After we found ourselves laughing over the #OhMyDad stories recently featured on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” we decided to ask our readers for their #OhMyMom stories for Mother’s Day. As usual, our readers came through for us. We laughed and we cried; we think you will, too. Happy Mother’s Day.
When I was a child we took two big trips a year: Each summer we went to visit my mother’s hometown area, and our annual trip to the State Fair. One day at the Fair we continued walking around even though there was a very light drizzle. All of a sudden, my mother blurted out, “Oh, no!” The dampness had shrunk her nice navy blue pleat-skirted dress about five or six inches so her slip was very obviously hanging out below the hemline. We suggested she go to the car. Her answer was, “I can’t walk around looking like this!” So the rest of us continued our rounds of the exhibits while she hid in a dry corner. Once the dress dried it went down again — no more slip showing. This became an oft-repeated family story about my meticulously dressed mother. — Marilyn Zielke of Bruce, Wis.
My mom was a wonderful Southern cook and she could could bake anything to perfection. She had a sweet tooth like you wouldn’t believe. One year when I was living on campus at a nearby college, she was on Weight Watchers and had sworn off sugar until she dropped a few pesky pounds. I came back to my sorority house from class one day to find that one of my favorite treats had been left for me at the front desk. It was a big platter of beautiful, homemade caramel apples. This was before there were pre-made caramel dips. She wouldn’t have used that anyway. My dear mom had sat and unwrapped dozens and dozens of caramels to melt down to use with other ingredients to create that delicious apple coating, even though she couldn’t eat a one. That’s willpower and, most of all, that is LOVE! She was the best and I lost her too soon. he died of breast cancer at 58 when I was just 26. I’ll be 58 this year and it’s a strange feeling. I’ve lived more of my life without her than with her but she gave me so much love and care, it is ever-present with me and was more than enough to last a lifetime. Remembering my mom today and wishing all the wonderful moms out there a beautiful day! — Linda Leary of Burnsville
My mom, Jean Shinn, was in her eighties and some “older” friends called and told her Chippendales were appearing at Treasure Island. They said it would cost $50. I asked Mom if she was going and she said, “Why would I pay that kind of money to see two chipmunks (Chip and Dale)?” — Terri Peterson of Cottage Grove
We had our regular spot in church. We always entered the church from the side doors unless we were late. Then Mom insisted that we come in from the back but we always went to our spot in the front of the church. Her reasoning? She didn’t want us to be a distraction. All six of us parading from the back to the front of church! Not a distraction? Ha! I love you and miss you dearly mom! — Dave Gurney of St. Paul
Dad, my sister and I were impatiently waiting for Mom to come out of the motel room so that we could be on our way to the Grand Canyon. Mom always grabbed some of the complimentary tissues from motel rooms and put them up a sleeve for later. Finally, Mom emerged and could hardly walk, she was laughing so hard at herself. This was the 1960s and women often wore shorts jumpsuits with cuffs on the legs and arms. Mom had stuffed many tissues in every possible cuff on that jumpsuit. Mom loved to laugh! We didn’t think it was so funny and there was lots of eye rolling. This will be our first Mother’s Day without Mom. I wish we would have laughed with her that day. She was an incredible mother. — Karen Holine of Woodbury
Mother of six kids. Nurse. Cook. Ice skater. Gardener. Nature lover. Reader. Creative person. All of these and more describe my mom, Dottie Mealy.
I still don’t know how my mom did so much while we were growing up. She had some serious health problems and worked part time as a nurse. Even so, she’d encourage us in so many ways and lead by example. I remember the many, many meals she made … and the special foods like fried doughnuts and large batches of cookies, bars, cakes, pies. Yum. She even showed us how to make taffy and somehow kept us from getting tangled up with it. And she taught us to eat fruits and vegetables, buying large flats of peaches, plums, apricots, whatever she could find at a good price. And though I don’t remember her going sledding with us, she did have a big pot of hot chocolate waiting for us when we came back cold and wet.
I didn’t always share her tastes, though. Once when we were outside in the back yard, she pulled up a stalk of rhubarb and took a bite. I did the same and still remember how incredibly sour that was! My mouth puckers at the memory. I discovered rhubarb is best cooked with sugar.
She liked to be active, going for walks, figure skating (forwards and backwards!) and gardening. Lots of housework, too. At times, some of us would turn into couch potatoes, watching TV for hours: game shows, reruns, comedy shows, and others. If it was decent weather, eventually she’d shoo us outside and lock the door for awhile to get some peace and quiet.
