When I tell people stories about my childhood, they think I’m making things up. Nobody ever had the love and support that I was blessed with from their parents. Not only did I have one amazing parent, I had two. But, I’m writing this letter to you, so I’m not going to talk about Dad.
You supported every single thing I ever did. When I played baseball, Dad coached, you kept the score book. When I played hockey, you were always in the stands. When I played church basketball badly you were in the stands and then telling me how good I was. When I was in a play, you ran lines with me and then were in the audience applauding. When I played a record company showcase in NYC, you jumped on a plane, flew 3000 miles, and surprised me minutes before showtime. And this is merely the tip of the iceberg.
You never said no, you always helped to guide me and allow me to make my own decisions, even if they the wrong ones. You taught me to be strong, independent and to be able to pick myself up when I fell down. You taught me that that there was really nothing I couldn’t do, as long as I was willing to work for it, and never quit. You gave me the confidence to strive for greatness and actually believe that I could achieve it.
From the past 54 years I have thousands of memories of amazing things you did for me and taught me. I can’t possibly remember them all, but I sure do remember a lot. Some of these stories I have told hundreds of times, some I have just recently recalled. You can’t make this stuff up! And it was my life.
Thank you for making me the person that I am and always believing in me.
I know I’ve told you this many times before… if I could have picked my perfect mother, it would have been you, no question. You, and Dad, gave me a perfect childhood, which continued into adult hood.
I have nothing but happy memories of my Mom, which I will never forget.
I love you,
Celebration of Life
July 21. 2013
I’ve played in bands for over 35 years. Had I known that my mom had this kind of draw, I would have put her in the band.
I’ve known Joyce longer than all but 1 person in this room, my Dad. Every single day for nearly 55 years, I have thanked my lucky stars for making her my Mom. And I will continue thanking those stars every day for the rest of my life.
From the day I was born, I respected her, because she taught me respect, and she showed me respect. She carried herself with pride, and was always proud of us.
She taught me that there was nothing that I couldn’t do. She instilled in me a deep passion for anything that I pursued, just as she did. She always led by example. Everything she did, she did with passion from her clubs and boards and Christmas stockings to her husband, sons, grandsons and great-grandson. She went at it all with a vengeance.
Mom was a multi-tasker 40 years before the term even existed. Whether she was involved in 1 thing or 10 things, each one got her all. And while those commitments were going on, we were never shorted of her love and attention.
She encouraged individuality. She always appreciated and respected those that marched to their own beat. My wife has always said that Mom collected strays. She loved colorful people. From Gypsy, the MC of La Caux Aux Folles, to the ex-cons she employed at one of her jobs, she judged them on their own merits, and she was always right on. She loved them, and they loved her.
When I was about 11 years old, I told her that I wanted to get a guitar and take lessons. She told me that she wanted me to play a real instrument first. So, we decided I’d play the trombone. Although I had absolutely no interest in the trombone, I tried kind of. When I tell you I was the worst trombone player of all time, that’s an understatement. In an orchestra they have first chair, second chair, etc… my chair was in the parking lot. In fact, in the morning when I was leaving for school, she’d say, “Don’t forget your trombone”, I’d take it out the door, walk behind the garage and stuff it through the back window. I finally told her about it about 2 years ago.
Finally, she relented, and she and Dad got me a bass guitar for Christmas 1971. I decided that I wanted to be a musician. It definitely was not her first choice, but she vigorously supported my decision.
For my entire life, there is not one sporting event, play, speech, or award that I couldn’t look out and see her in the audience. She even sat through many rock concerts; just she and Dad and rooms full of kids. Mom and Dad were around so much, that not only did my friends accept them, they actually embraced having them around. I can’t count how many of my friends called her Maa�?.
At the age when most kids were embarrassed to have their parents around, I was proud that my Mom and Dad were so cool.
When I played baseball, Dad coached, Mom kept the score book. When I played hockey, she was always in the stands. When I played church basketball badly she was in the stands and then telling me how good I was. When I was in plays, she ran lines with me and then sat in the audience applauding.
In 1980, I decided to move to New York to chase the music dream. I could never have done that without the confidence she instilled in me. When I played a record company showcase in NYC, she jumped on a plane, flew 3000 miles, and surprised me minutes before showtime. I have a lifetime of these type of memories.
No matter what it was; if I was into something, she was into it.
When my wife Tracey and I first got together, she was with me while I was talking to Mom on the phone. As was our norm; we started talking about the usual trials and tribulations of the Chicago Cubs. After we hung up Tracey looked at me with a weird look and said, Do you think your Mom actually cares about the Cubs?
I said, As a matter of fact, yes, she does, because I do.
The last conversation Mom and I had was a great one. I told her some things I wanted to be sure she knew, but we still managed to get a few minutes in on the Cubs.
I love you Ma.