Mother’s Day!

“Remember, childhood only lasts 10-12 years.  There’s a lot needs to be squeezed in to make for a lifetime of happy memories.” ♥

I wrote the phrase at the top of this post in my 2000 Calendar.  And this is one of the pages I did for the scrapbook our family put together for my mom for her 80th birthday.

I could not go away to England without taking a moment to celebrate one of my favorite days of the year; which affords me another chance to tell my mom what a FABULOUS WONDERFUL HEAVENLY MOTHER she’s been to me.

♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥

 My mother’s singing was the background music to my childhood.  She sang as she washed dishes, hung clothes on the clothesline, poured Cheerios onto the highchair tray for the baby, and in the car on the way to the supermarket; and we all sang along with her.  As our family backed out of the driveway at 4 am, on our way to Sequoia National Park for a week of camping, she sang “We’re off to See the Wizard . . .”  How can you be sad if your mother is always singing?  You can’t.  She had the happy gene and she spread it around like the frosting on a three layer cake.

Because of my mom, I know the words to songs most people have never heard of.  I can sing all the Shirley Temple songs from her movies, because my mom and Shirley Temple were born on the same day and my mom loves her, so I love her too.  My mom is also responsible for alot of my other hidden talents.  She taught me how to twirl a baton (even left handed!), play jacks (my mother still does a mean ‘ups-downs’ and always gets me on the ‘down-downs’), walk-the-dog with a yoyo, juggle oranges, diaper a baby holding safety pins in my teeth, fold hospital corners when I put clean sheets on the bed, iron starched puffed sleeves on a baby’s dress (try it sometime, it’s a true talent! That I never use :-)).  She watched American Bandstand and bought our first 45, “Rock Around the Clock” through a TV offer, for us, her almost-teenagers; then she taught us how to dance; she helped us put on circus’s for the neighborhood kids in our backyard that included man-eating-tigers (one of my brothers eating animal crackers behind a blanket curtain); taught me how to knit, make my own clothes, how to play poker, embroider, cook, be self-sufficient, speak “arf and arfy” fluently (as you can see, there’s a reason so many of these talents are kept hidden), sing mares-eat-oats and does-eat-oats, and believe that if I really want something, I can probably make it myself.  Both my parents made something from nothing every day.

“Here, you’ll love this,” my dad said as he pulled a large flat box from the rafters in our garage and handed it down to twelve-year-old me.  Inside was my mother’s teenage scrapbook.  Glued to the yellowing pages were black and white photos, my mom and her best friend Alla, Aunt Jose and Uncle Roy, Grandma Carpenter, women with corsages, men in sailor suits, newspaper articles, dried flowers tied with ribbons, bits of crepe paper steamers, ticket stubs, match book covers, restaurant menus, and handwritten captions for it all.  My dad held the big album for me as we carefully turned the heavy pages, under stress with all that she’d glued to them, to read her teenage handwriting; she wrote about her friends, family, school, dances and boys.  I was enthralled.  Talk about windows into new worlds. My mom wasn’t my mom anymore, she was that elusive romantic thing, a teenager, woman of mystery, like the girl in one of my favorite books, Seventeenth Summer.  She was me.

My mom wasn’t a carefree teenager for long; my dad, just home from the war, knew a good thing when he saw it.  They’d only been dating for a few months when they discovered they both really loved pork chops; it was their favorite food, so he charmed her with a letter that said, “Let’s get a house and have pork chop wallpaper, pork chop furniture, and a whole bunch of little pork chops running around.”  Who could resist pork chop wallpaper!!!? And so they did.  When she was seventeen and he was twenty-two, their very first pork chop was born, me.  There were seven more pork chops to follow.

Because she was so young, my mother had a clear memory of what it was to be a child; she loved to play with us, and teach us her games.  And there is no one better at Kid Food than my mom.  She never met a miniature marshmallow she didn’t like; and if they were pink?  Even better.  Potato chips were “garnish” and Jell-O was a basic food group; bananas inside made it a health food.  She made cookies every week, including these delicious Potato Chip Cookies (which I knew you would love as a Mother’s Day gift from my mom! ).  She became an expert Birthday Cake maker; she baked dimes into her cakes, which was OK then; it was before “choking hazards” had been invented, no one got hurt, and we loved it.  She was a strong believer in food as scientific fuel for building strong bodies; she never referred to food by its actual name such as potatoes, chicken, and lettuce; she called it “starch,” “protein,” and “roughage.”  “Honey,” she would say, “You’re not eating enough roughage,” filling a yellow melmac cereal bowl full of what the rest of the world called “salad.”  We all, including the adults, drank milk at every meal.  Even at Thanksgiving.

If we didn’t have a lot, we sure didn’t know it; she was constantly “thanking her lucky stars” for her blessings, so we truly believed we had it all!!!  And believing is the same thing as having!  On Mother’s Day we would pick dandelions to bring to her as a gift; she put them in water in a jelly jar on the kitchen table as if they were the most beautiful roses in the world.  We would go back outside to play, feeling wonderful that we had made her so happy.  Smelling like a mix of Ivory soap, Breck Shampoo, grilled cheese sandwiches, and Johnson’s Baby Powder, I’ve never met anyone more naturally adept in dishing out the little things that make life sweet than my mom. 

It won’t surprise you when I say that motherhood actually isn’t all a bed of roses; most of you know that by experience, although, from my front row seat, I really think my mom made it look that way.  Dealing with us could not have always been easy, the noise, broken bones and stitches, the teasing and spilled milk, the muddy feet and dirty diapers; teething, colds, flu, chicken pox, the terrible two’s (times eight); getting us from here to there, I don’t know how she did it.  My mom received no days off, no raises, no gold stars to tell her she was doing a good job; barely a thank you.  She considered the time spent in the hospital after giving birth (which in those lovely civilized days could be up to a week) a “vacation” because she was so “pampered!”  When I moved out of the house at eighteen, I thought I detected a look in her eye that said, “Can I come too?”

She made a game out of everything. Here I am with my brother Jim; I’m wearing one of my Great Grandma Carpenter’s embroidered dishtowels as an apron; we’re “doing dishes.”  (My mom’s very proud of the teeny little braids she managed to get my hair in, she always mentions it when she sees this photo; and look, I’m wearing my favorite kind of pants!).  That pan we’re doing dishes in, a couple of years later, throughout my time at home and after, became known as “the throw-up pan.”  In fact, if any of us saw it today, that’s what we would call it. This is our door knob, this is our cat, this is our kitchen table, this is our car, and this is our throw-up pan. Perfectly normal family.

Because of my mother (and dad!), the twelve years of my childhood provide memories that have lasted a lifetime; they’ve brought me solace in times of trouble, given me a foundation to stand on, made me believe that everything would be OK.  My mom taught me that it was the everydayness of life that was worth celebrating; like the quote by Mark Twain, “We had mighty good weather as a general thing, and nothing ever happened to us at all.”  Nothing ever happened to us, and that was just perfect.  She gave me the kiss to build a dream on.

This is my mom, at my sister Shelly’s house with Shelly’s twins, Mason and Paden (still wearing the pirate makeup from Halloween; no he doesn’t already have a beard!).

When I wrote my first book, Heart of the Home, I discovered that almost every word could be a kind of thank you to my mom, by showing her how the little things she did made such a difference in my life.  That book and all the ones to follow, became a thank you, not only to her, but to all moms, as a way to tell them that even though we seem to take it all for granted, we were watching, that we could see, and that we’re grateful to the tips of our toes for the dedication our mom’s had to their home and family, for the sacrifices they made for love, for all those delicious homemade cookies, and for the memories! I wanted to tell them that what they do really does matter.  Not to just one kid, but to the world!  THANK YOU MOTHERS OF THE WORLD!

The most important door a student walks through, is the door of their own house. ♥

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to my own dear Mother, Patricia Louise Stewart, and to all you moms, aunties, and “other mothers” who make such a difference in the lives around you every day. Here’s an old children’s song for you, one of my mom’s favorites that we would sing doing dishes together, called Forevermore (turn down the sound a little bit first) . . . You had the words, now you get the tune! XOXOXO

And we’ll be jolly friends forevermore . . . ! 

