C & G staffers share stories of moms’ warmth and wisdom

By: Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published May 6, 2015

METRO DETROIT — Mother’s Day is just around the corner. But when a special lady in your life has given you cherished memories or sage advice to take with you through the years, isn’t every day Mother’s Day just a little bit?

At C & G Newspapers, we know we’d be nothing without the women who sacrificed for us and nurtured us into the people we are today. In honor of those ladies, we decided to share a few stories of our mothers and grandmothers. We hope you’ll share some stories of your own — just leave a message in the comments at the bottom.

Susan Shanley, Sports Editor

Mine isn’t so much a memory or lesson learned from my mom. It is, instead, a story.

The story starts off with a heartbreaking loss, but it ends as a lesson in courage and strength.

Four years ago, after more than 50 years of loving marriage, my mom lost my dad to a sudden heart attack.

I’m not sure what the timetable is supposed to be for grieving the loss of a spouse and then learning how to enjoy life again; I just know that she found a way.

There were many bad days, bad months even, but she refused to let it beat her.

Instead of pushing the world away and being bitter about what fate had dealt her, she did the opposite. She has more friends now than ever before. She is a leader at the senior center, and she loves to help people, especially those who seem lost and lonely.

We spend more time together now than we did when Dad was alive. We’re neighbors, and we are a part of each other’s everyday lives. I think I bug her a bit with “text me so I know you’re home safe,” but she’s getting the hang of it.

Our roles have reversed a bit, and I like to think I’m taking care of her, but the truth is we’re taking care of each other.

People say we look a bit alike, and I consider that a compliment, but I hope the similarities don’t stop there. I hope we are alike.

That would be the dearest compliment of all.

Karen Bozimowski (Demers), Co-Owner, speaking of C & G Newspapers co-founder Charlotte Demers
I remember this very clearly: I was in the kitchen with my mom in our home in St. Clair Shores. She was making me a sandwich.

I was in the eighth grade and we were chatting about teenage things like starting high school, boys, etc. For some reason I asked her, “If you could only save one of us, me or dad, who would you save?”

She said she would save my dad. At 14 years old, I couldn’t believe it.

“Someday, you’ll move on, fall in love, get married, start your own family. But I’ll always be with your dad,” she said.

Over the years, I’ve told my own children that story and have gotten the same reaction from them as I had back then. The story is not about saving one or the other. It’s about commitment and growing old together.

Forty-seven years later — I get it.

Cari DeLamielleure-Scott, Staff Writer West Bloomfield Beacon
My grandmother had a way with offering unique and unusual advice about dating and life hacks.

Before “courting” a man, my grandmother told me to check out his butt before agreeing to a first date, and it wouldn’t be a normal day if she didn’t point out a man to me and say, “Look at how his butt moves.”  Once in a relationship, she suggested to return the ring during the holidays so I wouldn’t have to purchase presents, but get the ring back once the holidays were over.

As for life hacks, there are two pieces of advice I still stand by: Vernors and saltine crackers cure any illness, and never decorate the outside of a house with red Christmas lights unless you want the house to “look like a whorehouse.”

Her advice may have been unconventional, but her humor and compassion are why I named my daughter after her.

Christian Davis, Sports Writer
In so many ways, my mom is with me every day in everything I do. In fact, in recent years, I found notes that she had left around the house explaining a picture or a family keepsake, and each note ends with, “Love you forever, Mom.”

My mom, Susan Marie Davis, and I were very close. As an only child and with divorced parents (they remarried when I was 8), my mom was many things to me growing up, including best friend.

She worked for more than 30 years at the Clawson Post Office, and to this day, Tuesday is my favorite day because that was her day off when I was younger.

One time I remember being babysat by my aunt, and my mom made a surprise stop to pick me up. I jumped in the back of the old postal truck, and we finished the route together.

It was her example that left a lasting impression. She was compassionate and shared smiles. She also made sure that her only son always knew how much she loved and cared for him.

Now, with my first child expected to arrive in June, my goal is to show as much love for him as she did to me.

Perhaps my best memory of my mom is the last one I had with her. She passed away on Feb. 23, 2011.

I was visiting the night before, and we just talked like we always did — how the family was doing, how Dad was and how each other were doing.

Before I left, I packed up some food (she was a great cook) for the next day’s lunch, gave her a hug and kiss, and we shared an “I love you.” I feel so lucky that those were the last words we shared with each other. It was on a Tuesday.

Terry Oparka, Staff Writer Troy Times
My mother, Lorene Haldane, is renowned in our family for her sewing and quilting talent and practical approach to life.

I know how to sew, barely, and detest it. However, I was determined to sew myself a maternity top when I was expecting our oldest child, Tina, (now 33). I bought this beautiful cotton lilac-colored material and a pattern in the easy section, pinned and cut it out, then pulled out my little-used sewing machine and set to work.

