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A Tribute to Mothers

May 7, 2015


NOTE: To honor all mothers on this Mothers’ Day, I share with you the following memoir which I posted for Mothers’ Day of 2014.



Gifts from My Mother: A Mothers’ Day Tribute


By Alice Jane-Marie Massa



On Sunday, May 10, all types of mothers will be celebrated, honored, and remembered: saintly mothers and so-so mothers, adoptive mothers and adaptable mothers, mothers who have smiled on many Mothers’ Days, mothers who will be lauded on their first Mothers’ Day, and mothers-to-be. Then, I think of my mother who was last here on Earth for Mothers’ Day of 2001. While we all try to give our mothers special gifts on this special day in May, I now ponder the gifts which my mother gave to me—the second of her two daughters.


Since my family and I were from Indiana—my dad and I (and much of our extended family) were avid fans of motor racing. For many Hoosiers and race fans around the world, the month of May is equated with the Indianapolis 500—the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. My first exciting trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) was at age five. For decades, the first weekend of qualifications for the Indy 500 coincided with Mothers’ Day. Knowing what fans my dad and I were of racing, my mother probably too often generously gave us the gift of allowing us to go to the Time Trials at IMS on Mothers’ Day. I always gave her Mothers’ Day gifts, and we would take her out to eat on another day. Nevertheless, didn’t she give me an unselfish gift? Although my mother did not want us to feel guilty then, I now certainly do feel a twinge of guilt recalling how many times we spent Mothers’ Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway—almost always without her.


A very different, but important gift which my mother gave me was the gift of reading to me. Due to my eye condition, she did not just read to me when I was a child: my mother continued to read to me until Alzheimer’s robbed her of her gift of reading. Unlike most parents, mine were frequently trying to discourage me from reading print so much—they wanted me to save my eyesight by avoiding eye strain from reading too much. Consequently, my mother read chapter books to me—a chapter a night. Some of the book covers I can still picture in my mind: Little Women, The Bobbsey Twins, Annie Oakley, Fury, Wild Geese Flying. From 1985-1990, when I was coordinating the Sunday morning radio program Talking Newspaper, my mother read to me numerous articles from three newspapers so that I could select and edit each week the articles to be read by some of the fifty volunteers. Soon after this experience, I purchased my first Kurzweil reading machine and then a computer with speech software. Through a variety of means of reading and writing, I eventually found a new path in life and returned to school for a second master’s degree and then returned to full-time teaching.


A rare gift my mother gave to me was not letting my diminishing eyesight diminish my career path or opportunities. How did she feel about having a child who would gradually become blind? I do not know by what she ever said: I only know by her actions. She was always writing to specialists around the United States, and my dad would drive me to the appointments with ophthalmologists. Only once did she ever somewhat express a comment about my eyes. as my mother was driving our bright red Ford from Highway 71 to the cut-off road back home, my mother quite calmly stated: “When you were a baby, you had such big, beautiful brown eyes, I never thought ….” Her voice trailed off, and those few words were all that she ever said on the subject. How she really felt about having a daughter who is blind, I will never really know—I think this is a gift for the child and the adult child. However, without a doubt, the greatest gift my mother gave me was that she let me be—let me be myself, let me dream. She let me be. Thanks, Mom. From Earth to Heaven, Happy Mothers’ Day!


May 2, 2014, Friday



To my aunt in Minnesota, my sister in Colorado, my cousin in “Alligator Country,” my cousins in Indiana, my cousins in California and Mexico, my cousins in Oregon and Missouri, friends here and there, my niece across Lake Michigan, my niece near the Rocky Mountains, and all readers of Wordwalk—

Happy Mothers’ Day!


Alice and Zoe


May 7, 2014, Wednesday

re-posted on May 7, 2015, Thursday



From → Uncategorized

  1. Alice. From the wonderful way you capture the memory of your mom, what can I say, but you were blessed. Another post that left me with a stirring warmth. Hats off, and keep the memories coming! dp

  2. Alice, thank you for your gift of paying tribute to our dear mother on Mother’s Day through your beautifully crafted essay and poem. Your words clearly convey Mother’s strength, interests, talents, and above all, devotion. She was truly a remarkable woman, and you are her remarkable daughter!
    Love, Mary

  3. I’ve enjoyed your blog so I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award. This is designed to help bloggers with less than 200 followers gain more exposure. Please visit to learn how this works. If you have questions, feel free to e-mail me at . Happy blogging.

  4. Another favorite and perfect piece! Hoping you and Zoe enjoyed your Mother’s Day!

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