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368 Responses to Mother’s Day!

  1. Lori says:

    Tears are blurring the computer screen as I read this. You said so many things that apply to my mom too (and I’m sure all the girlfriends.) Susan, your mom did a great job because you turned out pretty special. So, thank you and thank her as well!

  2. Pamela Jewett says:

    Hi Susan,

    You have put into words what every child (adult and under!) feels,thinks and says to their Mothers. You have a great gift and we are all thankful for it.
    xoxo Pam

    • sbranch says:

      I have to call my mother today and get her to a computer so she will see this! So far we haven’t managed to talk her into it!

  3. Wendy Louise says:

    Good Morning ! You are one special lady and I want to Thank-you from the bottom of my heart for your expressions of Motherhood. I think everyone in the world should read this because Motherhood is the most important job in the world ! I am soooooo blessed to know you, so blessed that you had the Mother you had and the one I had. Happy Mother’s Day to All ! Hip Hip Horray !!!!!!!!!! Now there’s sooooo much to look forward to when you notice all the small things and big things in life ! OOOXXX P.S. Happy Travels with Joe !

  4. Susan Simon says:

    Good morning, Susan and everyone! Oh, my…. what a wonderful tribute to your mom… made me smile and tear up at the same time. I am sure you know how much she’ll treasure this. Loved reading your love note to her…. thank you for sharing it with us.

    I already knew the words and the tune to “forevermore”… my girlfriends used to sing it all the time, way back when. (But I had forgotten it til just now, and what memories it brought back!!!) And those “mom-isms” must be a universal thing we all learn…I even said some of those to my kids. The first time I said the phrase “Because I said so!” I clapped my hand over my mouth in disbelief. That was the one phrase I promised myself I would never say, EVER! Oh, well.

    Thank you again, Susan… let’s see, how many more days til you set off across the pond? Can’t wait to go with you… and share in your wonderful, glorious, marvelous trip to England!

    • sbranch says:

      I promised myself I would never say it either, but I did, to my young nieces, and I found out why moms say it … because no other answer will do…I never understood before!

  5. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh my gosh! I LOVE this…what an amazing Mother you enstill such beautiful memories for you and your brothers and sisters! This certainly stirred up wonderful memories of my Mom also! She too made our lives fun and simple….filled with all kinds of love md respect for those around us. I’m sorry that this kind of life has faded away into the test of time. I know, though that new mother are making sweet memories of a different kind for their children…. Sweetness….that is what this post is…bless you!

    I’m off to get a perm before we head to England…bye…bye…see you soon on our ship!!

    • sbranch says:

      Can’t wait to see it Gert!

      • Gert~Iowa says:

        Ha…ha.. Oh we are singing and humming the song…Forever More…I use to sing that too. You know my Tom and his humming & whistling around the house…it shall be instilled in our brains “forever more”….smile…

  6. Donna says:

    Oh that song! I never knew all the words but I sang it for years. Thank you for that and your beautiful post about mothers. You are a sweetheart! XO

  7. Ann says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your Mom! I thank her for making you so special. I loved learning the Forever song. I was always singing around the house and playing music on the stereo for our boys to march around to. They even dressed up in costumes! (One majored in theatre in college.) I wrote down the Mark Twain quote and plan to send it to my boys as a Mother’s Day thank you. Also loved the story of your mother’s scrapbook. All I have are a few photos from my Mom, but my mother-in-law left me lots of scrapbooks from her youth that I blog about at Madeline’s Memories. Now, finish up that packing!

  8. Paulie says:

    Good Morning …….I say this through tears of memories, joy, etc. You wrote on our hearts what all of us feel in our hearts Susan…..what a joy to read this today. What a great tribute to pack into our joy boxes of life……..Thank you and God Bless.

  9. Heidi says:

    What a lovely tribute to your mom. I’m going to print it and give it to my mom on Mother’s Day. She’s learning to use the computer, so soon she will be able to read your blog online.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are a blessing to us all!


  10. {oc cottage} says:

    hee! hee! i haven’t thought about that song
    in ages! and now you are forcing my brain
    to try and remember the clappy-kinda-
    pat-a-cake hand movements that we used
    to do with a friend…faster and faster until
    someone missed a step…then you had to
    start all over again! ;}
    thx for the memory!

    m ^..^

    • Susan Simon says:

      That’s why we used to sing it… I knew it went along with a hand game, but couldn’t quite come up with the final details… thank you!

  11. Linda says:

    Susan you are blessed with a wonderful mother and ” your way with words” I read your blog this morning and remember all the wonderful memories of my mom. I miss her so much but those memories last a lifetime and I to feel so blessed to have them….

  12. Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

    I echo what others have already said – what a wonderful posting! You have outdone yourself with this one Susan!!
    I remember meeting your Mom at the Girlfriends book signing in Long Beach over a decade ago! I thought that was so cool that she was with you then – now we can see how supportive she has always been for her “kids”!
    Two more days until “lift off” – you must be beside yourself!
    Cheers to all!

  13. Deborah says:

    Oh, Susan, did you live with us? That was my home life. My mom was the best! I read the words to the song first and didn’t recognize it, but as soon as you started singing I knew it by heart! We used to sing that. I hope you have a wonderful trip and thank you for this tribute.

  14. Marie (Williamsburg, Virginia) says:

    Susan~what a beautiful tribute, indeed! I, too, had a childhood that was beyond the beyond, thanks to two loving, caring, and fun parents. Can it be any better? Thanks for sharing your personal words and style honoring your Mom and ALL Mom’s.

    I’m terribly afraid I will miss wishing you and Joe a spectacular holiday…so I will say it today…Bon Voyage!

    Marie xo

  15. Ruth Elder says:


    You’ve just reminded me, so beautifully, that the job I do every day for my 5 ‘pork chops’ is SO important. It really IS the small things they remember, isn’t it?

    Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      The best Christmas any of us ever remember was the one where we got the box my mom’s new clothes dryer had come in!!! We had good Christmas’s but that box was a fort! Yes, what you do is the MOST important. Thank you!

  16. Miss Pat in Indiana says:

    Susan, Please dump the previous post from me. I went in way too long. Sorry.

    • sbranch says:

      I actually love it, but if you want me to, I will. I’m saving it, if I don’t hear back from you, I’ll delete it, but it was very sweet Pat xoxo

  17. Bonnie Crawford --Arroyo Grande, California says:

    That is the sweetest Tribute to your WONDERFUL Mother Sue…. When she reads it, I can just see her crying all the way through it! You were very blessed to have such a great Mom, and now you are a Blessing back to her, that I know. It is wonderful that you can look back with such sweet memories of a GRAND childhood! And the BEST thing is that YOU inherited her HAPPY gene, and you’re spreading her goodness passed down to you, to all of us!! =) My mom used to sing that same song to us too, so it was special to hear you sing it…. Thank you for a beautiful post this morning… Loved it, and I Love you! xo

  18. Martha says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your mother. Thank you for sharing her with all of us and thank her for giving us wonderful you! xo

  19. Brenda from Saskatchewan, Canada says:

    Thank you for this wonderful tribute to your mom which will make each of us think of our mom and all she was and all she did for us. I had my mom in my life for my first 54 years and she was a true blessing every day of that (except when she made my curfew earlier than my friends’ curfews).

  20. Linda... Gardnerville, Nevada says:

    So fun and sooo spot on! Loved the message today…love my dear mom, love being a mom, and love watching my daughter be a mom! Your singing was quite cute and the fact that Jack had to be in the middle of it all made me laugh! I think if he could he would have started tap dancing! Happy sailing…looking forward to ‘going along’. Many kisses and hugs to moms everywhere!

  21. Patricia H. says:

    Absolutely amazing post Susan. I, too, have tears reading this. What an amazing woman your mom is- and what a beautiful tribute to her. Thank you so much for this post.
    ps- I just looked- my local library has 2 Shirley Temple movies available…I’m off to pick them up to watch with Alice after school…I too loved them as a child and it’s time to introduce her to Shirley! Wonder if I can get the teenager to come sit with us this afternoon! 🙂

    • Patricia H. says:

      Forgot to mention that song: wow that brought back childhood- we used to sing that in the 70’s while doing hand movements- there was a whole series of slapping hands with one another in tune to the music. Does anyone remember that or was that something my little friends and I made up?

