My mother always believed that if you had a great sense of humor you could get through anything. The line that comes to mind is if you don't laugh you will probably cry. Anybody that knew her said that was her biggest asset. She loved to make people laugh. If a friend was down they would call May knowing that before they hung up she would have them laughing.
Being with my mother in her last years she talked a lot about her life. She grew up in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. A suburb in Philadelphia, where she was born. Her family was considered well off compared to others in her community. My grandfather was well known in town, mostly because he was the president of the Steel Union.
One of my mother's favorite stories from when she was a little girl, was every Saturday her parents would take her into Philly to get her a new dress for Sunday Church. It was the same routine every time. Her dad would tell her 1 dress and she always ended up with 2. She was one of the best-dressed kids in Sunday school.
I always thought my mother was a perfect child until she revealed to me a story from High school. She was expelled from high school for truancies and ended up taking public transportation to her new school. Never expected that one. Didn't know my mother was such a rebel in her teenage years.
After high school through a friend of her brothers, she met my dad. Love at first sight and they were married. In my eyes, they had the perfect marriage. My mother stayed at home to raise the 4 of us. Marilyn, Trudy, Debbie, and Ricky. While my dad worked 2-3 jobs at a time to support us. She was as close to a June Cleaver mom that you could get. She always supported us for what we wanted to do. Our marriages, our divorces, whatever we needed from her.
My mother instilled the love of music in our lives. I remember a time when I was young, they used to play a Frank Sinatra special on the AM radio, every Friday night and every Sunday morning. I would stand in the doorway watching the 2 of them dance in their tiny kitchen on Springmill Ave.
When we 3 girls started having kids she became the best Mommom to her grandbabies. In 1981 when our parents found out about a few health issues our father had they made the decision to move to Las Vegas. That was one of the hardest decisions they had ever made because they had to leave their kids. Saying goodbye was so hard and I didn't think my mother was going o be able to do it. She made a promise to my dad in her wedding vows, for better or worse, in sickness and in health. She told me that was one of the darkest times in her life because she had to leave her kids.
Then in 1987, I found out my oldest son Joshua had a terminal disease, Muscular Dystrophy and that the climate in the desert would help him live longer than in the east. So my parents got an extra-large van pulling a U-Haul trailer and drove 2600 miles to pick up my family and drive us back to Nevada for us to live. We traveled cross country in a van with 4 adults and my 6 kids. My mom held my youngest daughter when she was 6 weeks old at the time the entire way across the country. Since moving here we found out my second son Johnnie had the same MD that Josh had. When my sons passed away years apart, I don't know if I would have handled it as well without my mom. She was a rock for my kids and me.
One big surprise for me was the strength my mom had when my dad became sick and bedridden. I had no idea she could take care of him because she has always been taken care of by my father. She showed her true spirit and strength at that time. I remember telling her that I never expected her to be able to take care of my dad and then handled his death the way she did. To me, she was a true wife and mother. I can't deny that when I was growing up and even as an adult, I gave my parents too many sleepless nights because of the way I was living my reckless life, but they never denied me help when I needed it.
When my mother was working at The Excalibur casino, one of her closest friends that she worked with, told me that "when it was time for their lunch hour she would rush to the cafeteria to make sure she got a seat at my mother's table because she always had everyone laughing. she made the workday a little bearable for them because of her sense of humor." In my mother's final letter she said that she knew that all her kids inherited her sense of humor and we should never lose it.
In closing, Mommom was the best wife to Richard Nestor, Mother to her 4 children, grandmother of 11 and great grandmother of 18. She will be sadly missed by all who knew her.