I don’t know how I messed it up so badly, but the blouse was unwearable, and I couldn’t figure out what went wrong. “Just bring it to me,” she said. I did. She held it up, looked it over, then set it down. “I’ll just cut it up and make something for the new baby when it comes,” she said, apparently unable to save my efforts.

When my daughter came, my mother sewed her a beautiful sundress out of the material. That helped me to realize that when things go wrong, there’s always a Plan B. 

Victoria Mitchell, Staff Writer Royal Oak Review
The best memories I have of my mother are every day that she has been my mom. She is always cheering me. From sleeping in the hospital next to my bed when I’ve been the most scared, to always encouraging me to go for my dreams, to setting the perfect example of how to be the best mother possible.

Every year that I get older and we spend another Mother’s Day together, I have more appreciation for how wonderful she is!

Maria Allard, Staff Writer Warren Weekly

My mom, Anna Burak, passed away in July 2002. I miss her every day. She stood just under 5 feet tall, made the best Italian meatballs and made friends everywhere she went.
I have tons of memories of her, but one that sticks out is how hard she laughed when trying to tell a funny story. Sometimes she would laugh so much she could barely get the story out. That was the funny part.

And she loved Harrison Ford.

Jack Padley, Classified Advertising Manager
Some of my best memories of my mom came  from our 17-day trip to the Holy Lands (Israel and Egypt) with our church group in 2006, when Tessa was 81 years young.

Mom got breast cancer in 2004, but thankfully it was in remission during 2006.

On the trip my mom rode a camel, went up in a hot air balloon in Egypt, and she walked right along by my side as we traced the lives of Jesus and Moses from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, and onto Egypt. 

Mom was a trooper who never complained about anything.

This photo was taken in Jerusalem and shows Mom, me and our Jewish guide, Julie, with the Dome of the Rock behind us. Mom believed in the saying, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

Mom was right, and by Feb. 14, 2008, she passed on to eternal life with her Lord.

Mom was a doer who taught me that if you were not part of the solution, you were part of the problem. (She) also taught me about unconditional love. I love you and miss you, Mom.

Sarah Wojcik, Staff Writer Shelby-Utica News
This is a photo of my mom and me in our Sterling Heights backyard in 1996. My mom, an artist herself, always encouraged my brother and me to express ourselves through art. I listened and often painted my own face to transform into different characters and animals.

Here, I was a “salamander.” She also was an avid gardener and outdoor enthusiast, and taught us about different plants and flowers. We were always going on trips to parks, and I still love being surrounded by nature.

Kayla Dimick, Staff Writer Southfield Sun
The best advice my mom ever gave me is to always expect the best, but prepare for the worst. She taught me that it’s important to keep a positive attitude, but don’t be naive. Have a backup plan if things hit the fan. Which, you know, they usually do.

The photo is of my mom and me at my grandma’s house. Glad I inherited her smile.

Amanda Brand, Inside Sales
Five generations of mothers pictured here, circa 1980.

This quote from my mom for some reason always stuck: “Some children are a menace, but some day you will look back and realize you enjoyed it!”

Louise Frampton, Automotive Advertising Specialist
My mother, Elizabeth Rose Frampton, taught me how to be a proper British lady. Our family emigrated from England to Detroit in 1968.

Our family had much to learn, and my mother, being the teacher she is, taught us all well.  She made sure the English traditions were upheld, especially during dinner time. Our friends would wait outside, calling our names to come outside and play, but we would complete our evening meal.

Due to her placing an emphasis on manners, I have been complimented by governors and business leaders.  Remember all, hands in your lap!

Tiffany Esshaki, Staff Writer Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle
I’ve been writing my whole life, whether it was creative writing for elementary school classes or drafts for oratorical contests. My mom, a talented writer in her own right, was the perfect person for proofing everything I typed up.

After a few years of journalism school — having been through the ringer of Associated Press style courses and other reporting basics — I handed her a story to look over for me, and she said there was nothing she could do with it. I’m not sure how she felt about that moment, but it was pretty startling for me. I felt more ready to take on the journalism world in that moment than I did when I earned my degree.

I still keep her around, of course, because her skills don’t stop with copy editing. The gal’s got some mean shoe-buying skills.

Annie Bates, Editor
My mother is just impressive. She forms committees, joins task forces, gets another master’s degree, rocks a profession for a decade, then gets a new one. I remember being onstage as the curtain went up on my fifth-grade play, something about American tall tales and heroes.  There was a sea of moms and dads in front of me, and I knew that Mother wasn’t there because she had a meeting. I was OK with that. She was important. But then as I was waiting for my music cue to start my lines, I saw her come in the back and stand in the last row. I was so excited that I started my lines early, and since the accompaniment was a record that was supposed to start before my lines, we did the whole play without the music and sound effects. I was so proud of my mom, who came in late in a suit and pearls, because as important as she was, my play that I basically ruined was important to her. I hope I can impress my daughter the same way.