We lived in a large, multi-level house and she’d keep an ear open for sounds of mayhem. Even while we were watching TV, little spats could pop up. Or boredom would inspire experimentation, such as when two of us were sitting in an old recliner. One person would start to rock back and forth. When both kids joined in long enough, the recliner would tip over with a big bang. My mom: “What’s going on down there?” Kids on the recliner with legs in the air, giggling: “Nothing!”
And oh, the creative projects! With her patient help and guidance, we’d decorate our trike wheels for the 4th of July and Memorial Day and ride around with great pride. She’d let us assist with the pumpkin carving and would come up with homemade costumes, if necessary. I remember many projects that involved glue, crayons and markers, glitter, paper, and colorful fuzzy pipe cleaners. Big mess, much fun. She looked after us in sickness and in health. Six kids passed around a lot of germs. She also took care of the usual childhood cuts, scrapes, and bumps. She mended our clothes and socks. When necessary, she’d take us on shopping expeditions, including to a favorite secondhand shop and a big annual church rummage sale.
Related Articles Review: SPCO is going for the old stuff, but spiritedly so ‘The Sun is Also a Star’ aesthetically shines, but it’s dimmed by dialogue ‘Game of Thrones’ prophecies and visions: What’s still in play? Potatoes — stuffed, roasted, pan-fried, piled on buns — star in Indian cooking A tale of resilience closes new artistic director’s first season with Ten Thousand Things She read to us for endless hours and let us buy books from school. She helped me learn to enjoy reading, which I still do. She tried many times to help me learn math, which I still don’t do well. She was a storyteller, sharing anecdotes about growing up in her family. It was hard to imagine the adults we knew as small children. We loved hearing about ourselves, too, especially back from when we were too little to remember what we said or did. She also listened to our thoughts and stories, and cheered us on at the swimming pool. She sang, laughed often, and taught us how to do April Fool’s jokes. Hugs and kisses were shared on a daily basis. She is an incredible mother and an amazing person. Thanks, Mom! — Jeanne Mealy of St. Paul
When my mom, Margaret Gebert, was in her eighties, she went to the chiropractor for her sore back. He said, “Margaret, I’m going to pull your leg now.” She replied, “OK, but just don’t pull my finger.” — Janet Llerandi of St. Paul
While attending the graveside service for my Uncle Jack some years ago, my mom was standing next to her other brother when she uttered, “Well, Lee, it’s just you and me left — and you ain’t looking so good!” — Jacky Anderson of Siren, Wis.
My mom, Jo Pedersen, worked for years as a public health nurse for Ramsey County after working with my dad as Lutheran missionaries in Southeast Asia in the 1960s. She now lives in Roseville. It was difficult to pick just one story involving my mom (there are so many), but here’s a little gem people might enjoy: My mom is the most capable person I know. She’d tackle any challenge, enthusiastic and undaunted, and we never quite knew what she would do next. During my senior year of high school, she decided our house needed a deck. So, of course, she built one. After all, she said, “How hard could it be?” After sketching a rough design in her notebook, the lumber was delivered and our deck was in full swing.
Mom was a nurse, not a carpenter, so she didn’t have a chop saw. Instead, her first deck was built with a skill saw, hammer and nails, and a lot of hard work. It was a family affair, with myself and my two younger brothers helping out. And before we knew it, our back yard included a beautiful deck in an octagon shape, with steps leading to the back and side yards.
