Off The Press
May 5, 2009
By Bob Taylor
Even mothers who are gone are not forgotten
During my time on this planet, I have had some great mothers. There was Hilda, who gave birth to me and raised me during the pre-adult years. She left me with some outstanding values. Proud of her Finnish heritage, she instilled in me a love for my ancestors and relatives in the Scandinavian part of the world.She was also the family historian, often recounting stories about her parents and siblings on the farm. Some of the best stories, however, involved her.
For example, when she was 14, and the family needed a plough horse to work the fields, my mother hitchhiked more than 100 miles to Astoria, Ore., to get a horse that was for sale. She then rode the old horse all the way home. She was a welder in the shipyards during World War II and instilled in me a love for history with stories about those years.
I guess hearing her stories had an effect, because many friends and associates regard me as a storyteller.
More than anything, she loved farming and resided on the family farm for almost her entire life. I liked critters, but never developed her compassion for farm life. When I turned 17, she had to make a difficult decision — convince me to stay on the farm or let me go to college. With my father having passed away, running the farm by herself was going to be a big challenge.
However, she realized that my future was going to be in something like journalism and not Jerseys. With her blessing, off I went to college and became just the third person in her family to have that achievement. She was always proud of my accomplishment.
There was Vivian, a close friend of the family and always available to assist us when we were in a jam. Vivian was sort of my political godmother. A strong Democrat, she often praised former Washington Gov. Albert Rossellini, U.S. senators Scoop Jackson and Warren Magnuson, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose picture was on the dining room wall. She wanted me to grow up to be a strong Democrat. However, with my father a strong Republican, I took the middle road and became an Independent.
There was Jeanne, my mother-in-law and real godmother. Her piety became a tremendous influence on me. She prayed daily for family members and friends. Since battling cancer the past three years, I have discovered the value of strong daily prayer.
Jeanne, and her sister Mary, always came through when our family needed help. Once, when I had salmonella, Jeanne came up from Portland, Ore., and, using her training as a nurse, got me well again.
Hilda, Vivian and Jeanne have all passed away, but they are not forgotten.
One other special mom is my wife Pauline, my best friend. There isn’t enough space on this
page for all of her virtues. However, we’ll start with our son David.
When David was just 1 and diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Pauline was determined to give him a fighting chance. She read articles, medical journals and kept abreast of new therapies. She adapted a tricycle, so David could pedal around the neighborhood and, more important, get needed reciprocal motion.
She did physical and occupational therapy daily with him from the time David was little over a year old through his middle school years. Often, these workouts came after she had worked an eight- to 10-hour job.
David, a scholar in high school and college, walks with hand crutches today because of all of his mother’s hard work.
In recent years, Pauline has been there to help me in my battle with cancer. Last year, when I had a stem cell transplant, her care helped me get through the post-recovery period. She is an absolutely remarkable person.
The mothers in my life all understood the importance of sacrifice and love for their family like many mothers in the Issaquah area.
To all mothers, have a happy Mother’s Day.