      • sbranch says:

        Someone else mentioned that…

      • Laura Ann in Vermont says:

        I still know how to do the hand-clappy thing! I taught all my girls how to do it, too. (My boys weren’t interested somehow.) You start by holding hands with your friend and swinging arms as you sing “Say, say, oh,” and then you start this clapping pattern on the word “play” —clap your own hands together, then clap your right hand against your friend’s right, then clap your own hands together, then clap your left hand against your friend’s left, then clap your own together again TWICE, then clap the back of both of your hands against the back of both of your friend’s hands, then flip your hands over and clap the front of both of your friend’s hands, then clap your own hands together, then start the whole pattern all over (except for the swinging arm part…that’s only at the beginning) until you get to the end. When you sing “forever more, sing more at least three times more and clap your two hand against your friend’s two hands on each “more” until you are done. Once you get a nice rhythm going, you will see how the song fits in easily.

        At least, that’s the way we did it in Sunnyvale, California in the late 60’s, early 70’s!

        • sbranch says:

          I loved even reading about this! Right now, I don’t think I could get Joe into it, he’s packing! I’ll save it till my girlfriends come over!

        • Karen P - Wisconsin says:

          Exactly! Things were so simple back in those days….the simple things in life brought us joy.

          • Doreen Strain (from Florida) says:

            Your right about that Karen. Life was so much more simple yet I wonder if our parents felt the stress that we feel. I wonder if our children will say 25 years from now…..those were the good old days like we say about our parents. All I know is …….I wish I had raised my family back in those days. I do try hard to keep some of those simple things alive now in my home because some of them do give you the warm fuzzies! Don’t you think? FOSB 4~Ever! ~Doreen~

            Anybody remember: Red light, Green light 123?

        • Patricia H. says:

          Haha! It’s all coming back to me! Alice is in for a treat tonight…great memories. This blog really makes me happy. Everyone is so nice and positive and kind to one another. The happiest place on the Internet!

    • sbranch says:

      Good luck Patricia!

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        Hi ~
        We would say ” Red light, green light hope to see a ghost tonight”
        We also played Kick the Can, Red Rover and Statue Maker.
        The naughty kids~ not me~ would play Ding Dong Ditch!!!
        Thanks for the memory Doreen!

        • Lynn McMahon says:

          P.S. By the way the naughty kids were my male cousins~ remember the Christmas story I told when they painted the washer & dryer?
          Great! Now I’m a tattle tail!

  22. Doreen Strain (from Florida) says:

    Susan, what can I say that I haven’t said to you before. You have once again taken me down memory lane with this post. My mother passed on many years ago, but you brought back to life so many of our moments together again with this post. Funny how mothers think alike. I can also see myself in a lot of what you had to say. Making those memories are so important for children. It gives us the food for thought and all those wonderful feelings we get from them as adults. I remind myself every now and then to take some time an wander back to years gone by and enjoy the times my memory allows me to revisit. Your mother did a wonderful job raising you to who you have become. We all thank her for the job she has done. I’m a strong believer that our mothers have a very valuable part in who we become and how we feel about ourselves which in our adult lives we learn to share with those whom we have chosen as friends if that makes any sense to you. Boy, I’m getting deep with this one today! Well, I just wanted to let you know I’ve enjoyed your blog today. Those special moments our Mom’s have put into our lives have made us who we are this very moment. Sure we build on them but the seed is planted in our childhood. I’m so thankful that I am constantly reminded by some of the simple abundance things that go on in life daily that we are all still children at heart….even now at the age of 55 for me. Enjoy your trip. I have my teacup waiting for our afternoon teas where we will catch up on what you’ve been up to and please express to your Mom my sincere thank you for doing such a wonderful job at creating your kindered spirit so that I too can enjoy the joys of the special things that everyday brings to you through your blog. Three move sleeps and your on your way! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

    • sbranch says:

      You’re a doll Doreen, it’s just one more thing we have in common I think, this great respect for the women in our life, our girlfriends (which includes moms) that support us every day.

  23. Very sweet tribute to your mom and mom’s everywhere. It certainly made me miss my mom who died in 1997.

    I have to tell you that I love being a mom. It is the best gift I ever gave to myself (and my husband, too) 🙂 Although, the teen years are interesting. Anyway, thanks for artistically drawing and posting the ‘mom’ sayings. I say them now and again just like my mom did and my grandmother (and my mother-in-law, too) I cannot believe they sometimes come out of my mouth! One more that my grandmother used to say to me was, “Why are you so cross?” I never hear that one anymore. She was born in the late 1800’s, so that may explain it!!!

    • sbranch says:

      My grandma always said, “Land!” as an exclamation. I know there was a Land of Goshen, I guess it came from there, but I don’t know why.

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        My Grandma said “thunder & light’nin'” (she was born in TX, married, moved to CA & had 10 kids! Probably used those words a lot!)!

        • Georgie says:

          My Great Grandmother would say “Save the pieces!!!”

          • Sandy Richmond says:

            My grandma said Uff-da!

          • Lori from Maine says:

            My Nana used to say “What in Sam Hill”. Who is Sam Hill – dunno – but Nana knew him I guess 🙂

          • Lori from Maine says:

            My Nana used to say “What in Sam Hill” a lot. Who is Sam Hill – dunno – but I figured it was someone she knew. 🙂

          • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

            My Mom said For Land Sakes! What does that mean?

          • sbranch says:

            I don’t know!! I think my grandma shortened it to “Land!” Why Land? I asked her and she didn’t even know!

          • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

            I remember my grandpa saying “What in Sam Hill?” as in “What in Sam Hill is going on?”.

            My Mom couldn’t answer a lot of Why questions. I wonder if this is why the Baby Boomer generation (well not me as I was threatened with being disowned) finally rebelled. LOL

          • For all the Southern Ladies….my sweet dear Grandmother from AL when we were being little devils would say to us….”I’m going to get the UGLY STICK”…..a switch, and she never ever had to spank any of us and Lord knows she had cause to.

          • Patricia H. says:

            If you asked my grandfather what he was doing he’d say “I’m down in the cellar digging a hole in the roof” and if you asked him what he was watching he’d say “Boris Karloff and Shirley Temple in ‘The Great Love Affair'”. Every time- for years! I miss my grandparents!

    • I love all of these sayings 🙂

      Susan, you should write and illustrate the ‘sayings of our youth.’ or some such sayings book. Baby boomers would buy the books in droves. It could have space to write sayings that our grandparents said, mothers, dads, teachers, aunts. etc……..and it could be handed down for generations. Think how fun that would be!!!!! Just food for thought during your trip 🙂

      • Cathy from Golden, CO says:

        How about “For Cryin’ in a Rainbucket!” – I never got that one and when Mama would say I was “Full of Prunes” for years I thought she was saying “Full of Brooms” haha – “Cat got your tongue?” was another and that one would make me mad!

        • When the girls were small in our family they just loved always going around saying “Hi” which after awhile drove my Dad nuts!!! So, when they would say “Hello Papa” what ya doing…he always answered them with “On the roof eating fried chicken”?? ha and they always responded with “PAPA”.

  24. Rhonda Dunn says:

    Hi Susan. Wow! Your Mom needs to get to a computer asap to see your post today. That is one of the nicest tributes to “Mom” that I have ever seen. You hit the mark! It is very easy to see how her “heart of the home” has been carried to your own “heart of the home.” The “rabbit trail” is very clear. I have been working very hard on my family history – collecting everything I can get my hands on (stories, documents, pictures). Now you’ve inspired me to take that family history a step further. I want to do something similar for my Mom this year. And even though my Dad passed away in February of this year, I still want to do a tribute for him on Father’s Day. I can’t wait to write, write, write. I found out at Easter that I am going to be a grandmother for the first time. I now know just what kind of a grandmother I want to be. Thank you for changing me. I don’t take anything for granted anymore. Each and every detail in life is very precious to me now. Thank you for this beautiful blog about your Mom. I hope you realize just how much you are changing the world (and a lot of it needs to be changed). We can all change. You are making a huge difference. Thank you for all you do.