On a weekend break from Gustavus Adolphus College, I brought a college friend to my house, quite proud to show her the new deck my mom built. When we arrived, I found the kitchen in a shambles. An old pink blanket was stapled over a huge hole in the side of the kitchen leading to the deck, blowing in the rain. Turns out, Mom decided to install a sliding glass door and we had arrived midway through the process. Fortunately, there was no wiring in the wall when she cut the hole with her trusty skill saw. We enjoyed that deck — and sliding door — for years to come. But from then on, I always called first before bringing friends home! — Karen Travis of Eden Prairie
I grew up in Galesville, a small Wisconsin town where everyone knows everyone. One hot afternoon me, my two sisters and Mom stopped at the busy local bar for a cold one after a fun day of shopping. Mom walked over to the jukebox to play a couple of songs. The first song was playing as she came back to sit with us at the bar. Then the second song started to play. It was a Jimmy Buffet song, “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw.” The look on my mom’s face was priceless. She was absolutely mortified! Apparently she hit the wrong number on the jukebox. She looked at us girls and said, “Drink up, we’re outta here.” I don’t think she ever set foot in that bar again! — Tami Mehlhorn of White Bear Lake
My mom, Lorraine Grayson, was born in St Paul in 1923. She loved to read, and like many women of her generation, was a high school graduate. She worked as a fashion model before, during and after World War II (mostly in St. Paul at the old Emporium). She was a voracious reader and when she died unexpectedly in 1986, she had a pile of unread library books that loomed large in the living room. I was a third-year medical student doing an obstetrics rotation at HCMC (Hennepin County Medical Center) in 1985 when mom had the hospital operator page me one morning. Our brief conversation went something like this: “Jan, your dad woke up with a droopy eyelid this morning, do you think he could have myasthenia gravis?” (This is an autoimmune neurologic disease which causes weakness.) With what was not a promising start to my career as a medical diagnostician, l replied, “Nah, it must be something else.” Two months later, after multiple medical appointments and tests, my dad’s doctors pronounced that he did, indeed, have myasthenia gravis. To this day, after 30 years of working as a physician, this story never ceases to amaze my fellow physicians — and humble me! — Janet Grayson, M.D., of St. Paul
My mom was in her eighties and I always put fresh sheets on her bed. One day, I took the sheets home and hung them outside to dry. She told me when she got into her bed, “Those sheets felt so good, it was better than sex any day!” She was a joy to be with; I miss her. — Mary Lou Domagall of Centerville
My mom has always had a funny, mischievous side. As a pre-teen growing up in Minneapolis during World War II, she and her friends would stand on the side of a building and yell to the soldiers walking the streets, “Hubba hubba ding ding, you have everything.” Then the girls would giggle and run away.
When I was growing up, my mom always joked that my dad never noticed when she got her hair cut, permed or colored. Shortly after I began dating my husband, Curt, my mom sat at the dinner table wearing a yellow mop on her head like a wig. My dad sat across the table from her and never acknowledged the mop. Mom and I were laughing hysterically throughout the meal. As we were still sitting at the table, Curt showed up at the door for our date. Mom asked me, “Should I take this off?” I told her no, he would have to get to know us eventually. When I answered the door, Curt was wearing a dress shoe and an athletic shoe because, “You didn’t tell me what we were doing.” I brought him to the dining room table and there is Mom wearing a mop and Curt wearing two different shoes. I knew then he would fit into my family.
A few years later, Curt and I accompanied my parents to California for my aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary party. My mom came up with the idea to do an Ole and Lena-style presentation for the happy couple. As noted above, my dad is truly the straight man to my mom’s comedian. She had my dad wearing a goofy looking winter hat and the presentation went on for several minutes. A little while later I stopped by the table where my mother was sitting and she introduced me to person sitting next to her who quickly asked me, “Do you get embarrassed by your mom?” My response was an honest, “Not anymore.” — Leslie Pannkuk Nienkark of Farmington
At the age of 94, our Boston-born mother, Marguerite Rheinberger, had become one of the world’s oldest — if not the oldest — Delta Platinum (75,000+ yearly miles) Medallion members. One time when she was seated in first class, my well-known globetrotter brother, John Rheinberger of Stillwater, who was seated way back in the main cabin, walked by her and seeking her attention twice said, “Hi, Mom!” There was no response. I looked over at her and she was looking straight ahead with her nose tilted up as if she were too uppity to respond. I said, “John just walked by and you didn’t say anything.” She responded, “I know he did, but rank has its privileges and I’m enjoying this privilege!” — Margot Rheinberger of Stillwater
My beloved mom was a stitch! She had a very creative way of getting her six children to pick up their clothes from the floor. She had her sewing machine upstairs near the bedrooms. Her rule was that if she found clothes on the floor the arms and legs would be sewn shut! Funny how we quickly chose to hang them (or stuff them in a drawer) rather than to be stuck using the seam ripper to take all those stitches out! She passed away at 93 years just over a year ago and we all love her and miss her (and her crazy ways!). — Marsha Kieffer of Eagan
