Category Archives: memories for grandchildren


George Eliot, pseudonym for Mary Ann Evans, was a novelist, journalist and translator in the 1800s

George Eliot, pseudonym for Mary Ann Evans, was a novelist, journalist and translator in the 1800s

Mary, between her sisters Wanda and Ruth LaVonne. Mom is wearing one of the hats she created...and gave up on after awhile.

Mary, between her sisters Wanda and Ruth LaVonne. Mom is wearing one of the hats she created…and quit creating after awhile.  She finally stopped wearing hats.

Dear Mom,

“It is never too late to be what you might have been,” according to George Eliot (pseudonym used by Mary Ann Evans, 1819-1880).  For the last two posts, we’ve been discussing sewing, embroidering, knitting, etc., and quite a few of our blog friends wrote that they wished they’d been taught to do some of those crafts.

The good news is that George Eliot was right: It’s never too late.

For instance, Roosevelt “Rosey” Grier, former football player for the NY Giants and the LA Rams,  later was also a bodyguard for Robert Kennedy.  Rosey is seriously strong and rugged, and he was one of the NY Giants’ original Fearsome Foursome,  so he caught the gender-sewing issue off guard when he added needlepoint and macramé to his talents. Some of his creations became so popular that there was demand for his patterns.

And now, Mom, for my favorite “never too late” story, let’s tell our friends about your freshman year in college. At the last minute you needed a long dress for a formal dance.  When you took your gown out of the clothing bag, there was a loose thread. You pulled it, and–z-i-p!–you unraveled the entire hem.

You’d learned basic embroidery and quilting when you made your bird-pattern quilt, but you’d never learned to hem a skirt or do any practical needle work beyond sewing on buttons.

Ever resourceful, you ended up using safety pins to hold the hem in place. And when you ran out of safety pins, you finished the job with masking tape. You said that when you danced, you made an odd-sounding rustle. After that, you told Grandma you were ready and eager to learn “real” sewing.

By the time you were married and had children, you could make everything from hats (see picture) to underwear (no picture available…) You even dismantled one of your long wool winter coats and created a little coat for me. You made it with a big collar, and I was truthful when I said it made me look like “one of those people who came over on that boat.” (I think I meant the Pilgrims.) You also made a little jacket for David out of the wool, but I don’t remember him ever having to wear it.

Pablo Picasso said, “Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not. ”

I would add this, Mom. You saw what needed to be done and asked someone to teach you the basics. After that, there was no stopping you.

Picasso also said, “The chief enemy of creativity is good sense,” and  you proved this point by creating hats, underwear, and Pilgrim-style coats.  But other than those few examples, you created amazing, beautiful and useful things.               Hats off to George Eliot, Rosey Grier, and Mary Shepherd!

It's Not Too Late!

It’s Not Too Late!

Popular theme of writers and artists: Create Your Own Happiness.

Popular theme of writers and artists: Create Your Own Happiness.


Filed under art, art projects, Dementia/Alzheimer's, Fort Scott Kansas, lessons about life, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren, special quotations


Mom's Wild Roses stitchery framed in a 36" hoop (circa 1968)(all photos by Marylin Warner)

Mary Shepherd’s Wild Roses stitchery framed in a 36″ hoop (circa 1968)(all photos by Marylin Warner)

Marylin's 20"x26" framed Mixed Wildflowers, 1973

Marylin’s 20″x26″ framed Mixed Wildflowers, 1973

1988--Mary's granddaughter, Molly, age 10, creates Clay Hand with Weaving.

1988–Mary’s granddaughter, Molly, age 10, created Clay Hand with Weaving

Dear Mom,

I remember when you taught me to thread a needle. It was a big darning needle, which assured my first attempt was successful. By the time I was ten I could thread small-eyed, delicate needles with silk thread and do basic stitches on squares of cotton cloth.

During the spring and summer, we planted bulbs and seeds so our yard—and our vases—would blossom with the beauty of flowers.  During the winter, when you created poetry and wove sentences into stories, you also ‘grew’ flowers with colorful threads that adorned pillow cases and wall hangings.  Because of you, I could use your sewing machine to ‘create’ simple shifts and jumpers by the time I was thirteen, which was about the same time I also began to ‘hunt and peck’ the words of my stories on your typewriter.

