Reminiscing about moms for Mother’s Day

Martha Vayhinger receives her high school diploma from her mother who was the first woman elected to the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Board of Education. (Photo courtesy of Martha Vayhinger)

By Almeda Girod

Resident Writer

President Woodrow Wilson is usually seen as the “father” of Mother’s Day since he signed a proclamation on May 9, 1914, declaring the second Sunday of May for “a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.” The celebration celebrates not only the mother of the family but also motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.

Rich Geiger’s mother, Philomena, lived to be 96. She was pure Italian and “bled olive oil.” She cooked delicious ethnic meals for the family in South Philadelphia and was an expert seamstress making wedding gowns for sale as well as her sons’ suits. One day she told the sons, who were both well over six feet tall, that they would now be buying their suits since she could make two wedding dresses in less time and with less fabric than one suit for them.

Linda Wanner of Meadowbrook Square describes her mother as being “extraordinarily ordinary” as she went about performing her daily activities in their Baltimore community without fuss and feathers. “If the walls needed painting, she did it.” She taught Linda by example love, patience, and perseverance.

Gail Boger, who lives in Charles Terrace, recalls calling her mother to lament on her fiftieth birthday. Her mother commented “You think that you are old. Just wait until you are the mother of a 50-year-old!” Gail was reminded of this conversation recently when her younger son turned 50. All Gail could think was “ouch.”

Glenn and Yvonne Davis encouraged Glenn’s mother, Edith, to move to Riderwood and live near their Orchard Point apartment. The Hunter Glen apartment that Edith moved to in May is within eyesight of Glenn and Yvonne in Orchard Point. Glenn comments that his mother’s dog, Scottie, missed the fenced-in backyard on the farm in Delaware and needed “an alternate means of getting outside to heed Nature’s call.” He adds, “I became his walker, and as it turns out, my dog-walking gig delighted my doctor, who no longer nags me about getting enough exercise.”

Martha Vayhinger’s mother, Ruth, was bright and ambitious and President of her class at Wells College. She was the first woman elected to be on the Board of Education in Harrisburg, Pa., and presented Martha with her diploma when she graduated from high school.

Dave Williams of Garden View grew up in Kingston Mines, Illinois, a town with a population of only 300 people, where his father wor ked in the coal mines. His mother was “a visionary who loved art and literature,” and since there was no local library, she wrote to the Illinois State Library in Springfield to order books for Dave and his sister, Elaine. Dave, Elaine, and his mother spent many evenings “sitting at the kitchen table reading by the light of a single kerosene lamp.” Dave went on to become a professor of teacher education at the University of Maryland.

Hampton Square’s Mike Miller recalls his mother making the division of the Sunday roast chicken as it had been done on her family’s southern Wisconsin dairy farm. His Dad got his first choice of drumsticks, Mike the “second joint,” his brother the wings (and a little extra), and sister the white meat. His mother had the neck and back and insisted that she “liked them,” and it was only later that Mike (as many of us have done) recognized that his mother lovingly made a sacrifice for the good of her loved ones.

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