My blog is being devoted for a while to my dad for his service during WWII, but he and Mom were a team until he died in October of 1986.  In public Mom was always on Dad’s arm, because he was always there to steady her walk.  I can’t honor him without remembering and honoring her as well.  It would be like having the pepper shaker without the salt.

I remember my mother being a woman of dazzling beauty, not from make-up, but from naturally flawless complexion, radiant eyes, perfect figure, and beautiful taste in clothing that suited her to perfection, clothing that she always managed to find at bargain prices.  She never worked at being lovely.  That’s just the way it was.  In elementary school I was always proud when Mom came to school as room mother or to participate in some other classroom activity.  From the first grade on, kids in my classes would always comment, “Gee, your mom is so pretty.”  And she was a sweet as she was beautiful.  She was a super housewife, who kept an immaculate house (a miracle when considering us three kids), and nursed us all back to health from our bouts with mumps, measles, chicken Pox, flu, and myriad other illnesses.  The day after the photo from 1952 of Mother, David and me, I was diagnosed with Scarlet Fever and was confined to my room for several weeks.  Mom nursed me back to health even from that.

When I was twelve years old, Mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor on the left side, the largest tumor at that time that Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota had ever removed from a patient.  Her surgeon, Dr. Bernardi, said that she would probably have a year to live.  She was partly paralyzed on her right side, blind in her right eye, and deaf in her right ear for the rest of her life.  She outlived her surgeons and died fifty years later in 2008.  She walked with a cane for most of those fifty years, kept house, did gardening, attended church, and continued to live life with strong determination that she could do everything she needed to do with Dad to raise her family, just at a slower pace.  I’ll include more photos of Mom before and after her life-altering surgery.  She was a remarkable woman for any era.

–John Bolinger

About John

John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BA and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado. He spends his winters in Pompano Beach, Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth and most recent book, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014.
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  1. Mark Teran says:

    just read this one – what beauty in that picture!

    and to be kind – what a combination – hard to find

    I’m sure she was special!
    Mark Teran

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