    • sbranch says:

      You are making tears in my eyes Rhonda! So happy for you getting a first grandchild! Happy happy Mother’s Day!

      • Rhonda Dunn says:

        Thank you Susan. This is going to be a very special Mother’s Day for me. I also want to do (write) something special for my daughter to honor the mother-to-be. She certainly deserves it. I want to (need to- sometimes it’s just in your blood to do so) write and journal etc., using SB stickers. Besides the fact that I absolutely love them (I’d love to be able to do artwork like you, but I can’t – maybe one day, who knows), it’s my way of always being able to remember the impact you’ve made in my life. Again, thank you.

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      You are going to LOVE being a grandma Rhonda!
      Congrats to you!
      Sorry for the loss of your dad~ we still honor both my parents and in~laws~ all gone but never forgotten~on all our (their) special days.

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        Grandparents too

      • Rhonda Dunn says:

        Thank you Lynn. Really looking forward to being a grandma. It’s new territory for me, but I’m excited. My daughter has been in university, studying hard (for a long time), and I’ve had to step back, be patient, and let her finish her what she had to do. They found out in January she was expecting. Hard for her to do that. But, today, May 1st, is the day everything is finished for her (she graduates later this month), and I’m allowed to be totally excited with her. This is the day I get my daughter back. So this is a very special day for me.

        • sbranch says:

          Double fun … congratulate the new mom for me, for all her hard work at school and graduating!!!

        • Lynn McMahon says:

          Hi again~
          3 of my 4 grown kids are back in school. My oldest graduates in 2 weeks! This last year he has been working full time, school full time and been husband and father too !( full time)
          I’m tired writing it! Not to mention a few sideline projects he is working on~ my daughter~ same thing! My youngest son does the part time thing~ less exhausting! I miss my kids even though I see them almost daily!
          Hopefully, your daughter (and you) can get some rest before the new little one! Keep us posted!

  25. Rachel says:

    You sounded wonderful- and now that song is stuck in my head 😉
    Your childhood sounds lovely- and to be truthful, I think many of us have very fond childhood memories 🙂 I can only hope that my own children will!

  26. Lynn McMahon says:

    Good morning~
    This brings back such happy memories!
    I too was blessed by a wonderful mother who has been gone over 4 years now~ I miss her everyday~
    She never was too busy to make time for us. She made me feel like everything I said and did was important and special!
    I am doubly blessed in my opinion ~ to be a stay~at~ home and now a stay~at~home~ Nonny~Nana!
    I don’t think you have to have given birth to be ” honored” on Mother’s Day~ I think of family, friends~ other women~ who have touched my life in profound ways who have no physical children.
    Any woman who nurtures~especially children~ is a mother to me!
    ~Oh Pretty Playmate~ Come Out and Play With Me~ And Bring Your Dollies Three~………….
    Have A Good Day!

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      I meant to say stay~ at~ home ~mother.
      Also~ This site has the lyrics for this song and many others.
      My mom sang the words a little different. Have fun reminiscing if you check the site out!

  27. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Gulp! Thank you Dear Sweet Sue! That was so beautiful, & I love your singing voice! Have to leave for awhile, and will find better words (I hope) later, but want you to know how blessed we are to have you (& your family & all your GFs & GuyFs) in our lives. XOXOXOX!!!!

  28. Jack says:

    You and Jim in the back yard of our Park Ave. house in Long Beach — what memories this brings back! What’s not in the picture is our dog Cindy, the German Shepard that bit the daughter of our dog-bite-insurance-guy! And also our pet Duck, that wanted to be in on everything. I don’t know how Mom kept her out of that picture! Good job Sue; a well-deserved public tribute to your Mom, which she so richly deserves! Her, and all the good Moms that provide the inner glow, strength and glue for each family they dedicate their lives to! Happy Mother’s Day Girlfriends!

    • sbranch says:

      XOXO Dad!

      • Linda Pintarell says:

        I think I said this in your last post…your dad is so sweet…just love his comments.

      • Karen Saunders says:

        I truly think you had thee BEST parents in the world. ( How can you have eight kids and be sane????) But oh how much fun you had growing up. You were like the ‘Waltons’ and ‘Leave it to Beaver’ all rolled into one.

  29. Liza Coppola says:

    You are blessed…I am so glad I discovered you and your serendipity…through your baby book as a gift 18 yrs. ago. God speed your journey.

  30. Kathy Murphy says:

    I remember the Playmate song so well. It was really wonderful to hear it again. I’ll have to sing it to my grandbabies. Thank you so much for bringing it back to me. Have a wonderful trip to England!!

  31. Aggie says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your mom and all moms…where would we be without them? Still love it when my mom cooks for me – nothing like her home cooking – so blessed to be treated this past weekend.
    Wishing you and Joe the best England vacation – make sure you don’t have a little stowaway! I expect Jack must be completely fascinated with all the packing commotion 🙂

  32. Pam says:

    Oh Susan…… You bring back so many memories for me. I truly believe we grew up during the best time ever! I have so many happy memories growing up in the 60’s. My Mom was the BEST. Don’t we all believe that??? My Mom is spending Mother’s Day in heaven. I miss her so!!!! She has been gone almost 15 years. I am so grateful for home movies that I can get out and see her smiling face and hear her precious voice!

  33. Katy Noelle says:

    Dear Susan,

    I’ve been following along, the past few weeks, but unable to comment….(did you miss me? 😉 just kidding- heeheeheee! :)) but my excitement for your coming trip is growing! Oh, boy! oh, boy!!! Don’t you have room for one more stow away in your suitcase? pleeeeeease?

    I haven’t had a chance to read your post from today, yet. My parents are here from California for a short visit and, today, my mom, sis and I are going to……..(wait for it……..)….. MARK TWAIN’s house! I was getting ready trying on clothes and thinking of you packing (I’m trying to look like the romantic sort who goes on historic house tours ;)) and I just kept hearing your words: “the adorable Mark Twain”. So, in the whole wide world, because of the magic of computers…. I can tell you about my own teeny tiny trip – Oh, boy! Oh, boy! and that I thought pleasant thoughts of you, today!

    but….what does it mean that I think that I can quote you better than Mark Twain??? Hmmmm…… erp. =/

    Well, just a cheery note…. 🙂


    Katy Noelle xo

    • sbranch says:

      You are going to love it…wait till you see the girl’s room — all their (Victorian) toys are there! LOL, erp. xoxo

      • Katy Noelle says:

        I did love it! We had a private tour – just us in the house. …and, my favorite part….well, I loved the library – and the story of the fireplace from Scotland that was removed and supposed had been lost in a fire and, then, serendipitously discovered in someone’s barn and how they’re hunting down his original books and all of the funny things he wrote in the margins, etc. (I suppose that there’s no way that you’re related, I guess?) but, yes – I LOVED the kids’ rooms. Suzy’s room was so cute and that miniature bathtub in their bathroom and, then, they have ‘froggy went a courtin” wallpaper and the dolls’ house, etc.! The children had the loveliest spaces! and, speaking of… I had never put together how often he wrote about frogs. You gotta love a man who can appreciate the humour and drama in frogs, right? 😉

        and, I was feeling so guilty – like there’s something wrong with me – that I can’t quote Mark Twain and, then, I realized that this is probably because it’s been over twenty five years since I checked those books out from the library and read them. (BUT, I felt like all isn’t completely lost when I realized that I can quote a bit of Jane Austen pretty freely and, especially, LOVE to quote Beatrix Potter – although, no one ever knows what I’m talking about when I do that but I’M amused – heh, heh.)

        SO! (I’m on a roll) Since I realized that I need to reread these books and I do have three boys (10, 12, 14) who won’t be whole until they’ve read them, too – I bought a slew of them in the museum bookstore. (fresh, new books – mmmm! =]) I started “Innocents Abroad”, last night, and laughed and laughed hysterically at his descriptions of the company attempting to amuse themselves on the voyage across the Atlantic on the steamship – especially the part of them “dancing” but in actuality stampeding unanimously back and forth across the floor with the swells…. Which was such a funny coincidence…..and I’ve come full circle to your latest post, today.

