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Jerry’s Journal: Sept. 15, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

Mom stood up for me when I married Ed eleven years ago. As always, she was beautiful that day. She wore white slacks and her favorite red blazer. It suited her perfectly; she was a “red” kind of lady – feisty and colorful.

My mother’s name was Helen VanDeWater. She passed away Aug. 25 at the age of 94. She was sixteen when I was born. That means I had a mother for seventy-eight years. It was a privilege not many other people are blessed with. Oh, sure, we had a stormy mother-daughter relationship at times, but never did we not respect and love one another.

Now the memories set in. I remember her as a young woman in a Sealright blue cotton uniform, her picture in the newspaper with the company’s big shots selling war bonds during World War II, her going out the door on Saturday night all dressed up with a fancy hat on to party with my Dad who was as full of life as she was.

As a very pregnant mother waiting for the birth of my three siblings, Paul, Denis and David, spread over 22 years from the first to the last! Though apart by age and generation, we became one big happy family. Of course it wasn’t rosy all the time. Tell me any family story that’s not a bit rocky and I’d say it’s a lie.

In any case, my Mother was the glue that held us together through thick and thin. I must say, however, that in retrospect, and as brother Paul has pointed out, we in turn became the catalyst that kept her together through the pain and despair of losing loved ones and as she suffered major illnesses and surgeries, and into the aging process. That leaves us with no regrets.

Now she is gone. As her obituary said, she was witty, generous and beautiful. She was beautiful right up until the day she died. She also was quick-witted, you could never get ahead of her. She always had a comeback, sometimes with a sharp tongue, like it or not, because her mind went a mile a minute!

But she was fun as well. She had a twinkle in her bright blue eyes and an endearing smile. Though her antics were at times outlandish and her choice of stories and words were often on the naughty side, she made you laugh.

To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397