Thanks to Mom: Happy Mother’s Day

As a single parent, my grandmother both worked and raised my mom. She went back to school in her later years to get her master’s degree so that she could advance in her career. She worked well into her 60’s and volunteered for another 15 years. She was a cool grandmother and was full of life lessons. She encouraged me to smoke at age 10. There was lots of coughing. She told me that if I’d liked to cough, I could keep smoking. That was the last time I lit up.  I learned to appreciate the value of working hard, being educated and staying away from tobacco all  from Emily Ione.

Now, Patricia Frances, my mom, was a Domestic Engineer. She had a career; she had me and then she found ways to entertain herself as a “stay-at-home” mother in the 60’s. I was never so embarrassed as when she started handing out her business card that told the world, she really was a “Domestic Engineer.” Warrior Pat defended the Democrats, went back for her AA degree, and volunteered at the hospital all after I grew up. She recognized the value of making time for herself while being a work-at-home mom.  She did community theater, volunteered and bowled in a league to get herself some “me” time.  I learned the value of education and balancing care of the family with care for yourself from Pat.

Of course there was Aunt Audrey.  First female special agent for Wells Fargo Bank. Going after embezzlers and bad guys. Another working mother who raised an exceptional daughter and worked 62 years for Wells Fargo.  Well known in our family for both her work ethic and stellar dinner parties, Audrey was one tough lady. She routinely rode the bus in San Francisco and traversed the hilly streets wearing high heels. I learned the value of working your way up and putting your heart in your career from Aunt Audrey. Also worth a mention is appreciating the value of good food and strong coffee.

Aunt Clemmie was all around tough and gutsy. She had too much wine one night and tried to convince me that a glassful of asparagus cooking water was milk.  I’ll cut her some slack. She never actually had kids, so maybe she just didn’t know the difference. Aunt Clemmie was the first in her family to attend college. After graduation, she became a union organizer, a Communist and in her later life, lobbied to integrate housing in Marin County, California. I’ll always remember her zipping around in her VW Bug.  She was 6 feet tall and took up the entire front seat.  Again, I learned that education gets you places and you need to stand up for what’s right. Cheers, Aunt Clemmie!

Sending a special Mother’s Day thanks to mom and all of the other moms in my family who showed me what warriors could do with their crazy good lives.


The Retirement Style Blog routinely discusses a variety of retirement transition issues. For a full framework of retirement resources, please visit our Retirement Success Series. To speak with a certified retirement coach about your personal needs, please contact us.

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