It’s almost Thanksgiving, Mom, and I am thankful for oh-so-many, many things. But as the snow falls, the temperature drops and the calendar creeps toward the end of another year, I am especially thankful for my love of sewing, growing and writing. And many other skills, too, but those are another story.


Judy Berman of, is a writer, teacher and former reporter whose posts I enjoy and respect immensely. Recently she nominated “Things I Want To Tell My Mother” for The WordPress Family Award.  It has been a long time since I’ve accepted awards for my blog, but several writers helped me understand that the Family Award isn’t for me and my writing…it’s for my mother and the stories of her life.  With that in mind, Judy, I gratefully accept your nomination on behalf of  Mary Shepherd.

Many of the blogs I appreciate deserve this award, and several have already received it.  This is my mother’s award, though, and so I happily nominate these three whose posts and comments I have shared with her, and whose talents and messages reflect her own.

Robyn’s photography of flowers and nature is amazing and inspiring, and she includes perfect quotes like this by Robert Mapplethorpe: “When I work, and in my art, I hold hands with God.”

Darla McDavid writes touching and real stories about her own family; she also writes helpful, specific and supportive posts for writers of all levels. This is a combination of topics near and dear to my mother’s life…and her heart.

Vivian’s blog is a combination of opportunities for writers, ideas for parents, activities and books for children, and recipes for everyone. It’s everything my mother enjoyed before the dementia, and even now she samples Vivian’s delicious recipes.



Filed under art, art projects, Dementia/Alzheimer's, Fort Scott Kansas, making a difference, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren, The WordPress Family Award

AND ON THE 7th Day…

Summer Bing Cherries (all photos by Marylin Warner)

Summer Bing Cherries, perfect for seed spitting.  (all photos by Marylin Warner)



An example of SCUD comedy by a young Grace who understands the fun of "Savor the Comic, Unplug the Drama"

An example of SCUD comedy by a young Grace who enjoys  the fun of “Savor the Comic, Unplug the Drama”   


Rebecca Pavlenko wrote: “This day is a journey: this very moment is an adventure.”

With that in mind, let’s look at the significance of seven days in July, beginning today, the 6th.  Today is International Kissing Day. It grew out of the United Kindgom’s National Kissing Day, and it is not intended as a formal gesture but as a pleasurable and affectionate kiss. A chocolate Hersey’s Kiss is acceptable, too, as is texting kisses, but nothing beats a kiss and a hug from someone special.

Sunday, July 7, is International Cherry Pit Spitting Day. Since 1974, Eau Claire, Michigan has held a cherry pit spitting contest each year, and the current world record is 100′, 4″. But please refrain from spitting pits while in your house of worship on Sunday.

Monday, July 8, is SCUD DAY, which stands for “Savor the Comic, Unplug the Drama.”   Make it your goal to ditch the drama and appreciate the comic value of life. This is a day to laugh and encourage laughter.

Tuesday, July 9, is National Sugar Cookie Day. The American version of the sugar cookie originated in the 1700s with German settlers in Pennsylvania. This day’s sweet treat is a natural follow up for yesterday’s SCUD Day to keep you smiling.

Wednesday, July 10, is Clerihew Day, paying tribute to Edmund Clerihew Bentley (born July 10, 1875). He created the “Clerihew,” a 4-line light-hearted verse about a person.  The person’s name or nickname is the first line; all other lines are about the personality or talents. The last words on lines 1 & 2 rhyme, and the last words on lines 3 & 4 rhyme.  Come on, poets. Share you talent and write a Clerihew for us.  Please, please, please.

Thursday, July 11, is Cheer Up The Lonely Day. Visit someone, send a card, take in a meal, call and chat—choose one person who could use some cheering up—think of the impact if, all on the same day, each of us did this in a thoughtful, genuine way for one person!

Friday, July 12, is Simplicity Day, a reminder to look for ways to simplify our lives and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. This holiday marks the birthday of Henry David Thoreau, who advocated a life of simple and sustainable living.

July 12, the 7th Day listed on this post, is also—drum roll, please—the 95th birthday of Mary Elizabeth Shepherd, my mother, the woman who is the focus and inspiration of this blog,“Things I Want To Tell My Mother.”  Happy Birthday, Mom!  And in spite of the dementia, “…this day, this moment is an adventure.”  I love you, Mom.  Marylin

Happy 95th birthday, Mary Shepherd!

Happy 95th birthday, Mary Shepherd!


