My Mother's Legacy

You don't have to be famous to make a difference.

When you look beyond the memorable lines, the movie "Forrest Gump", starring the incomparable Tom Hanks, has an important message.

While it obviously was fiction rooted in reality, the film demonstated how one person could have an impact on the world.

My mother, who died five days before Christmas Day, was much the same.  Although in a few cases, she saw little or no monetary benefits from it, she helped a lot of people and touched a lot of lives.

At the top of that list, certainly, were my siblings and I.  When we grew up, the "stay at home" mom was still commonplace.  My father, while he also had a major presence in the family, was away a lot because of something called "negotiations" I didn't understand until I was older.  She "held down the fort", as my dad would say, while he was gone. 

She worked for Ohio University, my parents' alma mater and mine, not as an employee, but as a volunteer with the Cleveland chapter of its Women's Club, helping to bus hundreds of students to the school's Siblings Weekend.  She also sat on an advisory committee for the university's School of Fine Arts, which oversaw her college major, English.  As was said at her funeral Monday, she "bled Green and White" (the school colors).

She worked for Planned Parenthood, and as a secretary for the Mentor City Schools transportation department, all while remaining a devoted wife and mother.

Finally, in the category of entrepreneur, she began a business called College Consultant Services, in which she advised high school students on college scholarships...not just before college, but throughout their college years.  (And, if you're wondering, most of those kids were NOT funneled to Ohio University.)  She ran that business successfully, for nearly two decades.  And it grew, not through advertising (although she did appear once on a Cleveland television program, something I've never done), but through word of mouth.

Women often dream of "having it all": wife, motherhood, success in the business world, and so on.  My mother did, although it really wasn't at the same time. 

But it was a full and satisfying life.


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