Remembering Mom

Family Farm, Elmdale, MN


My mom, Irene, was born May 25, 1925 in Elmdale, Minnesota. She was born at the family farm, sixth of fourteen children.  She used to tell me stories of attending school in a one-room school house, and how her father drove the school bus… a horse-drawn sleigh.  She said life was tough and there wasn’t much money. Christmas stockings held an orange and a dime.


Noteworthys, 1956

Eventually she moved to Bakersfield, California to help her brother, my Uncle Joe, and his wife Claire with their new family.   She loved music and singing and joined a Sweet Adolines quartet.   In 1955, their group, The Noteworthys recorded a few songs on a vinyl record.  It’s the only recording I have of her voice.

June 1, 1957
Soon after, she met my dad, Matt, and they were married June 1, 1957.  I showed up nine months and seven days later, March 7, 1958.  Mom always blushed talking about her ‘honeymoon baby’, thankful I wasn’t early.  “People might talk,” she said.  My sister Susan was born in 1960, my brother Bob in 1963.
Mom loved yard sales and entering contests.  She never passed up a yard sale telling us the car just “pulled over on its own”.    My dad never understood her interest in contests until she brought home a new television set, won from a local laundromat.  I didn’t hear him complain after that.
When dad would go out of town on business we ate pancakes for dinner and pizza for breakfast.  None of that nonsense was allowed when he was home.  I also got to sleep in my parent’s bed.  Mom would tell me stories of her childhood until I feel asleep.
Mom’s 18th birthday
When I was in high school, Mom found a lump.  Doctors performed a radical mastectomy in 1975. Even though she went through a lot, she never lost her sense of humor or positive spirit.  She was always there for me whenever I needed ‘mom time’.
In late September 1978, she told me the cancer had returned.  “They gave me a year, at best,” she said.  The next day she went into the hospital with brain seizures and passed away in less than a week.  She was only 53.  I was only 20.
May always brings back special memories of my mom.  Mother’s Day and her birthday month, I’m reminded of her kind and gentle spirit.  She cared about everyone and taught me to do the same.  It seems like forever since I’ve seen her.  I’d love some ‘mom time’ again.

6 thoughts on “Remembering Mom

  1. Very touching Joan. What a blessing to have had a mother like your's. Mother's day is hard for me for all of the opposite reason's. I loved the pictures she was a beautiful lady.

  2. Dear Joan, your lovely tribute to your mother brought up the emotions for me. What a wonderful woman your mom was, and how lucky you were to have her. Thanks for sharing her story. xoA

  3. I know you said it's the only but it's absolutely wonderful that you have a recording of her voice. I cannot imagine having to lose your mom so young. This was a lovely post and I loved the pictures.

  4. Joan- Losing your mother at such a young and tender was awful for you. How sad for all. Her legacy is, of course, her children. But there also the memories you have of all the simple joys you shared, the example of her enjoying the simple pleasures in life and living a positive life based on her quiet strength..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.