Filed under birthday celebrations, celebrations, Dementia/Alzheimer's, Henry David Thoreau, lessons about life, making a difference, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren, special quotations, Things to be thankful for

Looking Fear In The Face: Sad Anniversaries

Black Forest Fire, Channel 5 news, Colorado Springs

Black Forest Fire, Channel 5 news, Colorado Springs

Rescued horse: Ch. 11 news, Colo. Spgs.

Rescued horse: Ch. 11 news, Colo. Spgs.

Army plane spraying fire, Ch. 13 news, Colo. Spgs.

DC-10 spraying the fire,
Ch. 13 news, Colo. Spgs.

Last year, the Waldo Canyon Fire closed the Garden of the Gods, burnt the Flying W to the ground and destroyed 346 homes in Colorado Springs.  On the anniversary this year, fires again rage, this time in Black Forest. The numbers from last year have been passed, and firefighters, soldiers and pilots still fight the flames while residents are evacuated and animals are cared for by the kindness of strangers throughout the county.  Canon City and The Royal Gorge south of us also fight fires.

June 11 was the 5th anniversary of the tornado that ripped through Chapman, Kansas and destroyed much of the town. Our daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren live in Chapman, and their 1893 house took a beating. Our granddaughter had been excited about starting 1st grade, but all three of the consolidated schools were gone.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross said: “The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.”

She describes what we’ve witnessed first hand, during the fires of Colorado, after the tornado in Kansas, and according to others’ observations in Oklahoma and throughout the country. Natural disasters and man-made tragedies cause horrific losses to property, life, health and hope. And yet, those who survive these disasters keep moving, one step at a time, and often emerge stronger, kinder, more grateful and hopeful than ever.

Eleanor Roosevelt said: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

And from J.R.R. Tolkien’s FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, we take hope for what will eventually follow:

All that is gold does not glitter, /  Not all those who wander are lost;  /

The old that is strong does not wither, / Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken, / A light from the shadows shall spring; /

Renewed shall be blade that was broken, / The crownless again shall be king.

Chapman house after tornado

Chapman house after tornado

Chapman house after major restoration.

Chapman house after major restoration.


Filed under lessons about life, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren, special quotations, Spiritual connections, Things to be thankful for


A garden rose in lavender. (All pictures by Marylin WArner)

A garden rose in lavender.
(All pictures by Marylin WArner)

Patron Saint of Lovers

Patron Saint of Lovers

Santa Ana

Santa Ana

Dear Mom,

In LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, Jane Austen wrote this: “The Very first moment I beheld him, my heart was irrevocably gone.”

It’s true, isn’t it, Mom?  One glance, and you can lose your heart.

I’m going to share the poem you wrote in 1990 and show our readers just how true love at first glance was in your experience.

“SHOPPING MALL ROMANCE”   ~by Mary Shepherd

Surrounded by parcels I sat there,

On a bench in the shopping park mall.

I had finished my Christmas shopping

And in exhaustion feared I might fall.


I could see him coming toward me;

His eyes sought mine all the while.

I tenderly watched his quick footsteps.

He held out his arms with a smile.


I glanced at the pretty young lady

Who possessively grabbed for his hand.

Did she know what a treasure she held there?

The greatest in all our fair land.


He fell on my lap and clung to me.

I patted his plump-diapered rear:

A seventy-two-year-old grandma,

And a fifteen-month toddler so dear.

I love this poem, Mom. Every child is precious to you, and each one makes you fall in love.  What a wonderful, creative way to live!

In her book, THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION, author Brene Brown says there is no such thing as “creative and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t.”

Thanks, Mom, for a lifetime of using your creativity.   Love, Marylin

Mary's great-grandchildren, Grace and Gannon

Mary’s great-grandchildren,
Grace and Gannon

single rose


Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, lessons about life, Mary Shepherd's poetry, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren, special quotations, Things to be thankful for


Best Moment Award for post, "Que Sera, Sera"

Best Moment Award for post, “Que Sera, Sera”

Dear Mom,

Do you remember the December 2012 post “Que Sera Sera”?  It was about our neighbor building a fallout shelter, and the funny secret–and a serious lesson–you shared with me about why we didn’t want to also build a shelter.

