My mom died on Monday. This is not as tragic as you may think. After all, she was 92. The tragedy is that she spent the last several years in the haze of Alzheimer’s. She lived here until, after breaking a hip and losing a lot more mental capacity, I couldn’t care for her. For the last year and a half she lived at a place called Summerfield House in Vacaville. The following is part of a thank you letter that I wrote to the care-givers at Summerfield. I thought I’d share it before I go on with the usual ramblings of my blog.
I wish that you could have known Mom before she moved to Summerfield. She was one of the first women in the Army—the WAC’s—during WWII. She was always very proud of that service. After she moved to Summerfield I found letters that she wrote to her parents while in the service and letters to her from her Mom. My daughter and I have been transcribing them because they are a fascinating insight into what was going on in the lives of everyday people back then. I think they are worthy of a book.
Mom married a University of California professor, my Dad, was divorced when that was quite a difficult situation for a woman to be in, and raised my brother and me. We moved to a couple of acres in Sonoma County and my brother and I raised a variety of animals—horse, cows, sheep, pigs, etc—thanks go to Mom for letting us venture in to all of that when she had absolutely no experience with any of it. She developed her skill at pottery, taught pottery classes, and sold pottery at her Pot Shop on the property. She had quite a following of potters and other crafts-people.
Mom retired from pottery when Dave and I went to college and she moved to Healdsburg. She took up spinning and weaving (she had always been a wonderful knitter) and finally had time to tackle all the old family papers and photos that we had stored for years. She wrote three books about her ancestors, researching additional documentation of all the names and dates and places. Mom’s great grandparents were pioneers who settled in the Stockton area and her grandmother was born in a log cabin on banks of the Stanislaus River so there is a lot of interesting history. Mom meant to write a fourth book to finish up the stories of all her ancestors, but Alzheimer’s overtook her before she could work on that.