Monday, October 5, 2015

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today would have been my mother’s 74th birthday or as she might have put it “the 45th anniversary of her 29th birthday!)  Mom (Betty Jean Tannahill Johnson) died on 26 Dec 2005 of lung cancer, so this is the 10th birthday that we have been without her.  So much has happened in the last 10 years but in some ways it feels like we just lost her.

My Mom was many things.  She was probably one of the most creative and intelligent people that I have ever known.  Anything that she turned her attention to – she did well.  Mom was known as spectacular musician whose voice and talent is still remembered by those who heard her sing and play.  We had some of the most beautiful flowers and roses at our house when I was a teenager and young adult.  Like most things, it was impossible for Mom to only to what was necessary, she had to put her own touch on everything.  Mom got a computer for Christmas one year from Dad – it took her just a few weeks to get past the possibilities of that computer and pretty soon, Mom and Dad were taking a loan out for a state of the art computer and printer.  (This was back in 1980 – I think it cost $ 5,000 for the computer and the printer)  She did things on that computer that most people would never have attempted.  Mom was an early user of the internet, she scanned pictures, she did databases and spreadsheets and publishing all on a computer that operated on two 5 ¼ inch drives.  Mom was talented when it came to organization and used to organize her class reunions and managed the swim meets when I was a child.

Everyone in Mom's small family is gone.  Her father (Oliver Richard Tannahill) died in 1947 and stepfather(Gwen Dean Shearer)  in 1987.  We lost Grandma (Capitola Friddle Tannahill Shearer) in 1985 and Mom's sister (Joan Tannahill Kemp Towle Keeler) survived her by several years, but we lost her three years ago.  

Mom could also be incredible stubborn and impossibly demanding.  She was never satisfied with whatever she did and always wanted to improve on what she was doing.  I wish she would have stopped smoking many years before she did.  Even though she had quit 15 years before she died, it was still a smoker’s tumor that killed her.  We missed Mom so much during these past 10 years – at her grandchildren’s graduations from high school and two from college, two of their weddings.  I don’t have to pick a day to remember Mom, she is always there in my mind.  She has helped me make countless decisions through the years because of the things she taught me.  I have had several friends who have lost parents through the past years and I usually tell them that they will never stop missing them.  I then point out how lucky they were to have a parent like they had.  My mom was unique and only my siblings and I know all that she did for us.  I know that each one of us is thinking about her today and there might be a tear, but there is also a smile!

Probably the way I will always remember Mom - in red with her signature red lipstick!

Earliest picture of my mother - probably spring 1942  (She was born in 1941)

I am guessing Summer 1942 - Everyone has a bathtub baby picture, right?