Last week Brittnay DeLong of selected “Que Sera Sera” for a special award. The BEST MOMENT AWARD is different from other awards because it’s for only one post, a reader’s favorite “best moment.”  “Que Sera Sera” was one of your favorite posts, too.  When I read the post aloud to you, we laughed about how the schools had children hiding under their desks, and parents were encouraged to have special “plans” ready during the Cold War. (For the complete post, go to )  For both of us, Mom, I proudly accept this award and sincerely thank Brittnay.

Today our blog, “Things I Want To Tell My Mother,” is nominating 8 special, specific posts for the BEST MOMENT AWARD.  These are truly  exceptional and memorable posts, and we hope our readers will click on the links and enjoy them:

~Darla Writes

~The Best Chapter

~Poems from Oostburg, Wisconsin[anne-lamott/


~Just Rod

~Wacky World of Writing

The last two award nominees have very diverse posts, but their stories about being bloggers (one in America and the other in the UK) who became friends and visited with their families and then wrote posts about the visit deserve an award for each of them!

~Is it me?

~Julia Barrett’s World


Rules for the BEST MOMENT AWARD:  1. These nominees (now winners) repost these rules completely after their acceptance speech. 2. Winners now have the privilege of awarding the next awardees! The re-post should include a Thank You for those who helped them, a NEW list of people and blogs worthy of the award (up to 15), and the winners posted here will then notify their choices with the great news of receiving this special award.    Download the award's logo at and post it with your acceptance.yellow yarrow

Cold War prep. ~ LIFE Mag.

Cold War prep. ~ LIFE Mag.

Marylin Warner and her mother Mary Shepherd with "Flat Grace" project

Marylin Warner and her mother Mary Shepherd with “Flat Grace” project


Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, making a difference, memories for grandchildren, The BEST MOMENT AWARD

100th Post on “Things I Want To Tell My Mother”

1978 ~ Mary reading to two of her grandchildren

1978 ~ Mary reading to two of her grandchildren

2007 ~ Mary reading to her great-grandchildren

2007 ~ Mary reading to her great-grandchildren

Dear Mom,

Wow, May 4th is ONE HUNDRED posts on our blog!  Amazing.

Our first post was on September 1st of  2011. Since then we’ve shared stories about your life growing up on the farm in Missouri, raising your own family in Kansas, helping children through teaching, volunteering with CASA, and stepping in to help anyone who needed help.  We’ve held writing contests with cash prizes in your name—Mother’s Day Greeting Card Writing, Christmas Memories, and Poetry Writing—and we’ve shared some of your poems, essays and illustrated stories.  We’ve reminded readers of many unusual days on the calendar and posted inspiring quotes, favorite recipes and titles of books we’ve enjoyed.  We’ve featured friends and your great-grandchildren as guest bloggers, and we’ve shared information about Alzheimer’s and dementia.

We never missed a week, and some weeks we posted twice!

In the process, we greeted visitors and made new friends from all over the United States, from the UK, Canada, Australia, India, Israel and sixty-four other countries. These are readers who’ve laughed with us, cried at some of our stories, and cheered us on by sharing their stories. We are very grateful for all of them.

Today, for our 100th post we’re going to share some interesting details about May, the month of our celebration.

The Roman poet Ovid wrote that the month of May is named for the maiores, Latin for “elders.”  In 1963, President John F. Kennedy established May as Older Americans Month. This is a month to respect seniors and celebrate longevity, which includes you, Mom, at the respectful age of almost 95!

When I was in elementary school, on the last day of April you and I made little holders of rolled construction paper and braided yarn for the handles. On May 1st we picked crocus, daffodils and tulips, or if spring didn’t cooperate we filled the holders with small cookies and candy. I’d hang the little May Day baskets from the front door knobs of older neighbors’ houses, ring the bell, call out “Happy May Day!” and hurry away.

Next week, May 8th is No Socks Day for all ages.  The idea is to set your toes free and give your feet a breath of fresh air. Go barefoot and smile at the comfort of cool grass, warm sand or swishing water.

The next day, May 9th, follow up with Lost Sock Memorial Day. Search through drawers or behind the dryer, but if you can’t find the missing sock, take its lonely mate and give it a solitary use: as a dust cloth, a holder for buttons or coins, or make a hand puppet for a child or a chew toy for a pet. Or just dispose of it (gently, of course).

Next Sunday is the well known and widely celebrated Mothers Day, May 12.

