Untidy Towns

Notes from My Mother


Originally posted May 31, 2008. Composed by my mother.

Born in Cleveland Ohio to James and Faith Hartshorne, 2 sisters and 1 brother. Family moved to Columbus Ohio, where Barb graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in Home Economics.

Mom was married in 1957, and a year later had the twins, Mike and Chris. 19 months later, Terri was born, and a little more than a year later, Mom found out she was pregnant with triplets – Paul, Mary and Debbie. Paul and Mary were too little to survive. Susan and Joe came a few years apart, and then Dorothy in 1968.

The family lived on one income and Mom’s creative talents and hard-working spirit were in evidence. She took on odd jobs to make money, but mostly applied her skills to making a home for our family. Mom knew how to stretch a dollar (something that may or may not have passed on to the next generation successfully!). She sewed many of the children’s clothing – even winter coats one year for the girls. She bought in bulk before bulk was “the thing to do”, although there was always “mom’s drawer” in the refrigerator. It was supposed to be hands-off, but rarely ended up that way. Something about forbidden fruits, I suppose!

She was a good mother. Involved in our activities when we were young – she did her time as a girl scout leader, den mother, was involved in the PTA, ferried 7 kids around to various piano and accordion lessons, and other activities. Mom was a quiet role model to her children. She never had a negative word to say about anyone, she lived the adage that “if you don’t have something good to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.” As we got older, Mom understood the wisdom of stepping back, though she was always ready with a hug or some advice if needed. She encouraged us kids and instilled confidence in us. When we would talk about decisions they made, she’d say something like, “I knew you’d make the right decision”. Mom taught us girls to be strong, independent women. (Some may say she did too good a job on that score!).

Mom was a loyal person with a generous heart. She was there for her friends, enjoyed cooking for them, and taking care them. She was cheerful and fun-loving. Throughout her life, Mom gave back to the community. She was involved in several community organizations and could always be counted on to do more than her share. From making candles for the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival to keeping the books for the Bowling League, she pitched in and did whatever needed to be done. Her heart for others showed through her community spirit.

Mom loved reading, crossword puzzles, crafts, jigsaw puzzles, gardening, angels, and George – though not necessarily in that order! Married in 1992, Mom and George have been part of the Leesville community and she will be very missed by her family and friends. 2008 has been a difficult year for our family, with the passing of Dorothy in January, but some comfort can be gained from knowing that Mom is with her and they are both in God’s hands.