Note to Mom

By Jill Melton | March 08, 2018
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My mom, Joan Gusweiler was one feisty smart lady.

(A blog post written for my mom on her birthday in 2012)

Like my mom, I’m perpetually late for most everything, parties, lacrosse games, the dentist, getting my kids to school, and mass. Especially mass. One of my most vivid memories is following mom up the center aisle of All Saints church 5 minutes after mass had begun. My sisters and I were mortified with this weekly ritual—just as my kids are today.

My mom is a crusty gal, and getting crustier each day. She was always fiercely independent. When we were young, she bucked the lady’s group in the neighborhood, got us fired from the orthodontist, argued with the sales girls at McAlpins, and never for years let me have sleep-overs.

When I was in high-school she went back to work at a high-end clothes store called Panache. As a fashion major in college, she never could abide by cheap clothes. She loved her job, much more than being at home, I think, where she could usually be found in the basement ironing, as opposed to the kitchen. Panache was her stage. She was returned to her glory days, although short lived as a fashion buyer at Pogues.

Throughout my childhood, mom was the accountant, disciplinarian, teacher, cook, doctor, social consultant, and handy man for the family. She sent us to private schools and eked out annual vacations on a shoestring because she was determined “her girls were going to see the world.” She managed to send us all to college. Now that I’m a parent, I don’t know how she did it.

Growing up with all girls and no boys, we never knew there was anything we couldn’t do. We weren’t compared to boys, held up to different standards or treated as anything but smart, independent people. Us girls cut the grass, messed with all of dad’s cars, smoked cigarettes, payed baseball and golfed. We drank too much, drove too fast and stayed out too late. It was assumed we were going to college (getting married was never discussed).

Thank you mom for everything you did for us, but especially for being the strong, smart,   sometimes fierce woman you were. And for hating to cook, which set me on my culinary path in life. --Editor, Jill Melton 

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