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For Mother’s Day Ancestry.com Invites Us to “Honor Our Moms & the Things They Pass Down to Us”

Ancestry.com invites you to honor your mom by watching the video below and  then share what your mother passed down to you.    By clicking on the link above you can enter a contest.  There will be prizes given out up until May 21st.  You could win a World Explorer subscription, a DNA kit & a copy of Family Tree Maker 2012.  You enter the contest by submitting the most important thing your mother passed down to you.

My memories of my mom are below.



July 11th, 1920 ~ November 2nd, 2008

My grandmother Clara Wood, my mom Ethel W. Campbell, and myself Karen S. Campbell way back in the 1960s..

My grandmother Clara Wood, my mom Ethel W. Campbell, and myself Karen S. Campbell way back in the 1960s.

My Mom was a saint.  She has qualities I wish I could  make my own. When I was a child, I would watch her at prayer in church. I realized that she was experiencing something special and unique between her and God. I was convinced a long long time ago that she has a deep spiritual life; an inner life, which I know was both rich and weighty.  In my own spiritual journey, the importance of simplicity has grown in importance over the years.  Once when I expressed this to her, she said that she felt that “we” have always lived in a “simple” way.  I don’t know how well “we” have lived simply, but truly, she had done so.  If you define “simplicity” as “knowing what is important and not getting bogged down in the superficial or expedient,” that was certainly true of Mom.  She also loved silence and would prefer the TV, radio, or any noise maker off rather than on.  Her strength was found in “the sound of silence.

Mom has always been a pillar of stability in my life. In times of turmoil she was an island of steadiness and sound advice.  I came to learn and appreciate that she was always right!  She was not one to press her opinion, especially in any kind of disagreement, but when she did voice her point-of-view, in her own quiet way, she was incredibly insightful.  When I would be utterly befuddled by people’s behavior, her understanding would often take my breath away.  Her advice would be to accentuate kindness and the positive.  She never felt the need to “win” but wanted “peace” and constancy. I think she just wanted everybody to be happy.  She was not naive, however.  She knew there were some dysfunctional people she couldn’t help because only they could help themselves. But, even in difficult situations she was slow to anger.  She never insisted on her way alone.  She did not approach life espousing absolutes or ideology but approached people with an open heart and wanted to trust people.  She was one of those wonderful people who always wanted to help.

Mom was incredibly healthy and didn’t have any bad habits.  She never smoked, never over-ate, never drank coffee, she always stuck to her high-cholesterol diet, and got a good amount of exercise and sleep.  She did this not to fulfill any religious rules or doctor’s directives.  She did it simply because she didn’t want to smoke, overeat, or drink coffee.  Part of her enjoyment of life was feeling good ~ health.  She made individual “discipline” look easy!  Oh, would it be so for me!

One of my mother’s good friends was, Pauline, a neighbor lady who had been a teacher for years.  Mom loved Pauline.  She told me many times that Pauline was a teacher, but not big-headed.  She often said that Pauline simply accepted people for who they were and treated everyone the same. This was Mom’s golden rule:  Treat everyone the same.  Treat them like you want to be treated.  Christianity is simply: Fix yourself and help others; not control them, criticize them, or judge them.  If they prove too difficult, leave them up to God.

Mom wanted to enjoy people and indeed Mom did enjoy her friends and activities.  I can’t think how many years Mom sewed with the Waynesville Quilters!  While I was still in Michigan and in ministry, this group produced mountains of baby quilts and other items for the Flint,Michigan Women’s Shelter.  As part of the sewing group at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Mom made countless baby bonnets, blankets, children’s clothes, quilts, afghans, crocheted hats, prayer shawls, and a multitude of other items.  Most of all she loved to quilt.  This love of quilting turned the house into a quilt factory!!  Mom always did everything 100%.  Another friend, Dawn, told me once that of all the quilters she ever knew, my mom was one of the few that always finished her projects. There was intensity of purpose to whatever she chose to do.  Her heart was in everything she did.

Mom loved to work.  Work hard.  Work a lot.  Work well.  Do your best at work. Love to work! Work!  Mom worked at National Cash Register Company before she married my Dad in office services and in the print shop.  The women she worked with at NCR were life-long friends and companions.  They meet monthly in each other’s homes for decades to play canasta.  Boy, Mom loved canasta!  She learned how to use a computer so she could play virtual canasta. She would play it for hours.