My mom was born in 1917. She never learned to drive (or ride a bike for that matter), so when we were little my dad did the grocery shopping every Saturday. After we all grew up, she would occasionally go to the grocery store with Dad. It must have seemed like Disneyland to her! On one trip my dad turned around to see my mom munching happily away on a full-size cupcake. He was mortified. “Where did you get that?” he asked. My mom very innocently said, “I thought it was a sample.” I’m sure he walked as fast as he could to go pay for that cupcake! My siblings and I howl with laughter every time we tell that story … she’s been gone for almost 19 years. I sure do miss her! — Mary Will of White Bear Lake
Growing up on a farm in north-central Minnesota, there were plenty of chores to do. One summer, my mother, Irma, often asked my siblings and my father for help weed her raspberry patch. We always found some other task to complete and left mom to clean the prickly plants by herself. For dinner one night in August, we enjoyed much produce from the garden: fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and onions; parsley buttered potatoes; and corn on the cob. We were most excited for dessert, which was to be fresh raspberry pie! As we cleared the dinner dishes and made way for dessert, mom started telling the story of the Little Red Hen. The moral of the story was made all too clear when mom sat a tiny sliver of pie before each of us — and ate the rest of the pie herself, drawing out her enjoyment of every last bite! Touché, Mom. Point well taken and remembered some 40 years later! — Shelley Novotny of St. Paul
Related Articles Donna Erickson: It’s lemonade-stand season Sky Watch: Things to keep in mind when using a telescope (like don’t look at the sun) Blundering Gardener: Flowering and leafing out don’t always go hand in hand Can toilet attachments make bidets mainstream in the U.S.? Donna Erickson: Organizing spaces for kids I grew up in the mid-’40s and ’50’s and canning of nature’s bounty was a summer priority in our home in Cumberland, Wis. At the peak of wild blueberry season, my mom would hunt up her pails, pack a lunch, round up my sister and me and then catch the morning train to Hayward. We walked into the woods and picked wild blueberries. It was hot and buggy, but there was nothing else to do so we picked all day. When we caught the train home our pails were full. We cleaned the berries that evening and the next day Mom canned them. Our day in the woods yielded homemade sugar crusted blueberry pies for the next year. Although I didn’t appreciate the outing at the time, it is now one of my favorite childhood memories. — Ethel Anderson of Cumberland, Wis.
On several occasions while driving with my mom, the Doors song “Love Me Two Times” would come on the radio, and instead of singing, “Two times, girl,” she would sing “Shoeshine girl.” My mom passed away over three years ago and till this day I still smile when I hear that song. I’m so glad I never corrected her. — Thomas Mandell of St. Paul
The story about my mother involves the island of Oahu and a celebrity sighting: My parents decided to pay for either a big wedding or a destination honeymoon for my new fiance and me. We were “all in” for an exotic honeymoon — and the place we chose was Hawaii! Our nuptials took place in Minnesota in 1979 (hint for the celebrity sighting!).
My fiance thought it would be amusing and perhaps polite to invite my parents on our honeymoon, and they actually decided to accompany us. I was less enamored with the idea — even though I love my parents.
As it turned out, we (thankfully) had to be in separate hotels as they booked their hotel later. My new husband, my parents and I were driving past the docks near the Air Force base on Oahu in our rental car when suddenly at a stoplight, my mother unexpectedly bolted out of the car and began running down a dock. My husband said, “Follow her!” as the light changed. So I did!
By the time the burly security person practically wrestled my petite mother to the ground, I saw what my mother so astutely saw: It was actor Tom Selleck filming an episode of “Magnum, P.I.” (remember, it is 1979)! As my mother was forcefully dragged away from actually reaching Tom, she cried out, “We love you, Tom!” I, of course, was mortified and took immediate control of her from the security guard.
When my husband and father had circled back to the docks, my dad was not at all surprised. He said, “Your mother watches ‘Magnum, P.I.’ all the time. She hoped she’d see him here!”
Of course, that became the source of much ribbing from our friends — that we took my parents on our honeymoon — but it was the highlight! — Ann Mattson of Cottage Grove
We lost our mom over a year ago. I think the times we feel the loss of my mom the most is when there is a family-centered social occasion, Christmas, a baby shower, an anniversary party. Mom would never have missed a party, and when she got there, she enjoyed every single thing about it: “Your table was decorated fabulously … your food was incredible … your package is wrapped so beautiful … your grandchildren are adorable — they say and do the cutest things.” Mom was everyone’s biggest cheerleader, but not just for one team — Mom cheered everyone on. Friends, cousins, neighbors, every social occasion, Mom enjoyed it thoroughly and enjoyed telling about it afterward.
There is a big hole now at social occasions that used to be filled by Ruthe. “Where is Mom at this party?!” is the question now. She wasn’t the life of the party — Mom was the researcher for her own social column that never found anything lacking (Mom would have been a perfect fit for one of those old-time social columns where every detail was included: “The bridesmaids wore lilac tulle and carried baskets of silver roses,” that type of thing). As I set my table for this Easter celebration, I think of Mom’s empty chair and the words my niece said about my mom, “Now there is no one to impress” — and we nodded because we knew what she meant: Who is going to admire all the work you went to and every special touch you put into entertaining like Mom would?