A lesser known day is Saturday, May 11—Birth Mothers Day—which is more private. This day was originally set up for mothers to spend quiet moments thinking about or praying for the children they gave up for adoption…or for adopted children to do the same for their birth mothers.  It is intended as an anonymous tribute, and some houses of worship have special candles or flower vases set up for Birth Mothers to give prayers and thanks for the love and care given by Adoptive Mothers.

And finally, the last week of May is National Simultaneous Storytime, which we wish American parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians would vote to implement for our nation’s children.  In Australia, children’s libraries hold a special event where all public and school librarians read aloud the same book on the agreed upon day, at 11AM EST, to the children everywhere in Australia!

Well, Mom, this has been our 100th post. Let’s thank our reading friends and give them cyber hugs for sharing in our adventure…and then it’s nap time.  Next week is post #101, and we’ll need our rest.

2010 ~ Mary's great-grandchildren on farmer-type playground toys in Kansas (all photos by Marylin Warner)

2010 ~ Mary’s great-grandchildren on farmer-type playground toys in Kansas (all photos by Marylin Warner)

1983 ~ Alien children on Mary's front porch

1983 ~ Alien grandchildren on Mary’s front porch


Filed under celebrations, Dementia/Alzheimer's, lessons about life, making a difference, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren, neighbors, spending time with kids, Things to be thankful for, writing


Chicken soup. It's not just for colds and flu.  (All pictures by Marylin Warner)

Chicken soup. It’s not just for colds and flu. (All pictures by Marylin Warner)

Dear Mom,

When I began writing this blog, my goal was to remember, collect and record as many special memories about you as possible so your grandchildren and great-grandchildren could know how special and wonderful you are. Along the way, you’ve had hours and days when your dementia took a break, and I’ve read to you some of the blog posts and comments from the readers.

This week I would have loved for you to be alert and aware enough to read a very special email from a wonderful friend you and I met through this blog. (  In our blog last week, I reminded readers about the upcoming April 10 “Encourage a Young Writer” Day. Here is an excerpt of Darla McDavid’s reply:

Hi, Marylin:

I spoke with Chiara for Encourage a Young Writer Day.  Chiara is a fourth grade student who wants to write “adventure and fantasy books” when she grows up. I told Chiara your mother’s name and age, and explained how Mary would love to be standing with her right then to encourage her, if only she could. Then I spoke in Mary’s name and encouraged her to follow that dream. Chiara smiled as she listened.She said to tell your mother “Thank you,” spoken in that pure, sincere way of a child…

With many, many thanks to Darla. Because of her kindness, April 10 also became the day to Encourage an Older Writer and Her Mother.  Each month when I visit you in Kansas, Mom, I will read aloud to you Darla’s full account of working with Chiara. During one of our visits, I believe you will understand and know what a gift this was. To Chiara, to you…and to me.

For the rest of us, it’s no secret that we live in difficult times, face pressures and problems, and often feel overwhelmed by the many demands and disappointments. How do you survive…and thrive?  If you have an experience, a special technique or routine for meeting and defeating obstacles, how about sharing it with others?  In the words of Marcus Aurelius, “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”

Here are the full details for an excellent writing opportunity from Santa Fe.

30 Days to Sanity: We Want Your Stories!

Do you have heartwarming, insightful, and powerfully moving true stories about how to stay sane in this chaotic 24/7 world? A co-author of the New York TimesBest-selling book series Chicken Soup for the Soul is currently seeking personal stories to be included in 30 Days to Sanity, an online stress/resiliency program. We’re looking for inspirational true stories that give a personal account of an event, an obstacle overcome, a strategy to remain sane, or a lesson learned that helps the reader discover basic principles they can use in their own lives.

Some of the topics we will include are: Getting to Know Yourself, Your Needs & Dreams, Getting Your Priorities Straight, Learning to Listen to Your Heart, Discovering Your Passion, Setting Aside Time for You, Balancing Work & Family, Building a Soulful Community, Learning to Love Your Body, Taking a Mini-Vacation or Playcation, Setting Limits Both at Work and at Home, Putting Technology to Work for You, Making a Meaningful Contribution to the World, Growing From the Bumps in Your Life, Making Technology Free Times to Truly Connect, Creating a Space Just For You, Making Sacred Time for Your Family, Eliminating Time Wasters and Energy Suckers, Managing Technology, Banishing Your Guilt, Celebrating Your Gifts and Strengths, Expressing Appreciation to a Friend or Loved One, Asking for Help or Support, Discovering an Attitude of Gratitude, Using Life as Your Teacher, Cultivating Compassion, or Comic Relief (humorous stories about funny things you’ve done while stressed).  Submit as many stories as you’d like.