Mom and Dad at one time had an antique and collectible business.  Every weekend for years, they set up at Caesar’s Creek Flea-Market and had a grand time.   Both Mom and Dad were passionate collectors ~ pickers before people knew what pickers were!  They began collecting in the 1950s long before antiques came into vogue. Mom was quite a business woman.  She loved the antiques and collectibles, but, since she was always down to earth and practical, she loved to make a profit with them, too!

She was at her happiest when working.  She loved to work at her cousin Kenny’s Auctions.  She could bring her knowledge of antiques and collectibles and enthusiasm to the auctions and enjoyed them as much as any party.  She really whooped it up!  (My dad had an incredible knowledge about glassware and pottery.)

Mom had her artistic side.  She played the flute and piccolo in the Centerville High School band.  She could play the piano and the organ. When I was a kid she took up ceramics and china painting.  We had a kiln in the garage and it was fired up all the time.  Mom was a little shy about her china painting (she didn’t think it was any good) but I have always loved it and I wouldn’t let her sell everything she ever made.

She also had an interest in sports.  She loved to watch the Reds even when they lost over and over and over again.  And, she loved horse racing!  She loved to go to the races with Dad and their friends or to watch the races on TV.

Other things she loved:  “Dr. Phil.”  “The Waltons.”  Spaghetti and meatballs. “Little House on the Prairie.” Pretzels.  Hot Fudge Sundaes.  “York Peppermint Paddies.”  Chicken livers.  “Dancing with the Stars” (Mom and Dad were great ball room dancers.)  Chinese food. “trutv” (“What you goin’ to do when they come for you, bad boys, bad boys.”) Oyster stew.  Her forbidden pleasure was scallops.

Things she didn’t like:  things that divided people.

She was surprised to find out that she loved cats!  When I wanted to bring home two kitties her initial response was, “Oh no, cats don’t like me. . .”; “no animals in the house”. . .  Well, we all found out that we are “cat people,” completely owned and controlled by cats.  Mozart and Beethoven, my two tabby cats, worshiped and adored the ground my mother walked on.  When she sat down almost immediately, a cat would attach itself to her chest.  They supervised her quilt squares which she would lay out on the floor.  They sleep on piles of quilts and prayer shawls. The last book Mom read was about a famous cat, Dewey Read More Books, a library cat.

She loved to read and could read a couple of books a week easily.  That came from her days as a professional proof-reader at NCR and later at a print shop in Dayton.   I was always a little envious of how fast she could read.  So many books, so little time!

Mom was a home body and very content to stay at home.  She didn’t have wanderlust like Dad and me.  But, she’d go along on our historically themed trips throughout the United Statesas long as we stopped at every quilt and sewing shop along the way.  She had her favorite stores throughout the Midwest. She and Dad did travel  to Hawaii, England, andEurope.

Mom was pleasant and easy going. She was patient and forbearing; sometimes a little too much, I think.   Endowed with great common sense and intelligence, she was content.  I think she was an extraordinary person, but a lot of people didn’t know just how extraordinary she was because she didn’t talk about herself. As a mother, she was always patient with me.  Mom and I had very different interests, but she always encouraged me in whatever I decided to do in life.  Most of all she wanted me, as a woman, to get a good education.  She wasn’t interested in the intricacies of theology, the exegesis of Scripture, or every detail of Abraham Lincoln’s life, or Civil War strategy, or that much in local history. I tried to sew and even attempted a quilt once, but it was a total disaster!!  But, it was OK that we weren’t identical or agreed about everything.  As adults we became friends and I have memories of shared confidences and beliefs.

I can’t tell you, Mom, how much I will miss you.  If I could be half the person you are, I’d be content.  I wish I could have been a better daughter. I hope that I gave you enough support to do whatever you wanted to do during the last ten years. Mom wanted to be active till the end, and, indeed, she was up until the day she became ill.

When Mom passed, the nurse said, “There are angels in the room.”   Mom, the angels have lead you into Paradise.  The martyrs have come to greet you on your way; your new journey in everlasting life. You’ve been lead to your home in the HolyCity, the New and Eternal Jerusalem.  Choirs of angels have come to welcome you and you now rest in the arms of Abraham where Lazarus is poor no longer, and there you will find rest and fulfillment eternal   . . . and, I image, plenty of enjoyable work to do!

[Mom was the youngest daughter of Alphonso Wood and Clara Badgley Wood, born July 11, 1920 in Highland County, Ohio , outside of Mowrysstown.]


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