        Oh, bon voyage! I had butterflies in my stomach for you, this morning! I hope that the travel muses smile down on you and your guy in the sweetest way and that the two of you have the most fun adventures together!


        PS I love reading the others’ comments! all of the sayings that their mothers’ used and, then, when i saw the comment from your dad – I got all misty eyed and smiley! =D

  34. Coni (Nashville, TN) says:


    I agree with everyone else ~ this is a wonderful tribute to your mom. Wow – she looks like a movie star in those early-day photos. Beautiful inside & out!

    I think one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their child is a lifetime of happy memories. My parents sure did that for us, and now my brother and his wife are doing the same for my nieces & nephews.

    It really is the simple things, isn’t it? And the best part is that, no matter what our lot in life, we can all share the simple joys of life with those around us. Thanks for reminding us of that!

    Hope you & Joe have a splendid time on your trip! Safe travels!

  35. Linda Pintarell says:

    Susan has a hidden talent…a lovely, sweet singing voice. Thank you for sharing this song with us. My mom, too, is in heaven…20 years…and I miss her every day. I know how fortunate I was to have such a loving, caring mom. She made my growing up years a joy and was always there for me. I was an only child (I envy you your big family) and mom was a stay-at-home mom – so she was always an active participant in my life. Wishing all you moms and girlfriends out there a life filled with good health, good times….and fun! And…Happy Sailing, Miz Susan and Mr. Joe!

  36. Kate says:

    Omigosh, Susan, I thought you were talking about my mom. I had a wonderful childhood growing up on a small farm. My mother was always cooking, baking and sewing and doing crafts and reading and teaching me things. She was the best cook around and people loved to come and eat her fried chicken. She sang the playmate song all the time too and Mares eat oats and does eat oats and talked about the great depression and the war years and never complained about hard times. We were poor, but I never once felt poor because we were fed, clothed and loved. She instilled in me my love for reading. Thanks for sharing your wonderful mother with us.

  37. Jan says:

    What a beautiful post and tribute to your Mom, and all Moms!! Brought tears to my eyes. Memories of childhood and home are precious!! Moms truly are very, very special people. I know my Mom was! Thanks so much for sharing!!
    This was a great way to start the first day of my retirement (after 34 years in nursing). I already have a list made, of things I want to do, and spending more time with children and grandchildren is certainly a priority.
    Thanks again and enjoy your day!

    • sbranch says:

      Congratulations Jan, I can’t even imagine the difference you’ve made to so many after 34 years!!!

      • Doreen Strain (from Florida) says:

        Congratulations on your retirement Jan. As a nurse myself I can tell you, you have had so many lives in your hands over the past 34 years. May you find comfort in knowing you have made a difference. Enjoy your retirement and get some of those bucket list things done! I’m so jealous (I still have 7 years to go) but happy that you are know able to allow your heart to ponder the enjoyable things in life at a much slower pace. Enjoy my friend! Learn to love the simple abundance of it all. FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

  38. NANCY JO says:

    oH Susan, that was so nice, I have no words.

  39. Heartsdesire says:

    Thank you so much, Susan, for your Mother’s Day tribute. It was beautiful and brought back wonderful memories of my mother. I’m a mother of four (adults now) and I cherish every moment I have with them. I hope that their childhood memories of me are as precious as the ones you shared about your mother.

  40. Gail from Manchester, N.H. says:

    I hope I can get rid of this lump in my throat, I think I could just burst into tears after reading that. I’m at work and it would be embarrassing!!

    Thank you and Happy Mothers Day to you!!

  41. AndiM says:

    It is a darn good thing that your parents had 8 kids. The genetic mix is gorgeous! The photo of you and your siblings, wow! Goood loooking.

    • sbranch says:

      All probably just had baths, we didn’t always look this good! 🙂

      • Doreen Strain (from Florida) says:

        You’re making me laugh Susan….I said the same thing when I saw the picture of you all. “They look great for there being seven of them….they must have just gotten out of the tub and in their jammies!” LOL ! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

  42. Alma M. says:

    I love reading your blog everyday but today was the frosting on the cake!! So sweet and loving. Your Mom is special and it is so good to have a special Mom. Lots of the things you wrote about brought my childhood back cause my Mom did them too. Weren’t we blessed!

  43. Jan says:

    Just have to add this comment. Before I read your post my 22 month old grandaughter called me (with the help of Mommy) and said: “Good morning Grandma-ga!” That was the way my first day of retirement started and you can’t top that! (No offense meant)

    • sbranch says:

      No you definitely can’t top that! The perfect way to start a new chapter in your life!

  44. carmel says:

    My words are inadequate to thank you for your most beautiful tribute to your mom. My mom passed away almost a year and a half ago and although I miss her terribly, I do find joy in all that she was as a woman and most of all, a mother. I anticipate the second Mother’s Day without her here on earth with love, gratitude and joy. My mom taught me wonderful lessons on cooking and homemaking. Most of all, she taught me about how to live a life with faith and a real belief in the goodness of life despite all it’s difficulties. There have been many dark days or moments in recent months (life does that sometimes), but all that she gave me comes shining through in my heart and soul. Life is still good! Susan, you have made that celebration of my mom even sweeter and fuller with all that you shared about your mom. I so appreciate all that you’ve shared about your precious mom and dad. A toast to all our mothers! And I can’t help wishing you (again!) a trip that is filled with sweet adventures.

  45. Deb from Dixie says:

    Moms are such a blessing…Susan, thank you for sharing the memories, the songs and the love! What a wonderful tribute to your Mom. She surely inspired the joy of family, great adventures and……..your “singing talent” too!
    You brought back so many of my memories, I will thinking about them and will share with my Mom on Mothers Day. She is almost 92, and remembers some of the funniest stories that make us all laugh. I will be with her the month of May and will cherish every minute.
    Thank you for a wonderful post….that touches all our hearts.
    Happy Mom’s Day to all the Girlfriends that are Mothers!

  46. Carol Hesch says:

    Oh my gosh–that was just wonderful. At our house we have the “puke bowl”–LOL–times have changed. Throw-up bowl sounds more sophisticated 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, we were very sophisticated. 🙂

      • Laura says:

        At our house it is known as “the bucket”…..and no one will touch it with a ten foot pole unless, well, you know……

        • Joanie B from San Diego says:

          Oh my, we had a special throw up bowl too. It was metallic hot pink. I loved that bowl until it became a symbol of the unthinkable! I have been laughing ever since you wrote about yours. This blog is a celebration of your mom and all our wonderful moms! Thanks for sharing and singing the playmate song. I have a memory of listening to it on a 45 record on a little record player. Love the joyful memories that you spread.
          Only two more sleeps till….

  47. JoAnn Hibbs says:

    What a beautiful tribute to Mother’s, and you are so lucky to still have your Mother. I wish I could still call mine, but sadly she has been gone for several years, but I do “talk to her”. Love the song…haven’t heard it in a long time. You’re the best!

  48. Dear Susan,

    Your mother is nothing short of a “National Treasure”! Here’s my applause for the legacy that she created, and for the one you’re carrying on in her honor!

    Merci beaucoup! 😉

  49. Pat Mofjeld says:

    What a wonderful Mother’s Day posting for your mother and all of the mothers out there…and you singing that song–you sound like Doris Day!!! Mothers do “set the molds” that shape us and affect us the rest of our lives–in good ways and bad ways. And I don’t know about you, but it seems like the older I am getting, the more clear I remember things from childhood. What a wonderful childhood your mother gave you and your siblings!

    • sbranch says:

      You said just the right thing Pat, she’s who I would like to sound like!!

    • Susan Bryza says:

      When my husband heard her singing, he also said “she sounds like Doris Day.”

      Susan, were you involved in musical groups when you were young?

