Wendy Knuth Author of Moore Zombies, blogging about the human experience.

Daily Archives: February 3, 2018

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In Memoriam: My Mom

My mom was the nicest person, generous and kind!  She was always available for help if and when you needed it.  We are all so sad at her sudden passing.  She had some underlying issues but the flu stole her life and she passed away on January 29, 2018.  In memoriam of my mother, Martha, I want to share some of her life.

My mom grew up in and around Los Angeles but lived in many cities on the west coast between L.A. and San Diego.  We fondly referred to coastal living only counting if one was west of I-5 as if anyone can afford to live that close to the beach in California anymore.

My mom played the guitar and the piano very well.  She was also an incredible violinist as a young girl up through her teens, good enough to be invited by the San Diego Symphony for an evening feature on occasion.  She actually met my father at the age of 13 as they were both violinists in orchestra.  I have never seen her play the violin and once I asked her why.  Long story short, my grandmother made her practice for hours every day and she hated it.  She said when she was practicing she would rehearse over and over again in her head something to the effect that she would never play violin when she was an adult.  Sure enough, when she moved on to college, she put it down and that was that.

A couple of funnies:  My mom’s first job was at Sears Roebuck & Co – I’m pretty sure she told me her minimum wage pay was $0.35 per hour.  Later after my mom and dad were married, my grandparents offered to sell them their house in Point Loma for $17,000.  Mom wanted to start anew and didn’t take the offer.  Bummer.  My parents bought and sold a couple of other coastal properties as our family expanded, with increasingly higher prices that would still blow your socks off in comparison to costs today.

Before my mom married, she was a physics major at San Diego State.  During her studies a professor encouraged her to apply for a physics job and referred her as “Marty,” which was her nickname.  It was a pivotal point in her life as the gentlemen who saw a woman come to interview were highly amused and pointed her in the direction of the open secretary position down the hall.  Sad to say, mom saw there would be no future in physics for her and stopped going to college.

After marriage she became a stay-at-home mom for several years.  She drove my brother and me to all of our sporting events and never missed a single one.  I have many fond memories of my brother and me singing songs with mom while she played the guitar.  We all hung out in her bedroom on the mattress, which was on the floor.  Don’t let the earlier pics fool you.  She and my father were hippie types.  There were numerous bon fire beach parties where everyone spent the night on the sand, including young children.  We also took many camping trips to Baja California, Mexico, which was gorgeous and not so dangerous back then.  We often went days, sometimes weeks without seeing other people.

After my brother and I were old enough to fend for ourselves, meaning we had both graduated kindergarten, my mom took some part time jobs.  (It was a very different time and culture back then!)  Another funny story she has in the women’s arena was the introduction of pants to the workplace.  Pant suits became a popular fashion trend for ladies in the 70’s and bosses reluctantly agreed to it thinking it might be a soon-to-fade fad.  We’re talking about the days of mandated pantyhose per the employee handbook.  Imagine if there was a section on men’s underwear requirements!

My mom ended up going back to college in her forties and received her bachelor’s degree in psychology.  She became a fiscal manager and moved up the ranks at University of San Diego at California.  She talks about when computers were first introduced and they sat in boxes on the floor for weeks because no one knew what to do with them.  We were kind of a techy family and my mom takes the credit for opening those boxes and putting the new fangled machines to use.

After retiring, she did a lot of traveling / camping / kayaking all over northern California.  Several years ago, mom decided to move inland, very east of of I-5, to Payson, Arizona to be closer to us kids.  Her back yard was up against state land and we all enjoyed watching the wildlife including elk, coyotes, and javelina, as well as other little critters and numerous birds.  After decades of having to drive hours to visit one another my mom moved into a home right around the corner from me, only three months ago.  Dammit!  Our time was much too short.  Love and miss you, mom!!!