wanted a ride. She would not have taken a ride from just anyone but she had known my dad from her home town and said yes. Oh, let me tell you! He was a handsome man often compared to Clark Gable.

I'm the baby, then Dad and my sister, Lana

It wasn't long before they were married, Dec. 10, 1945. He actually sold his car to buy her wedding ring. Mom was a very petite little gal when they married and said she was so in love those first few years that she put on 30 lbs. My sister Lana came along in 1952. Oh, she was the apple of both of their eyes! Such a beauty with dark hair and hazel eyes. There are literally 100's of pictures of her as a baby.

Dad with baby Lana

Mom and Lana

I followed shortly after in 1957 and my younger sister, Lynn in 1961. Mom always made sure we were dressed in cute little outfits and had plenty to eat. And most every Sunday found us in Sunday School and church making sure our souls were right too. Christmas' were always bountiful and many birthday parties were thrown over the years. When I was about 6, my mom went back to work so we could be provided for. Even being a working mom, she was involved with PTA, made sure we made it to Girl Scouts, Band, and swimming over the summer. We were very blessed. We made her very happy and as we grew up, married and had kids of our own, she would always proudly introduce us to her friends and neighbors. Even when we all left home, she would eagerly await our visits, making our favorite foods, playing with the kids and accomodating us at her house. When my dad passed away, she began a new phase of her life as a single person again. This was devastating to her. She was lonely, sad, needy at times and her health went downhill. And yet, she was always there to help her friends by giving them rides, participating in Church activities and making herself available for her grandkids activities. When my sister passed away in February of 2001, I think deep inside mom, her life began to collapse. Can you imagine the level of pain involved in losing a child? By July, she came to live with me. Her Driver's License had been taken away, her home had become a cluttered nightmare and her money seemed like there was only enough to just cover the medications she was on. We had good times before she passed away and my kids had the chance to really get to know her. Maybe she knew how sick she really was, maybe she had been given a diagnosis by her Dr., I really don't know. Her death came as a complete shock to me. We spent her last birthday in the hospital and it was on that date the Drs. took me aside and told me she should be put on Hospice. That usually means everything that can be done has been done and now you need to go home and enjoy what time you have left. I was thinking months not days. I had no idea that she would be gone in a week. I miss you mom.... so much! You were the best mom and I'm proud to say you were mine too. I wish you were here today so I could wish you a Happy Birthday in person, to give you one more hug and kiss and spend the day with you. You are never far from my thoughts, both you and dad, and even though I'm where I belong today, I can't wait to see you again.

A Sonnet for My Incomparable Mother

I often contemplate my childhood, Mom.
I am a mother now, and so I know
Hard work is mixed together with the fun;
You learned that when you raised me long ago.
I think of all the things you gave to me:
Sacrifice, devotion, love and tears,
Your heart, your mind, your energy and soul--
All these you spent on me throughout the years.
You loved me with a never-failing love
You gave me strength and sweet security,
And then you did the hardest thing of all:
You let me separate and set me free.
Every day, I try my best to be
A mother like the mom you were to me.
By Joanna Fuchs

I wonder what the occasion was. She had on a corsage.

Wow, a pretty formal gown!

I'm pretty sure this is my mom and dad on their wedding day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Moms...what would we do without them?

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