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For My Mother

July 3, 2020

Two days from now, 96 years ago my mother was born in Fresno, California, the daughter of Elmer Leroy Allen and Edna Byron. Her father was a truck driver with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the family soon moved to North Hollywood, California. Leaving the rural area of Fresno behind, my mother fully enjoyed living in North Hollywood. After all, that’s where Rita Hayworth was discovered, right?

She spent most all her youth in North Hollywood and graduated high school there in 1942. Some years later she finally met my father. He had been recently divorced and lived across the street. He became a great fishing friend of my grandfather and was gradually attracted to his daughter. They were married in 1947.

As an adult, my mother was a quiet woman of great intellectual gifts. I remember her teaching me how to read and all the effort she put into activities such as Cub Scouts, school and the like. She was very active in the education of my brother sister and me. She is in fact was the very fountain of our intellect, creativity and curiosity. How can one thank someone for so many bountiful gifts?

I remember with great fondness so many times when we all went off camping together in the wilderness. Although my mother was a city girl by upbringing, she embraced the rugged life of my father. She was pretty good with a fly rod as well as pitching a tent. There really wasn’t much she couldn’t do.

Christmas and all of the holidays were great affairs in our house. Even though my father was frequently ill and out of work, a Christmas never passed without a ton of gifts for us children. I honestly don’t know how they did it. Though we were often without money, I can’t recall a single time when any of us had to do without.  I call it the gift of good parenting.

When I was in college, my father and I would often speak German (his first language) together when I visited them. With total consistency my mother would bellow at us both, “If you’re going to speak that junk, do it out of the house!” We complied but it wasn’t until some years later that I learned that she read German fluently but she just didn’t like the sound of the language. I was somewhat shocked and would often tease her with quips in German. She would just hold her tongue, smile and mutter, “Right….”

We often have a hard time picturing our parents in their youth. By the time we really get to know them, they’ve grown old. It is only in those photos from the past that we get a clue to what it was like for them to have been so vibrant and good looking so many years ago. My mother was actually a knock-out although her personality was a bit retiring.

I am one of those rare products of the 1950’s who admired their parents and in many ways wanted to be their equal. The good examples that my mother brought into my life are without measure. From the simplest of moments to the most complex conversations, I miss my mother in my life deeply every day. All things come to an end but a child’s love will remain forever.

The nice thing about my family is that there were no words unsaid. My mother knew I loved her because I told her frequently. The same was true with my father. So when they both passed away only three weeks apart, there was no feeling of regret; lives had been richly shared and feelings affirmed.

So it happens on this day, like all others, that I remember my mother. Happy Birthday mom!

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Read author Allen E. Rizzi’s latest books available at


  1. Beautiful mother, beautiful memories!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful family. Thank your for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow a lovely woman

    Liked by 1 person

  5. She must have been a great woman and in your words you can see all the love that you felt for her. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. What a lovely tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very nice, Allen. Your mom would be proud. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lovely tribute to your mother, Allen.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You said it well: the gift of good parenting. What a loving tribute to a beautiful woman.

    Liked by 2 people

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