The dictionary defines a mother as a “female parent”. What the dictionary left out were words like courageous, strong, compassionate, wise, and loving. The Brunswick County women in this story graciously shared their memories on how their lives were molded by a mother’s love and strength.
Linda Baker – Neighbor and Friend, Southport
Where else can you see the bright lights of Times Square, the Empire State Building, Central Park, trendy boutiques and more? Manhattan, of course. Growing up in the Bronx in the 1950’s, Linda and her Nana, Stephanie, spent many outings taking the subway to Radio City in Manhattan where they would see a first-run movie and The Rockettes, all for 25 cents before noon. “After the movie and show, we always stopped at Macy’s where I was very aware that she was showing me off to her co-workers,” states Linda. “After our day in the city, we would say goodbye to the bright lights, but not before we purchased a 2-pack of Chiclets (gum) that was sold on the subway platform.”
Rita Wheeler – Owner, Post Fabrics and Interiors, Southport
Tragedy leads to strength and a mother’s bond. Rita’s only sibling, a sister, was, killed by a drunk driver during the Christmas holidays in 1971. “We just have to keep pushing, that’s what we do,” were the words of love and strength from Colleen Cochran, Rita’s mother. Those words molded Rita’s family and still ring true today. Rita’s mother passed away in early 2017. The loss of her mother is still fresh in her heart, but she keeps pushing, because it’s what she does.
Chris Geering – Immediate Past President, Friends of the Library Southport & Oak Island
“When I find myself in challenging situations I ask: ‘What would Mom do?’ She sometimes even answers me!” says Chris. Aurella Geering, Chris’s mother, was born in 1935 and died in 1987 at the age of 52 from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, never having the chance to meet her grandchildren, Chris’s son and daughter. “I think of her very often as she was a person of great wisdom in her way of dealing with life’s adversities. I attribute my strength as a woman, my commitment to community service and my extreme feminist point of view to my mother. I would not be the person I am today if not for her influence. Her legacy is that I have tried to pass her wisdom down to her grandchildren. I can still hear her words of wisdom: When you find yourself in a situation like that, remember, arms by side, smile on face, nod head. And my favorite,” says Chris, “When it comes down to brass tacks ignore, ignore, ignore!”
Diana Fotinatos – Principal, Alexander Consulting Associates, Inc., Southport
There is always time to love – time to stop and listen, time to pray for someone, time to lend a helping hand. It’s these little things that make life worth living. ~ Unknown. “This is a quote my mother, Roseann Luipersbeck, keeps on her desk and speaks to how she lives her life,” says Diana. “She was a single mom at 18 and raised me, her only child, by herself for the first ten years of my life. She has always been and remains my best friend, and my inspiration. She taught me to do and think for myself, to be a strong independent woman, and always give back more than you take in this life. I am proud to be her daughter and strive to carry on her legacy in my son.””
Cin Brochure – Mayor of Oak Island
“You are my sweet little angel.” “No Mother, you are my sweet little angel, forever.” These are loving words between a mother and daughter. Lillie Maier Faircloth, Cin’s mother, was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. During World War II, Lillie fell in love and married Cin’s father within two months. “She was an amazing mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother to her four children and their families. I have many happy memories of my mother. She was my sunshine and my guiding light,” says Cin. Her mother’s only son died in 1975 at the age of 25 and her husband died in 1976 at the age of 56. After three bouts with cancer, Lillie died in 1997. “She was the strongest woman in the world and a model of strength when faced with many of life’s hardest situations. When I feel I’m at my wits end, I replay her words over and over in my head and find my inner peace,” says Cin.
Chris Angotti – President of GFWC-South Brunswick Islands Woman’s Club
Millie Wise, Chris’s mother, married at 16 years of age. During her marriage of 55 years, she had 7 children, 16 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren. “She was a good listener. Sharing my secrets and challenges were therapeutic and she always found a way to make me feel better,” says Millie’s son, Albert Wise. “I was her first grandchild, and I always thought that made me special, but Millie Wise made all her kids and grandkids feel special and I believe that’s why, despite the distance, we’re still a close family. She was a woman with a sweet voice, and a contagious laugh that could warm your heart. She cared about what you said, and she was proud of even the smallest accomplishments,” states Stephanie Dunbar. “I believe my mother’s encouragement and approval touched something deep in my soul. It was the start of a lifelong journey; a desire to pursue a career in art,” says Vivian Lang. “She taught me more than anyone about compassion and caring of people which had a major impact on my practice as a nurse. We wish with all our hearts that our mother was still with us to share even more memories,” says Chris.
Barbara Sammons – Photographer and Writer, Southport
“Find your passion, always be kind and keep love in your heart. You can do anything and be whomever you want to be, as long as it makes you happy. My mother, Irene Holloway, was a woman of few words. During the last few years of her life, dementia took away her memory, but it never took away her smile or the love in her heart,” says Barbara.
Laugh, cry, hug each other, make those memories that will enrich your life, not only on Mother’s Day, but every day. Share that strength, compassion, wisdom and love. It’s what your mother wants you to do.