      Susan (in Dallas)

      • sbranch says:

        I wasn’t, but singing, because of my mom, is something our whole family does. My sister Shelly is the one with the voice, and my brother Chuck writes, sings, plays the guitar! He writes wonderful songs, and of course our whole family knows every word and can sing along.

  50. Lynn Cooper says:

    When I saw the lyrics at the side of the calendar, I beamed. My mother taught the four of us that song, but she called it Playmate. We sang it numerous times, and when my children were born as well as the children of my siblings, Mom sang the song to them . My sister Sue and I knew that the song was a family classic and favorite, and we could picture rain barrels that people used to have next to their houses in the 1950’s. We DID slide down our neighbor’s cellar door as young children as well.

  51. Teresa G., Lafayette, CA. says:

    You have rendered me speechless, and that is a huge feat. Dabbing at my eyes, lump in the throat. Spectacularly beautiful tribute to your mother, Susan.

  52. Carol Maurer says:

    Oh, Susan….. what a wonderful tribute to your mom and to all moms!! Oh, and you do have a lovely voice 🙂

    Carol M

  53. Lady Jayne says:

    Words fail me…lost my Mum 6 months ago and still reeling…..I lost myself in this blog today, thank you so much.
    Enjoy your time in my Mother Country….see if you can pass through Derbyshire on your travels. It’s exquisite….in particular, Chatsworth….where the plague began! Shots up to date?!!!

    • sbranch says:

      So very sorry about your Mother . . . 🙁 such a profound loss.

      No shots for us! But we’re going through Derbyshire for sure .. want to see James Herriot’s house, also of course Chatsworth which I trust has been well disinfected!

      • Lady Jayne says:

        I was at Chatsworth in March. My Mums ashes are scattered there, in the most peaceful, secret-garden little spot. It’s being renovated…..the house and gardens are beyond heart, my heart!! I shall be anxious to read your posts, I wonder what part of Derbyshire you’ll see! I love it all, of course! Blessings for your travels…and on your life.

  54. Mary Spring says:

    Oh !! Dear Susan….thank you for sharing such memories and sweet photos !!! Wow…youv’ve brought back a flood of childhood memories for me this morning…I,too , am from a very large family..I am the fourth of ten children..born and raised in California as well !!!We were also blessed with very spirited and energetic parents as well !! our parents have got to have a great love for children and Life !! Did your father ever try the Christmas card photo taking sessions with any luck ? Invariably, one or two of us would have our eyes crossed or tongue out…”don’t know just how many Polaroid pics my parents had to take to get it so…I’m sure we have similar tales to tell… thank you for taking time out during this busy time for you to give us all that you do…your mother must be proud !!!!!! P.S. My parents are celebrating 67 years of marraige this May 4…..with love…

  55. Karen Saunders says:

    Dear Sue…what a wonderful tribute to your dear Mother. We are about the same age and I have the same good memories growing up. My dear Mother is no longer with me so if you don’t mind may I wish your wonderful Mother ‘Happy Mother’s Day!’ thank you

  56. Yvonne Harvey says:

    Oh, Sue, I had forgotten that song from my childhood until I saw it in your post. Of course, I had to sing a duet with you as you sang the words. I’m still smiling from the sweet memories. Another song that I can teach my 3 year old granddaughter. Thanks for the beautiful tribute to Moms everywhere and for bringing such a wide smile to my heart and face today.

  57. Carol C says:

    That tribute to your mother could have been written about mine! We woke up to her singing Oh what a beautiful morning while fixing our breakfast, fully dressed and made up. We sang the playmate song and kkkkatie and songs her dad had taught her from WWI. She taught us and the neighbor kids to play Monopoly and card games and let us make spook houses and have doll shows in the basement and put on shows in the back yard. We could lay the dining room chairs on their sides and cover with blankets to make playhouses and make tents with blankets and the clothesline in the back yard. She made our dolls beautiful doll clothes and let us sew, too. She made everything we wore and we had 3 sitdown meals every day. We walked home from school for lunch and she would alway have a special lunch for us waiting on the table. She was the best mom in the world!!!! ( I didn’t know about yours. So there’s a tie!!)

    • sbranch says:

      My mom sang “Oh what a beautiful morning” to wake us up to go to school, and we wanted, gracious as were at dawn, to kill her. She had truly rotten children! 🙂 Loved your description Carol!

  58. Oh my gosh!! This is wonderful!! Thank you so much for this Susan! What a wonderful tribute to your sweet mom, and what wonderful advice for all the mom’s to be out there!
    I was happily munching on my sandwich for lunch, and started reading…and the tears started flowing and my throat choked up, so I had to wait awhile to finish reading 🙂
    xoxo Debbie

  59. Kim says:

    Ohhhh, that’s the sweetest posting EVER, and your beautiful singing of “Playmate” (and little Jack’s dancing across the page) was the icing on the cake! I miss my own dear Mom so much, but I feel like she and I shared some ver fine moments here with you. Thanks for the memories! Love to you and yours!

  60. Martha Ellen says:

    Oh Susan–this tribute to your Mother is why we love you so much! Tears of love and joy for all the wonderful mothers out there. You manage to express so wonderfully what I feel about my own departed mother. Four little children 1-4 years old–don’t have any idea how she did it! She was a saint!! ♥

  61. Terri from Swansboro, NC says:

    I was singing right along with you but I learned the words just a little different! So thanks for singing so I could sing along… Thanks for all the beautiful things you said about your Mom, that makes who you are today doesn’t it? What a beautiful love story too… and who doesn’t get soppy over a love story! LOL!! Smiles!!

  62. Cocoa Fornelli says:

    Dear Susan,
    Of course, you didn’t mean for this to cause tears, but they sure came to me today! They are happy ones, because of the memories of my mother gave us.
    There is five of us, and mom passed away when she was 70 yrs. old, and all of us miss her, each and every day! My mom was named after Shirley Temple, she was an excellent cook, loved to shop, always had on her lipstick, loved to laugh and did her very best to give us kids the best family homestyle! And not to forget our dear dad who sometimes worked 3 jobs to keep us all taken care of. Aren’t we all so lucky to have had such wonderful parents!
    Thank you, Susan for giving us such a poignant remembrance today!
    Hugs, Cocoa

  63. Annie says:

    Oh my goodness! I told you several days ago that you remind me of Doris Day in your pretty hat. I just heard her voice in your singing and then saw where Pat said the same thing.
    Thank you for such a “heartstrings tugging” tribute to your mom and all moms. It makes me think of my mom (who turned 81 on April 14th) and my grandmas. My mom even taught us songs from HER grandma when we were small. Thank you for reminding us of days gone by.

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t it wonderful how these old songs have made it down to us through our mom’s (and their mom’s) voices? Songs like “The Old Mill Stream.”

  64. Joy Pence says:

    Oh dear sweet Susan. What a wonderful tribute to your momma! First I had tears, then a smile as I listened to your song. (you have a very pretty voice!)
    I didn’t know the extra verse to that song, thank you. I taught that to my girls as we played the game where you sit across from each other and clap each others hands (does that game even have a name?) So thank you, thank you. Your mother had to be amazing to raise such a kind and caring daughter as you.

  65. Joy Pence says:

    You DO sound like Doris Day!!

  66. Karen P - Wisconsin says:

    Oh Susan, what a wonderful tribute to you mom! Tears are flowing here as I recall singing that song as a child, too, and all the fond memories that come with it. I think my mom said every one of those “Famous Last Words!” I’m going to print that and frame it for her for Mother’s Day! She’ll get a kick out of it! Thank you for another wonderful sunshiny walk down memory lane! With a mom like that, no wonder you’re as sweet as you are! xoxo…kp

  67. Miss holly says:

    How lucky we are for moms…I have been thinking about my mum so much in the last few days..sometimes when I am very sleepy I like to move into a zone of memories. For some reason being sleepy makes it almost real again….going to the A&P…being in the back seat..mum driving…feeling so secure…favorite dinners..the day I came home from school and mum had taken all our dollies and washed their clothes and ironed them and did all their hair and they were all on the couch waiting for a game to begin as my sister and I walked in!! So lucky to have a wonderful mum…
    I have a feeling that your mom feels pretty lucky too!!!!!!!!

