Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Tribute to My Mom (The Original "Jumbled Sunshine") On Her Special Day

Well, I started out this morning with a giant SIGH. Why? Because today is the anniversary of Mom's birthday. If she had not succumbed to the effects of heart disease, she would have turned 68 years old today. Instead, we lost her on November 5th, 2007, when she was only 60... So sad. :( 

As I think about how much technology has developed over the past 7 and a half years, I often think about how much Mom would have LOVED to be a part of it! She was so tech-savvy for her age all through the 80's, 90's and 2000's, and she was such a social person and so intrigued with learning information, that she would be just really enjoying where social media and blogging has led us during the past decade. 

Although, when I think about it very much, I realize that the technology where she is now has got to be SO incredible! I don't know if it's technology or just some incredible celestial power of awesomeness, but I guess what we're doing here on earth must pale in comparison. But still, from my perspective here, I would sure love to have enjoyed posting to her on Facebook, reading all the blogs she likely would have started, chatting with her through texts, and seeing all the fun interesting things she would share every day online. 


Here's a great picture of Mom near the end of her life. The bright colors in the kite shop represent her so well. She was truly the original Jumbled Sunshine - I am just a shadow of her bright and vivacious personality. She is truly the wind beneath my wings. 
Bonnie McCroby Wuensche - The Original "Jumbled Sunshine" (1947 - 2007)
Funny, I'm listening to Pandora while I'm typing this, and right after I started the post, a song came up that has poignant lyrics considering the occasion. It's supposed to be about a breakup, but since I was thinking about Mom when it came on, the lyrics took on a new meaning. Here they are: 

"Walk Right Back" by the Everly Brothers:

I want you to tell me why you walked out on me
I'm so lonesome everyday
I want you to know that since you walked out on me
Nothin' seems to be the same old way
Think about the love that burns within my heart for you
The good times we had before you went away, oh me

Walk right back to me this minute, 
Bring your love to me, don't send it,
I'm so lonesome everyday

I want you to tell me why you walked out on me
I'm so lonesome everyday
I want you to know that since you walked out on me
Nothin' seems to be the same old way
Think about the love that burns within my heart for you
The good times we had before you went away, oh me

Walk right back to me this minute
Bring your love to me, don't send it
I'm so lonesome everyday...

Love you Mom! I am so lonesome without you. Thanks so much for giving me life and a loving home in which to be born and grow up. Though our home life wasn't always perfect (whose is?), I have extremely wonderful and affectionate memories of all the time I spent with you and Dad and Eric, Muffy, George, and Ruben. My favorite times were those occasions when we did fun things together as a family - going fishing, ice skating, roller skating, sledding, watching TV together as a family on the weekends, and going on Sunday drives in the countryside. 

Our cute little family in 1976.
L to R, back to front: Jay, Bonnie, Maureen (Muffy), George, Erika (me) and Eric.
I even fondly remember working and weeding in the garden together (though I complained incessantly at the time!) and then gathering our bounteous harvest and prepping it together as a family. I remember snapping green beans (and eating them raw!) and canning tomato sauce for Dad's famous spaghetti. The raw tomatoes always gave me a rash on my hand while we worked, haha, so I could find a convenient way to get out of the work when I was tired of it. :) 

One of the most adventurous times was when I came home from school only to find that you had knocked down a wall with a sledgehammer (haha!), and we all had to chip in to help you and Dad rebuild the room layout according to your newly designed plans. :) There was always a fun building project going on at our house, so I learned to love the smell of sawdust when I was a child, and that fresh smell still makes me nostalgic to this day. 

I loved to see your mind work as you'd pick out new paint colors, fabrics and furniture to redecorate our home according to the latest trend. I still love perusing decorating materials, furniture stores, and antique shops, and I think of you every time I do.

Special times were reading scriptures together on school days in the wee early morning hours, with the whole family at the kitchen table, with Dad reading to us while you cooked us something yummy to eat for breakfast. Your cooking was always so creative and delicious. I remember the fun of making homemade dill pickles in the crock on the counter, learning how to mix up peanut butter balls, and shaping homemade meatballs with bread crumbs mixed in to make the meat go further. I remember mixing orange juice from the frozen concentrate and the slight pain of pulling the tab off the frozen can using my teeth, as you so aptly taught me. haha - If hands aren't good enough, you've always got teeth! :) 

I loved it when you taught me how to make macaroni and cheese myself, making melted cheese tortillas in the microwave, and the best - potpies! I think those 3 dishes became my staple snack foods through my teen years, haha. And remember the time that George and Mike Lehrfeld made us cookies but accidentally put in 1 cup of salt instead of 1 tsp? Not even our sheepdog Tiana would touch that! Such fun. :)

When I was in High school you taught Grant and I how to make eggrolls with your secret ingredient - a little touch of peanut butter! haha - sounds awful, but it was delicious, and tasted just like the kind we'd get in the Chinese restaurant. Oh, that was another fun thing that we loved to do - go out to eat! Remember that one smorgasbord that was all-you-can-eat and had a rotating food area that was always slowly moving so the kitchen staff could keep everything re-filled? It was so fun! I remember going there with Gampy, and he loosened his belt and stick out his tummy as we left, showing off that he had eaten too much. Hahaha. We always begged to go back there because we thought it was so cool how you could just keep getting new plates and putting them on the conveyor belt that led back to the kitchen. 
Dorothy (my Gammy) with her daughter, Bonnie Anne.

