January 2, 1903 my mom was born. She was one of eight children, and towards the bottom of the litter. She was not formally educated, having not graduated from high school as was common in those times, but she raised six children, four of whom had professional degrees. She was no dummy, my mother. What she lacked in formal education she made up for in the school of life. She was a voracious reader and she wrote well scripted letters to her friends and an occasional poem here and there. Three of her children (two of the non-professional degree status) wrote stories and poems and fancied themselves as writers, amongst their other talents. Myself, as the youngest, I guess I learned to follow in all of my siblings shoes whether formally educated or writers. While I reflect on my own childhood and what I missed and what I had, I realize the lessons I learned from her form the foundation of who I am because of who she was. She was a strong willed woman, filled with principles, kind to strangers, helpful to her family in the ways she could. I didn't know her when she was young, I was born when she was nearly 45. I didn't know her when she was carefree, my father's illness, and the problems of adult children, as well as the death of her own mother occurred during my young years. I knew her steeped in responsibility, loyal to causes, taking small steps to adapt to a changing world both personal and at large. She learned to drive in her 50's, took a cross country trip in her 70's by herself. She was President of the Senior Citizens Center. She never stopped growing spiritually or intellectually. She was gone way too soon at 76 years old---35 years ago. I have never stopped thinking of her or missing her or appreciating her. She lives in me and from me into the world. I love you, mom. Happy birthday!