  68. Susan M says:

    Dear Susan
    Yes, that was beautiful. I wish we could keep our moms with us forever, but we all have our cherished memories. I know you made all of us feel grateful for our mothers and the warm remembrances of our growing up. I am going to print this and keep it in my scrapbook. Thank you so much.
    Susan M

  69. Carla says:

    Thank you so much for the song, it reminds me of my Mother singing that to me. She passed away when I was 7, so thank you so much for the beautiful memory.

  70. Janie Phillips says:

    You made me cry, but then your song made me smile :-). This was so touching, Sue. I can only imagine how much it will mean to your mother. I wish her a very Happy Mother’s Day! xoxo

  71. Jacquie says:

    Oh my gosh, I know the “Playmate” song IN SPADES. My mother sang it all the time and I sing it to my daughter Mary (age 8). I even used it as a lullaby by singing it very slow and whisper soft when my kids were babies. This is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone (other than my mom) make a reference to it! Thanks for the wonderful post.

  72. Diane Byrum says:

    Susan thank you for taking us back to simpler times and so many precious memories. How blessed we are because of your Mom. You’re both precious treasure. And thanks for being our playmate~~forever more! xoxo

  73. Tasha says:

    What a super post and wonderful testament to your mother, Susan. You’ve said all the things I should have told my mother when she was around, but never did.

    Tasha in Wonderful but Wet Warwickshire

  74. Jennie says:

    Terrific post!
    And your line at the beginning is just SO TRUE (says the mom of a ten and twelve year old!) Why are they little for such a short time? (because God is merciful!) 😉
    My goodness, your mom is beautiful- inside and out for sure. I love her with you!
    Your family is so very special. You are definitely a product of your parents’ sacrifices and love.
    Thank you for sharing that love with all of us! 🙂

  75. Judy Mattson says:

    I always look forwards to reading your blog!!! Thankyou!!!

    My mom sang me that song too…We called it “Playmate”, and I have sang it to my child and grandchildren too.

    I even have a music box with the song… should have music boxes in your line!!

    Have a wonderful vacation Susan!!! Bon Voyage!!!


  76. This post makes me miss my mom, my childhood, and my little boys who are now grown men. Luckily, I have three older brothers who still treat me like the baby; all that’s left of my childhood days, but love them and we have such a great time when we’re together. They still poke and tickle me, take my food away, and play practical jokes on one another. We laugh like little kids and talk almost every day. Think it would make my mom proud to see we’re still her little kids at heart. Thanks for the stories. Happy sails to you!

  77. Georgie says:

    Full heart, moist eyes, decades of years falling away as past memories flood back into my mind, invading my thoughts, transporting me to another time… Me sitting next to mom at the piano singing Teddy Bear’s Picnic, HMS Pinafore I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General, and laughing… Mom teaching me to make wonderful crafts at our “Kid’s Table” made just for us by my grandfather… Going on treasure hunts with special rhyming clues… Eating picnic lunches up in the tree house. Our house was where everyone wanted to come and play! How special and loved I was. Fast forwarding to the present, through highs and lows of her many medical struggles, I continue to be in awe of all she encompasses, her strength, her creativity, her compassion. I count my blessings of still having both parents here and now, living in the little red ranch house, “just down the lane.”

    Our Hawaii memories, yet to be made, will be all the more precious, having them there too. Yes! They are coming with us for their 60th wedding anniversary!!! In between the leis, luaus, and hulas, I will be planning times to let mom (and dad) know just how thankful I am for the gift of life and their gifts of love.

    Thank-You dear, dear Susan for triggering the past. Your gift for capturing and personifying the beauty of life from raindrops to rainbows is multiplied over and over again with all that you blog provides. I can still hear my Grandmother voice singing…”and we’ll be jolly friends for-ever-more.”

    Thank-You Susan’s mom for loving life so much and for sharing it so fully with your children. How could you have ever imagined at 17 years young, that you would soon have a little girl who, when she grew up would share that contagious, joyful love of life through books, and blogs! The seed you planted in her heart has taken root and blossomed over and over again.

    Happy Twip Susan + Joe… I will be waving!
    Georgie from NJ

  78. Shanon says:

    oh Susan … you’ve summed it all up! I’m a mother of a soon-to-be two year old daughter with her little brother growing in my belly and each day is filled with so many little trials and blessings. Motherhood is a thankless job, you are right, there are no gold stars or raises. But the love that you have for these little people is overwhelming and makes it all worthwhile. Thankyou for such a beautiful post!

    • sbranch says:

      Those words could have come straight out of my mom’s mouth … she called us all “little people” too.

      • Cathy from Golden, CO says:

        Not thankless when they grow up so good, sweet, appreciative and successful like Susan. God bless you and your little people!!!!!

  79. Laura Croyle says:

    What a Wonderful post this morning. And such a Beautiful tribute your Mom and mothers everywhere. It’s easy to see why you turned out so wonderful! You inherited so much from her! Thanks for sharing the photos and the sweet song.
    Are you all packed and ready now, for your fabulous trip?? Give Jack and Girl Kitty big hugs and kisses!! Can hardly wait for your first posting from the ship!

    • sbranch says:

      Packing seems to be sort of a hobby now . . . the thing is, we are to the point now where actual decisions have to be made!

  80. Joann says:

    Dearest Susan,

    Memory Lane indeed…. You are a wonderful daughter, a Mother’s DREAM!!! So thank you for honoring your mom because it honors all of us…. and it just shows what an amazing woman you are in every single way!!!!!!!!!!!

    yes…get to packing!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Love you bunches….I’m singing that song now….just as I did so long ago…

  81. Rosanne from Keizer, Oregon says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your lovely mother! I love the Forevermore song and have taught it to my little granddaughter, though I had forgotten the second verse – thanks for the reminder. My grown kids remember me waking them up for school with the Neil Diamond song “Turn on Your Heartlight.” (He wrote it after seeing the movie E.T.), though mostly I am a Frank Sinatra kind of girl. Loved that my hubby and daughter danced to “The Way You Look Tonight” at her wedding. Ah, the music of our lives! Can’t wait to sail away with you on Friday!

  82. Sue says:

    Oh Susan
    My sweet mom has been gone now for 14 Mother’s Days…how I wish that I could share your blog with her….we used to lay out in the grass and make pictures out of the clouds and she would sing that song to me…..I miss her so much…but you brought back all my childhood today…..because, reading about yours was just like reading about mine…Thank you so much.
    xoxo Sue M.

  83. Rita Baker says:

    I had to go in the bathroom and cry, Susan. It all sounds so familiar – I grew up during those times also so I remember what you are talking about. I was a “bonus baby” born when my sisters were all teenagers, and they left home when I was just 4 & 5 years old. But I remember my mom singing to me when I was sick – she sang “You are my Sunshine” as she carried me around the living room to try and make me feel better. Or she would help me make doll clothes from little scraps of material she had. She sewed a lot of my clothes and taught me to embroider when I was just 7 years old. My mom helped make me what I am today – I’ve inherited her can do spirit and her determination to get things done right. Bless her, and all the moms, including the 2 wonderful women who became my mothers-in-law. And bless you and your Mom, Susan. And Bon Voyage!!!

  84. Margot says:

    Tell your mother thank you for the cookie recipe, as I haven’t had those in years and I don’t have the recipe. My mom did not make them, but one of my girlfriend’s mom did. Yum!!! Love that song and so do others I know, so a friend of mine downloaded it for us. I still have my dollies.
    I have an auntie who never had children, but she is like a second mother to us. So to all you girlfriends…Happy Mother’s Day ahead!!!

  85. Jacqui G says:

    Hi Susan! My Mom always sang around the house, and she used to play her albums from the Broadway musicals. We all grew up knowing all kinds of show tunes and of course this made us all want to get involved with theatre and be in plays 🙂 I told you about my sister’s wedding cruise I just got back from, well my 75 year old Mom got up on Karaoke night and sang “That’s why the Lady is a Tramp” – she was the hit of the cruise ship! (Now, you have such a nice voice and you should sing on your cruise ship too on Karaoke night!) xoxo Jacqui

    • sbranch says:

      It’s easy to do in the kitchen with just the kitty, but MUCH different in a group! 🙂

  86. Laurie W.--MA says:

    This is a link to the author of the lyrics and music–Saxie Dowell.

