About Me

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Douglas, Alaska, United States
I have lived in Alaska since 1978, having come to Juneau as a Jesuit Volunteer. I fell in love with Alaska and now live on Douglas Island with my husband and two dogs.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Happy Discovery - Memories of My Mom

June 1 was the anniversary of my mom's death.  She was 93 when she died.  She grew up in a "little mining town in the West", Raton, New Mexico.

On the back of this photo she wrote: "This is 140 N. 5th St, Raton - I grew up in this house with my father and mother and sisters - I had many good times while I lived there - a happy childhood and carefree times.  My father planted a peach tree from seed and many years later it bore a beautiful big peach (only one) and Papa but it in a box and sent it to me!  Dad and I 'spooned' on that porch!"

While straightening my closet yesterday, I ran across some memorabilia from my Mom's house.  There were photos, notes, cards that I had sent her over the years, my old report cards ("Spelling: Excellent.  Arithmetic: Needs improvement." Some things never change.)

Among the things in the box was a note that she had written about her visit to Juneau in November of 1984.  She wrote:

"Arrived 11/16 1 hr late.  But had pleasant flight.  P&C met me.  Sat - 5:30 p - went to Mass.  Mona and Dave's baby was baptized - Paula & Charles were godparents.  Small party after Mass at Paula & Chas house.  Nice group - all brought food and drink.

Sun.: First thing in a.m. Paula got up - went to bathroom - then came to my bed and got in w/me - and we talked - then Chas. got up, called her into bathroom then both came out and said in unison - 'Good morning Grandma!'  Paula had done an Early Preg. Test and when they checked it, it was POSITIVE.  We were all so happy - all sibs and parents were notified by phone and all responded with joy.  Paula and Charles are ecstatic.  July 17 is EDA.

This has been a most pleasant visit.  Have seen lots of old friends and after baptism of Mona's baby we gathered and had food and conversations like the way they do here, all contribute, all enjoy - Paula and I made guacamole - everyone loved it.  These young people are amazing!  Self-assured, self sufficient, yet all bound together in a strong bond of religious faith and true friendship - so that they are dependent on one another but not in a way that's cloying nor burdensome - only helpful and strengthening.  I love these young people.  I think they portray my ideal of real friendship and fellowship - concern for one another - sharing joys and problems and sadness and trouble as a group and as a group praying for God's help for the grace to handle it.

I know Paula and Chas. will be good parents.  I pray Paula's pregnancy will be a easy as mine.  I know they will do everything they can to assure a health baby and that when it's born they will bring it up right.  There's a whole new generation of babies now, all belonging to the original group of young people I met while Paula was still with JVC."

Reading this note, and seeing how much my Mom loved visiting here, getting to know my friends, and how much she approved of our life here in Alaska meant so much to me.  I am so grateful for her approval, and for her love.  I miss her more than I can say.

Wherever Mom was, there was PIE!

On the Alaska Marine Highway

Mom, with my sisters Mary and Rita and me

Mom's first visit to our new house

Mom with baby Miguel and 7 year old Phoebe

I had a good cry, looking at the pictures, reading her notes and remembering.  She was unforgettable in so many ways.


  1. What lovely memories of your mother...thank you for sharing the journal entries of her visit, it is very touching and proof of her love for you and your life.

  2. There is no one like a Mom. She sounds like such a positive and good woman, seeing the good in others. What a gift in your life!

  3. Oh, this is a beautiful, heart-wrenching post, Paula. Thank you for sharing these sweet memories of your mom. What a great tribute...

  4. How blessed you are that God gave her to you and you to her.


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