On Mothers' Day my family pays tribute to that special person we call Mother, Grandmother, and Great-Grandmother. Today, only her nurses call her "Wilma," her actual name.

In 1948, my father passed away, leaving my mother with three active little boys. And not much else. We had no refrigerator. Instead, we owned what was called a "cooler," which was little more than a closet with a screen at its back, open to the outdoors.

We had a single hot plate to cook on. My bed was a canvas-and-spring cot. Our independent and resourceful mother started manufacturing aprons on her sewing machine. She hand-painted original designs on each one. Soon, Rhodes department store stocked her creations. Home was filled with faith, love and laughter. Mother had a quick wit and a sly sense of humor, a sort of female Henny Youngman.

The dinner table was the center for all local and family news. Mom communicated her love by cooking; we returned that love by eating three servings each meal. Twenty pounds overweight was what she considered healthy. No skinny people at her table.

A former elementary school teacher, she taught each of us to enjoy books. Every evening she would set us down and read to us. What wonderful memories: "Black Beauty," "Treasure Island," "Moses," "David and Goliath."

There was no "victim mentality" in our home. Instead, we practiced personal responsibility and hard work. Her sons mowed lawns, delivered the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, manned paper stands, swept floors, washed dishes, and even sold flowers door to door. We were a unit, and the funds realized from our efforts went home and we flourished as a family.

Mother always said a little work never hurt anyone, and if her sons erred, it was in excess. She trained three workaholics.

She retired at 82 years young, her last job being that of a factory representative for a publishing house.

Wilma's little boys are now grandparents, and her family has grown to 43, each blessed by their wonderful lady's faith, morals, love ... and chutzpah.

Happy Mothers' Day to the best mother in the world, who taught us "Jehovah Jirah," the Lord is our ultimate provider, and that we have because we give!

At 97 years old, instead of counting the candles on her cake we count the blessings she has given her family and community.

Daniel Berg


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