    Any surprise that he was also the composer of “Three Little Fishes?” (“Boop, boop, diddum daddum waddum CHEW!)

    My mother sang both to me and I will be sure to show her your website when we share Mother’s Day together. She is 83 and enjoys great health. We are so fortunate!

    Looking forward to following your trip to England–esp. to Beatrix Potter’s home. I am a retired school librarian and bought the Wedgwood Peter Rabbit dishes when I visited London as a college student in 1971 and gave them to my mother.

  87. Kathleen Spitz says:

    Susan, your post touched my heart strings. I lost my mother a year ago, and remembering her , and all we shared brings a smile to my face. Your photos today brought those memories back like a floodgate. Thank you for always helping us to appreciate the present, and enjoy the past. Enjoy your cruise.

  88. Vickie in Olympia says:

    Thank you for again sharing your talent of putting your heart on paper in words and art. Thank your Mom (and Dad) for nuturing your soul and talent that you can share with us. Such good memories. Such a lovely voice (my youngest once put his hand over my mouth and said, “No, Mommy,” while I was “singing” silly songs. LOL (it didn’t stop me)

  89. Your Mom really does sound like a very special Mother, Susan. It is easy to see that you inherited your talents and love of life from her! Women of her era were able to do so much with so little and be happy for what they had. Anything extra usually went to the children.
    I have fond memories of my Dad singing “Mairzy Doats” all the time when we were young, so thank you for that song selection today! I also loved the “Playmate” song but had forgotten the second stanza, so thank you Susan for that memory! I’m going to write it don’t so I don’t forget it again. You have a lovely voice, so don’t be shy about singing for us again! 🙂

    I lost my Mom in January of this year, so it will be my first Mother’s Day without her. I plan to do as I always did and bake a cake and make a special dinner in her honor, and I will go to the cemetery to put some flowers on her grave. I am happy to think of her reunited in heaven with my Dad, and that she lived a long and happy life.

    Cherish your Mom while you still have her and tell her every day you love her!


  90. Lois Pearsey says:

    It is through teary eyes that I read that sweet tribute to your mom. I am one of 4 sisters and my mom worked tireless cooking, cleaning, iron, startching, sewing for us girls. One day is truly not enough to pay tribute to these dear ladiesl. THat SONG~~ My mom sang that to us and I sang it to my sons and my grandchildren. I didn’t think that anyone else in the world had every heard it other that my and my sister. Thanks you for the fun memory.
    blessings to you.

  91. Nancy M. says:

    How Sweet!!! Thank you for sharing Forevermore… it!

  92. Sarah says:

    I know that “Mares eat oats and does eat oats” song! We used to sing that when I was little. My favorite line of yours from this whole post is “She had the happy gene and she spread it around like the frosting on a three layer cake.” 🙂 What a gal. By the way, your mom looks GORGEOUS in that picture of her as a young girl. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on moms with us today. Makes me glad to have one and to BE one! 🙂

  93. peg says:

    So miss my mom, Sue…and both grandmothers! Many of your posts just go to show that we are kindred spirits tied by the many same experiences we shared with our families. The photos are darling (of course) and I never get tired of looking at those pictures of days gone by. Thank you, dear Sue, for your homage to the mothers and caregivers that, through the years, have taken a house and made it a h♥me. xo

  94. Deborah says:

    Thank you for a beautiful post! I sing some of those silly little dittys to my grandson, and he loves them! Right now on my cell, my ring tone is him singing, “I’m a Little Teapot”. How can we not love those little old fashioned songs??? I also sing him “Playmates”, but had to make up half of it, cause I didn’t remember it all!! Thank you for sharing!!! Growing up in your extended and joyful family was surely what has made you who you are today, Susan.

  95. Mary S. says:

    I love and adore all your blogs, but I think this one is my most favorite ever!!
    How wonderful and beautiful your mother was!! Mine was, too!! My dad left us when I was about 12 and never sent us any money, but my mother sacrificed to buy a complete set of Longines Classical Records – she made monthly payments on them. She sang to us a lot and taught me (my brother didn’t pay any attention!) all those old songs you mentioned, including “Playmate”! When she wasn’t singing, she was playing the records, which taught us a love of classical music.
    She is 89 now, and every once in a while she will think of another song that I never heard. I’ll say, “You never taught me that one!!” and I’ll have her write it down. 🙂

  96. Dale Worness says:

    Hi Susan..Do you know who else you sound like? Patti Page! Remember “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window”? You really do have a great singing voice. May we expect to hear you singing Christmas carols next December? PLEASE!!! I do remember 2 girls named Wendy & Barbara singing the “Playmate” song and “Davy Crockett” in my first grade class in MA in 1954. About 4 years ago when I was in MI visiting a friend I mentioned it to her & she sang it for me. I hadn’t heard it in all that time!
    Loved your sweet message to your Mom. She will be thrilled, I know. So nice your Dad could comment on it also.
    I’ve just started re-connecting with my former grade school & high school classmates through FB and am having a great time. Some even made comments on my own Mom, one about the Halloween parties she used to give and the games we had played. I had forgotten all about that. Another made a comment about what a sweet Christian she was. THAT I do remember! 🙂

  97. Sandy Richmond says:

    Susan, What a wonderful tribute to your mom.. She deserves to wear Wonder Woman cuffs! I love being a mom, and I miss my mom (and dad) so much…
    I can’t believe your trip is almost here.. so exciting..!!! So happy for you!

  98. Barbara says:

    Susan, thank you for sharing your Mommy memories with all of us. She was truly a beautiful young woman and mother, obviously inside and out. I love how all of your memories and music remind me so much of my childhood. Sometimes I wonder if we didn’t all live under the same roof. I think, maybe in the land of girlfriends-to-be, we did.
    PS….so excited to be going to England with you 😉

  99. Melissa says:

    Thank you Susan. I really needed to hear that today. Some days it is *so* hard and the pork chops just do not get it. And reading your post reminded me that they *will* get it someday and it is all so worthwhile. ♥

    • sbranch says:

      The pork chops can be very bad, this is true, and being a mom is so difficult. I remember, as a little brat child, telling my mother “I hate you” and she always always always had the same answer, an answer I just loved to hear, she would say, “Well, I LOVE you.” 🙂

  100. Susan, I cannot tell you how much this blog touched my heart and want to thank you for all that you said about Mothers. I too had such a magical childhood and a wonderful Mother who stayed at home and worked so hard for all of us while Dad was out trying to make a living for us. My Dad was a 20 yr. Air Force Master Sargent Retiree and finding a job after we came back to his childhood farm wasn’t easy. I admire and thank my Mother whenever I talk to her for all of her sacrifices and believe me that generation of women gave up everything for their families. I have always wondered if my Mother felt like she missed out on a dream or two, and one day I told her that she raised a wonderful family and now her Grandchildren and two Great Grandchildren appreciate and will always honor her and that is the best legacy anyone could leave. I also have a habit of humming when I’m cooking, doing chores, and even shopping. I don’t think I’m even aware that I do this. I chose the path of being an at home Mother and also made the choice to not have 2 cars, yearly vacations, etc. and have never regretted doing that. When I became a Mother it allowed me to be active in my daughter’s school and go on field trips and become very close to her classmates over the 12 years she was in school. I don’t think Mother’s think of doing without as sacrifices or at least I do not, I love being a Mother and feel very blessed to still have my Mother who is approaching 85. Your blog sounded so much like my life and by being in the service we travelled in a station wagon across the U.S. and I could write a book on what happened inside that car with a sister that got car sickness….I do not need to say more!! I know your Mother is so very proud of you, and she raised a very special woman in you and your caring heart is bound to touch your nieces/nephews so someday they will talk about Aunt Susan like you just did your Mother. Thank you for this moving blog.

    • One more quick thing….your current “Playmate” is sweet, curious, JACK!! How cute he was walking across what you were trying to sing from..haha and I might add you did a very good job.

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