Saturday, December 8, 2007
Happy Birthday Mom
Carol Ann Tess was born December 8, 1930, youngest daughter of Howard and Bernice Tess. She graduated from Elkhorn High school in 1948, attended college in Milwaukee for a year, then married her high school sweetheart, Ralph Pierce, in 1949. She raised three children with him on a dairy farm in Sugar Creek, me, sister Patricia, brother Dean and my youngest sister Mary Carol.
In 1983 after five years of illness, Ralph died of cancer, and not long after Mary was hospitalized beginning twenty years of poor health that ended in her death in 1999. Carol lived with her, cared for her all those years. In fact she nursed sick people all of her adult life, starting with grandparents, then her husband, her youngest daughter, her mother, and finally herself. In 2004 she passed away at home in her apartment after years of heart and lung problems.
Carol would have been 77 today. I find it sadly ironic that my mother, who was just twenty years older than me, is getting this little entry for a birthday present. For so many years when I was teaching, this was a busy and difficult time of year. Between trying to keep students interested and learning, and trying to get ready for Christmas with all the card writing, cleaning, cooking and shopping that entails, I rarely had time for more than a congratulatory telephone call, and a greeting sent in the mail. Now that I have time to spend, she isn't here. She didn't fuss over birthdays, although she never forgot them. We always got cards, little gifts, telephone calls. She wasn't offended that her children didn't throw her a party every year, and in fact the last ten years or so of her life she was often ill with colds or pneumonia in the winter. She used to talk about her 11th birthday, the day after Pearl Harbor, about how awful it was, and how that birthday slipped by forgotten in the terrible news of the day. I tried never to forget. Anyway, happy birthday Mom. I miss you.