I remember when we were all little, we'd beg you to take us to the "Tin Cup Pass" in St. Charles, and that one steakhouse where I always ordered the "ham dinner" - with A1 sauce on the side, of course! :) That thought brings back memories of living at the Ramada Inn in St. Charles while we were waiting for our house in Batavia to be built. I was only 6, and Muffy and I turned 7 while we were living there that summer of 1977. Us kids loved running around the hallways and going up and down in the elevator, and probably terrorizing other guests by turning around the "do not disturb" signs so they'd read "Maid - please make up room early" hee hee - terrible kids! We also loved swimming in the pool, and having Dad pick us up and throw us back into the water while you sunbathed and read a book. Although you swam plenty, too. I remember you doing your dives and cannonballs! You were great fun! :)

Speaking of the Ramada Inn, I remember one night we had a family home evening lesson about "going the extra mile" and then you and Dad left to go downstairs to the hotel restaurant for a little date (we had probably pushed you past your limit, trying to all live in that one conference room!) But that night us kids got all excited about the principle you'd taught us, so we decided to clean up the entire "apartment" without even being asked! When you and Dad came back, you did your "secret knock" so we'd know it was you, and then we checked the peephole just to be sure. We were SO proud to show you how much we had cleaned up and how great the entire room looked! I wonder sometimes if it actually looked any better at all, haha. But through our little-kid eyes, we had created a masterpiece in that room!

Crazy memories include catching mice in our house on Charleston Street, when they'd get in through the drain outside the basement door. Haha! I remember that you had a honey pot on the kitchen counter that we would dip honey out of with one of those specially-shaped wooden honey spoons. One time, someone left the lid off the honey pot all night, and unbeknownst to us, a mouse climbed into the pot looking for a sweet treat! ugh. Someone else put the lid on, so we didn't know until the next person who wanted to use the honey got scared to death when they took of the lid and dipped in the spoon only to find a dead mouse floating in the honey. GROSS! 

Another crazy kitchen moment was when you were cooking pinto beans in the pressure cooker, and somehow forgot about it or got distracted or something. The pressure got too high, and soon there were beans spraying out of the hole on the top of the cooker and all over the room! I think we were still cleaning bean leftovers off of that popcorn ceiling when we were preparing to move out to Old Homestead Road in 1989. hahaha!

That was another fun thing about living with you Mom. The constant CHANGE! Life was never dull or boring being your little girl. There was always fun house-hunting, garage sale shopping (even though I hid in shame when I was a teenager and you'd stop at the garage sale at one of my friends' houses! embarrassing! haha!) And there were always our fun trips to the mall. We'd peruse all the departments at Marshall Fields looking at new clothes, trying on makeup, smelling all the sample perfumes, and playing in the clothing racks when we were small. Oh and then there were the jelly bellies and Frango mints! YUM! I remember shopping for new outfits, and then when we got home you'd have us go in and thank Dad with hugs and kisses for all the nice new things "he" had bought us. haha. I think it was your buffer against him getting upset if you'd gone over budget! Sneaky lady! ;)
Mom and Dad in the early years.

Mom, I could seriously go on and on all night. But I should probably save some memories to write about next year. :) But before I go, I want to reminisce about one final memory. I remember when I was a very small child, sitting under the piano in our front room on Dover Road in Westake, Ohio. You were playing "Fur Elise" so beautifully as I sat at your feet and watched you play the pedals. I loved that song and wanted to learn it, so you started me in piano lessons when I was only four. When I was about 9 I finally got the chance to play it at a recital, and I have always loved that song and think of you whenever I hear it. 

Funny, but today I was sitting with one of my students at her piano lesson, and we were running out of time, so I was going to wait until next week to hear her last few songs. But then she told me that she had worked really hard on one of them and had it memorized, so I stayed a bit longer to hear her play it. It was "Fur Elise" and she played it beautifully. I started to think about you and how you introduced me to my love of music. Who knows, maybe it was a tender mercy that Emma had worked so hard on the song so that it would be finished just in time to play for me on your birthday. I think that maybe it was a special little performance from you to me on your special day. 

Thank you for everything Mom! For always being there for me, and for loving me with all your heart and soul. I miss your curious perspective on life, and your bright energetic personality that always made life with you so fun. I miss you SO much and I can't wait to run into your arms and give you a great big hug when we meet again in the realms above. Happy Birthday Mom - I love you! 

Maraschino cherry cake with marshmallow frosting - Mom's traditional birthday cake. :)

1 comment:

  1. As I read your tribute to your mom, I couldn't help notice everything you said about her could also be said of you. You are a wonderful living tribute to her and the spark she ignited in your life burns brightly, through you, in the lives of your family. Thank you for sharing her with us in your tribute and in your smile.


Join the Conversation!

I'd love to have you connect up with me on social media. For a list of all the places where we can connect online, visit: I'd love to get to know you, see your channel, your page, your social media stuff that you're doing out there. I just love learning and meeting people and connecting with people, so I'm excited to get to know you. ~JS~ 🌞