If one of the grandkids said or did something cute, it was relayed to every member of the family. Sometimes twice. Mom loved Facebook because she could get daily pictures of what the kids and grandkids and great-grandkids were doing. The only time Mom would ask for help with ANYTHING is if you happened to stop at her house and she had somehow lost Facebook on her screen. I can’t even say how sad it was after her death to see her computer sitting there.
I visited Mom’s grave last Mother’s Day. There was a whole lot of love left there: a floral wreath with fairies on it, several flowers with solar lights inside that light up at night, a statue of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. Mom would have loved it all — she loved fairies and flowers (solar and regular), dishes and Victorian things, dolls and statues. She loved clothes with lace and crocheted clothes. She was the easiest person in the world to buy a gift for.
Mom loved manicures and pedicures and massages and I will NEVER, EVER forget that one of the most scariest things I’ve done in my life was the trip up the cliffside in a bus, to a spa and hot springs in Costa Rica that literally had Mom and I freaking out that we would go over the cliff, but when we got there, Mom had the most fantastic massage of her life … so it was all good for her. On the way back, I was still freaking out, and Mom was completely relaxed and couldn’t believe that was the best massage of her life. I’m sure she would have made that horrible nail-biting trip up a cliff once again, to get that massage.
Writing this with tears in my eyes and missing my funny, social, cheerleader mom, Ruthe Perron, on Mother’s Day (and every day). — Rebecca Quick of Mendota Heights
Mom is in the front seat, next to Dad. I’m in the backseat with my younger sister. Dad had earlier in the day taught me the birds and the bees, and I thought he said that he planted the seed in a hole in her leg. (I assumed the hole was somewhere between her knee and her foot.)
My mother, Helen, deserves special recognition on Mother’s Day because she kept her pleasant disposition “in spite of it all.” She was only 6 years old when her father was struck and killed by a train. She was put in an orphanage. All her four children ever heard about that experience is how a much-older sister impersonated her mother and rescued her from the orphanage. Mom only had an eighth-grade education, but was better read than most of the college graduates I know. She took seriously the old adage, “You’re no better than the books you read.” She went to work at age 13 armed with little more than her religious faith and the pious platitudes of her mother like, “Start every day by getting God’s blessing.” As a young girl she found a paper bag full of money and turned it over to her mother who put an add in the “lost & found” column of the Pioneer Press. When the owners claimed it, they gave a $5 reward, which Mom’s mother used to purchase a year’s worth of piano lessons for her daughter. Mom was deeply disappointed she couldn’t spend the money on a new dress, but dutifully learned to play the piano, a skill she learned to love and display the rest of her life. She became a piano accompanist at silent films at the movie theater in Bayport, Minn., and in later years played songs for senior citizens.
When Dad died at age 53, she had to go to work to support herself and the two children still at home. As a young woman, she couldn’t get life insurance because of a heart condition, she had to wear hearing aids, had arthritis and high blood pressure, and had her share of illnesses and surgeries, including cancer. She had a lifetime sense of humor and would greet us at the door with a hearty “Gloria in excelsis Deo” to which we would have to reply, “Et in terra pax hominibus.” She had lots of advice for her adult children, like “Never work for anyone poorer than yourself.” She used her senior citizen discounts like they were gifts from on high. She was a fashion model until well into her fifties. She stood tall until one week before her death from a stroke at nearly 98 years of age. She had outlived everyone in her family of origin and all who had attended her wedding.
Related Articles Review: SPCO is going for the old stuff, but spiritedly so ‘The Sun is Also a Star’ aesthetically shines, but it’s dimmed by dialogue ‘Game of Thrones’ prophecies and visions: What’s still in play? Potatoes — stuffed, roasted, pan-fried, piled on buns — star in Indian cooking A tale of resilience closes new artistic director’s first season with Ten Thousand Things Well, like Mom used to say, “No one’s perfect,” so I’ll mention some of her faults to put her in proper perspective. She smoked cigarettes and she had a drink every day at 4 p.m. — until she quit because she thought she might become an alcoholic! And she lost or discarded the recipe for her double chocolate cake, which we all would give our eye teeth to find. Despite her imperfections, Mom deserves special recognition on Mom’s day. — William Klett of Arden Hills
Post time: May-17-2019