Nothing But Good Thoughts Remembering Mom

A Boomer’s Journal:

By Tom Anselm

“M” is for the many things she gave me.”  Remember that song from days of yesteryear?

With Mother’s Day on this weekend’s agenda, it might do well to consider this song and its true message. More on that later.

I consider myself the luckiest guy guy on the face face of the earth earth (Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig in Pride of the Yankees… Google it) as I have been so blessed in the “mom” department with a great mother-in-law in Joanie Koeller and of course me own sainted mum, Evelyn Marie Rohrbacker Anselm. She was a kind-hearted and faith-filled woman who loved to sing and whistle and play catch in the backyard with her three sons.

As a post WWII bride, she did her part to bring about the Baby Boomer generation.  She did lose one pregnancy to miscarriage.  You know, I don’t think about that enough. Maybe I have a sister in Heaven?   But as usual, I digress.

Ev, as Dad called her, never saw the need to learn to drive a car.  Well, check that.  Good old Emil took her out several times, but with he not being a paragon of patience, she usually ended up slamming the car door in tears and telling him “the hell with it.”  Still, she always carried a driver’s license, since back in them-there days they gave them out like the cherry suckers we got at Dr. Ebel’s office after our shots.

I don’t believe she ever worked outside the home after marrying, although she often spoke with pride of her earlier jobs with American Auto Insurance and Frisco Railroad.  Not unlike many women of that time, the June Cleaver lifestyle suited her well.  The huge upside to us boys was that mom was always home when we walked in from school or playing ball at the local Baptist Church lot, dinner was always cooking, and summer lunches found us at the drop-leaf  kitchen table with a plastic plate of fried baloney, Old Vienna potato chips and tumblers of near-frozen grape Kool-Aid.

Mom had a generally sunny outlook on life.  This countered well with Dad’s sometimes skeptical view.  They were occasionally the Bickersons, but deep down, their love was real.  I remember one time walking into the living room and seeing Dad quietly crying when mom was very sick at home.  He quickly tried to cover it up, but it left an impression to this day.

As they aged, and raising boys was mostly behind them, (really, my brothers and I were pretty good kids, all things considered) they grew more into pals, companions in pursuit of travel and lunches with friends.  With Dad’s Southwestern Bell job and subsequent good pension, along with a frugality borne by a Depression-era childhood, they were able to have some fun in their Golden Years.  After Dad’s passing, Ev moved into an apartment at Our Lady of Life in Shrewsbury.  Properly named, this living arrangement gave her many new experiences.  Easy-going as she was, she made friends quickly, went to “the Boats” (I never did get how a lady so holy could love gambling so much), and was almost like a “senior sorority girl”.  And good for her, we all said.

So back to that song. “O” is for the Other things she gave me. “T” is for the Thousand things she gave me. “H” is for the Hundred’s of things she gave me.  “E” is for Everything she gave me. And “R” is for the Rest of the things she gave me.

But enough of that silliness.  Mom gave me herself, her life, and most of all, her love. Everything, she gave me.

I thank The Big Family Planner in the Sky for her, and a wife who embodies all those wonderful traits of self-lessness and generosity as well. Put them all together, they spell “Mother”, a word that means the world to me.


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