Story Length: Up to 1,200 words  Submission Deadline: June 1, 2013

Compensation: $100 one-time use fee for each story accepted for publication

Submit to: stephanie@30daystosanitycom or to 30 Days to Sanity, Box 31453, Santa Fe, NM 87594-1453 (please keep copies as we are unable to return submissions).

How Do You Stay Sane During Rough and Tumble Times???

Do you turn lemons into lemonade?

Do you turn lemons into lemonade?

Do you pray and light a candle?

Do you pray and light a candle?

Do you cuddle with a buddy?

Do you cuddle with a buddy?


Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, friends, importance of doing good things, lessons about life, making a difference, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren


Mary Elizabeth Shepherd, age 94 1/2  (all pictures by Marylin Warner)

Mary Elizabeth Shepherd now, age 94 1/2 (all pictures by Marylin Warner)

The Shepherd family, 1962

The Shepherd family, 1962

Earlier pictures of Mary

Mary, 1938 and 1988

Dear Mom,

In 1980, you wrote “In God We Trust,” typed a final copy on your manual Remington typewriter, and entered it in an Easter contest. It didn’t win. In fact, one judge wrote on your returned entry that the poem was supposed to be about Easter.  I remember you studying the poem and saying you thought that was exactly what it was about.

I agreed then, Mom, and I still do. And deep inside, I think I’m probably not the only one.

Good job, Mom. Now we’ll share it with our friends.   Love, Marylin

"In God We Trust" by Mary Elizabeth Shepherd, 1980

“In God We Trust” by Mary Elizabeth Shepherd, 1980


Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren, writing


Cumulonimbus clouds. Picture by Marylin Warner, taken from window of a moving car!

Cumulonimbus clouds. Picture by Marylin Warner, taken from window of a moving car!

Cirrus clouds. (Picture taken by Marylin Warner)

Cirrus clouds. (Picture taken by Marylin Warner)

Cumulus clouds over mountain range. (Picture by Marylin Warner)

Cumulus clouds over mountain range. (Picture by Marylin Warner)







Dear Mom,

Recently Matt Meister, Chief Meteorologist at our local KRDO News Channel 13, gave a tour to classrooms of elementary-age students. One of my favorite comments was from a fifth-grader from Pueblo: “My Nana told me that clouds are God painting the sky, but you said they are made of water.”

Meister took the boy, his class and teacher outside and showed them the cirrus clouds. He pointed out how the clouds looked like a paintbrush had made them, and then he said, “It’s pretty obvious to me that your Nana is right, but maybe she forgot that God uses watercolors!”

I knew you would like that story, Mom. I remember when I was about that age and you came out and sat down beside me on the lawn. You joined me in finding people and animals in the thick, puffy cumulus clouds floating overhead. One wispy, thin cirrus cloud trailed off by itself, and you said it reminded you of a poem. Later we looked up William Wordsworth’s “I wandered lonely as a cloud ~ that floats on high o’er vales and hills ~ When all at once I saw a crowd, A host of golden daffodils…”  The next time you got out your watercolors, we tried painting clouds.

They were a lot harder to paint than they looked, and I got frustrated. I was probably whining and complaining when you finally took out a box of supplies. You gave me chalk and colored pencils, a Big Chief Tablet and crayons. You told me to draw clouds on the sidewalk or color clouds on the tablet with crayons or pencils. It didn’t matter, as long as I kept trying until I was proud of the clouds I made. As the British writer G.K. Chesterton wrote: “There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.”

What a lesson I learned that day, Mom! You taught me that creating something was important, worth my best effort. You also taught me to try, try again until I was proud of my efforts, and to be my own critic.

When I think of that lesson, I remember that Chesterton also wrote this: “The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.”

I love you, Mom, and all the gentle, real lessons you taught me. You don’t remember them, but I do, and I’ll share them with your grandchildren and great-grandchildren so they’ll know the lessons, too, and know they came from you.

Symbols of clouds and rain.Acryllic painting by Marylin Warner

Symbols of clouds and rain.
Acryllic painting by Marylin Warner


Filed under art, art projects, Dementia/Alzheimer's, lessons about life, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren