Stories of Mom

Yesterday, while we were visiting with mom, I was asking my kids to tell a story about their favorite memories with grandma. Paxton told about a trip to Knott’s Berry Farm, and Blake talked about a time she was doing sand-art with her. I really enjoyed it, so I went ahead and asked my Nephew Dane the same. He shared an awesome video of my mom dancing along to a song on the radio in the car. I love the video so much because it is such a great glimpse into what it was like driving with my mom as a kid. Singing, dancing and just overall being silly. His story reminds me of dozens of times I could have shot that same video growing up.

I really enjoyed hearing the stories about these special times and memories they had with my mom. In just a second, I’ll tell you a story that still cracks me up. But before I tell you that story, I’m going to be a little selfish and ask for a big ‘ol favor. After you finish reading this post, please hit the comment section below and tell me about a memory you’ve got with my mom. Funny, silly, personal… whatever. I just want to hear the stories and have them in a place I can refer back to them whenever I want.

I’ve got a lot of stories about mom. I’ll likely tell more in the comments myself. But this first story is one that makes me laugh to this day.

The good son

I was pretty young. Probably in 4th grade. We lived in Redondo Beach, and it was about at 8 or 10 block walk to school. It was not uncommon for me to walk home from school.

On this particular day, my mom had a friend over at the house. As the afternoon rolled around, they decided to drive to the school to pick me up. School was out and I was already walking home. As they’re driving, my mom is telling her friend about how great of a kid I am. I do well in school, I don’t get in trouble… just an all around swell kid.

Right about that time, they crest a hill and are able to see me standing on the sidewalk. I’m looking up at a girl in a third-floor apartment and I’m flippin’ her the bird with both hands, proving to her friend what a great kid I was!

Timing, folks… I had it.

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  1. I only met Cheryl in person one time, but she was a pure delight. I had quit smoking with ecigarettes and was bursting with excitement about it. I’m not sure if it was Nichole’s idea or mine, but I ended up in Nic’s kitchen with every shape, size, color and flavor of ecigarette. We sat and tasted and tested everything while we talked and laughed for a good long time. Afterwards we became friends on Facebook where she continued to make me smile. I have often thought what a wonderful mother she must have been to have raised such a caring and thoughtful daughter. My interactions with Cheryl were brief, but they were a definite treat.

  2. I have tons of stories! The best were when auntie cheryl would take brandie and I through the drive thru at McDonalds on PCH and western. She thought it was hysterical to take her teeth out and set them on the dashboard. I remember the anxiousness of her pulling her dentures out, laying them on the dashboard, ordering our food, and slowly accelerating up to the window. My heart would race with excitement. I Couldn’t wait for the server to see her teeth on the dashboard of her jeep Cherokee. They’d politely hand her the food. Then would gasp at her teeth just chillen right there. I didn’t know she didn’t do this with everyone else! I guess my sister and I were the only ones on this joke. It was always a memory I’d never forget. We’d have the best time together.
    Auntie Cheryl and I would make cookies and cupcakes from scratch and take basketfulls to the neighbors down the street that had H. I. V. And AIDS patients liveing in them. She showed me a side of compassion that I never knew and hold with me. She loved her shock saracasm. As I do. I loved her more!

  3. I met Cheryl in 1980ish when I moved into the Vianna apartment building in Lomita where she lived with Jim, John and Nick. (remember the fun times at the pool?) She took me under her wing and helped me as I dealt with the emotional baggage from my divorce. If I was at the end of my food and payday wasn’t for a few more days, Cheryl would feed me. When I was hurting for cash, she would find some odd job I could help her with. she is generous to a fault! You all became the family I needed since mine was so far away. I remember one night we were up late working on payroll or something and we were so tired…yet so over caffienated that we quickly slid down the hill into sillyville . My hair was driving me nuts and she hands me rubber bands to tie it back. I put two pony tails up on top of my head and she busts out laughing at me…pointing and saying “they look like palm trees”! we laughed and laughed and later when we got up off the floor and the hysteria had passed…we were finally able to finish the task. To this day she reminds me about my palm tree hair and calls me palm trees! I will never live that down!

    1. She wrote about this memory in her favorite memories book she had started. I’m glad you never forgot it either. Xozo

    2. Wendy, It was your idea to come share the ecig with my Mom and I always thought it was so sweet of you to think of her.

  4. I don’t remember what year it was, probably 1981 or 82, when my mom found a duplicate Volvo wagon , but with way less miles on it, so she upgraded and sold her “old” 1972 wagon to Cheryl. The car had been very well maintained since new and your mom was all excited about taking a road trip with the family. She told me later (about two weeks later) that while on your vacation a soft shoulder gave way and the wagon rolled over and landed on it’s roof, with the kids in back, seat belts fashioned and hanging upside down. She didn’t even seem that bummed about the car. she just laughed at the image and was grateful that no one was hurt.

    1. I remember that vividly. I remember the car rolling off the side of the hill as if it was part of a movie and it’s being shown in slow motion.

      1. Oh yes, I remember that very well too. Afterwards I knew why Cheryl was so excited that the car had roll bars when she bought it. An unconscientious premonition I’m sure.
        Everyone was okay when it happened and there was no panic UNTIL, Nichole saw that the giant stuffed unicorn that she had won at Circus Circus, that was tied on top of the car, was now flat as a pancake under the top of the car. She just suddenly burst out in tears. Poor Nichole.

  5. Your mom is a saint in my book, she took care of my son for FREE for 2 years or more, unheard of…! She is the most kind, giving person without ever asking for anything in return. She has a wicked sense of humor and an honest spirit. I am so appreciative of “Nanny,” my son loved her and never complained about being dropped off when I had a long, sometimes late night shift at “Eat at Eds” 🙂 Being a single parent from the very beginning was tough, a lot of people doubted that I could do it on my own, they questioned how I could provide for myself as a waitress and student all at the same time. All I can say is that God knew, he knew that an angel was there waiting for me to help and truly support early hard years of working and mothering. I am so forever grateful and will never forget her kindness, selflessness and generosity. Nanny would call me and say, “Leslie, I miss Trappy, are you working tonight?” Wow, that is a blessing I could have never imagined. On a funnier note, later… when “someone” else dropped Travis off, he was probably 2 or so… he had a sunburn from the beach. Cheryl got SO MAD

  6. I’m sorry.I just have thoughts and impressions more than specific incidents .Cheryl was very bright,quick witted and funny.She could always think on her feet.I think she would have liked a job like a paramedic,where you have to act fast.I respected her mothering skills,the way she would talk to you kids like adults,and seemed to be very engaged with you,even in difficult times and circumstances.She was generous to a fault,and always made us feel at home when me,or wife and kids would pile into their place! She came and visited us in Chicago a couple of times,and at the time my wife Joan and I were laughing about how normal it felt to have Cheryl in the house,like she was part of the furniture! I was always amazed at her social skills. She seemed to know everybody,and it was fun to watch her in action.I sometimes called her The Queen of the Southbay.She was always a larger than life persona.I know she treasured her kids,grandkids,and greatgrandkids more than anything!

  7. Memories with Cheryl
    One of my earliest memories of Cheryl is when we were both quite young not sure exactly what age. When we had a family get together at our Grandma Mills’ house Cheryl and I would get away by sitting in the bath tub (no water) and playing cards. Occasionally we would see one of the adults on the back porch looking in the window at us. It’s puzzling to me looking back now at how we got away with this since there was only one bath room in the house, but we had fun.

    Another fun time I had is when we were pre-teens. I spent the night with Cheryl and then in the morning the two of us and one of her friends took the bus into Long Beach and the Pike. We walked around watching all the sailors and thinking we were something special. And the highlight for us was ordering a soda to drink with breakfast.

    When John and Nichole was around 4 and 2 Cheryl decided it would be fun to take a walk in a pair of leopard onesie pajamas with a (play) gun and holster. And of course this isn’t in some quiet cul de sac this is downtown Long Beach. I wasn’t as brave as her so I just followed along at a distance with the kids and watched all the comments she got and all the guys who stopped to talk to her. When we got home we laughed so hard. It’s funny this is one of the things we talked about throughout the years. Just last month we were talking about it again. We were thinking that there is no way we could get away with that these days. Having that holster and gun could get us arrested or even worse.

    Another fun memory that we often talk about is when we were just hanging out at the house in Artesia, I was living with them at the time. We decided we were hungry and couldn’t figure out what to eat and we ended up ordering pizza and making blueberry muffins. We just ate all night and laughed at the strange combination we were eating. This is probably just one of those you had to be there moments but it has given us lots to talk and laugh about over the last 40 years.

    The most important thing to me will always be that Cheryl is so much more than a cousin to me, she is my best friend.

  8. I remember in the 1974 or so, Cheryl and I packed the car with playpens, strollers diaper bags and all our beach gear and headed off to Redondo Beach. We parked in the parking lot by the pier, and found a little beach area that was great for kids. Over looking our spot was Cattlemans Wharf resturant. It was Cheryl, Johnny and Nicole, myself Pam, my son Tony and daughter April. Nicole and April were babies and Johnny and Tony round 3 or 4 years old. We loved this spot so we went there often. Tony told Cheryl he had to pee so she told him to go in the water. So Johnny being supportive to his friend walked about 8 feet to the water with Tony. Instead of sitting down in the water, Tony stood there and peed standing up and everyone sitting by the window in the resturant could see. Cheryl and I were a little embarrassed but we laughed so hard we cried. I guess we should have given the little guy better instructions. We laughed about this for years. Cheryl and I have known each other for over 50 years. She is the sister I always wanted and I love her dearly.

  9. The story of Cheryl that I have, I have told people numerous times and they’ve had a good laugh. I was quite embarrassed at the time however. Cheryl came for a visit after we’d moved out here. Lisa, Cheryl, and I went to get groceries at King Soopers. While I was grocery shopping her and Lisa were acting like 6 year olds pushing each other around in the grocery cart just zooming down the aisles having a gay old time. After they were thru with those shenanigans they started talking with the clerks & had them all laughing. For several visits to King Soopers after that different clerks would ask me how Cheryl and Lisa were doing. They made quite an impression. I can still see her and Lisa zooming down those aisles! There was never a dull moment when Cheryl was around.

    1. unfortunately, I believe we might even have pictures of that. I know there are some of us trying on all the crazy sunglasses they had. In my defense, Cheryl made me do it. 🙂

  10. Our relationship didn’t start off so great. As most of you know, I’m a bit older than John. So I was feeling very nervous when I met Cheryl. A few months into our relationship, she said to me, ” Didn’t John tell you that I’m older than dad?” Uh, no! We had a good chuckle and we got along much better after that.
    She left no doubts behind on her feelings for me. She loved me. I was her “DIL” and she was my “MIL”

  11. As some of you may know I was bit by a pitbull when I was 11 and had 300 stitches in my neck. Fast forward 5 years Mom and I are on a road trip we stopped at a place called Devil’s Tower at the entrance there’s a sign “Caution Prairie Dogs” Mom and I quickly roll up the windows. Then as we stroll through the visitor center we see a prairie dog encased in glass we bust out laughing at this little 8 inch prairie dog.

  12. Last month Mom and I were shopping at Target since mom wasn’t feeling up to walling too much I got her a scooter. So we’re in the toy aisle and Mom turns the corner and just about takes down the end cap I say oh s*** then I quickly apologize to the lady who standing there with her Elementary School child. Mom gets all mad because she thinks I have apologized for her. So she goes storming off on her scooter. Which all by itself was funny. I say whatever and let her go. Ten minutes go by and she comes back and she says you didn’t have to apologize for me. I said Mom I wasn’t apologizing for you I was apologizing for what I said. she said what did you say? I said oh s*** and she said well what were you saying oh s*** about I said because you about took down the store as I proceeded to laugh heartily. yeah she said go ahead keep laughing I hope you pee yourself! We had a good laugh and continued to shop.

  13. My mom and I typically did pretty well at suggesting movies or TV shows the other would like. But there was one time where my mom suggested a movie to me and after watching it she asked me how I liked it and I had to tell her that it was TERRIBLE. The thing is, she LOVED it. So she pretty much took it personally that I didn’t like it. It became a running joke between us for years and years. The movie is called Gloria.

    Fast forward to my mom being in the hospital. While I was sitting in the room with her, there’s a lot of time to kill and a lot of things run through your mind. So I decided that I was going to look up the movie on so that I could prove myself right about the movie being terrible.

    When I went to the website and looked up the movie, I realized that there are 3 movies named Gloria. So, I picked the one that I thought was the right one and looked at the score… 95% on the Tomatometer. Ahh crap, Mom was right. So, while mom was laying there, unconscious, I told her the whole story about how she was right. She didn’t give off any indication that she heard me, but I like to think that it warmed her heart to hear that she was right all along.

    OR WAS SHE?!?!

    I sat down to write this story, and I wanted to include links to the movie because I thought it would be funny. But, what I really uncovered was the fact that I had picked the wrong movie! When I found the right movie, it turns out, I was right all along. The movie she forced me to watch has a whopping 17% on the Tomatometer.

    Here’s the link to the incorrect movie:

    And if you’re a glutton for punishment and want to watch a truly terrible movie, here’s the link to the movie that my mom loved:

    Sorry mom, but the internet agrees with me on this one. That movie was just bad.


  14. Cheryl has been a second mom to me. In my 20s she was always quick to correct me in my poor behavior. Now that I’m an adult with kids of my own I always appreciate that she corrected me. She taught me to embrace the word “Lame”. Because of her I don’t say “suck” and cringe when others say it. Ever since I moved back to California Cheryl kept up with me on Facebook Messenger. It was a nice bright spot in my day. She was always very encouraging giving me pep talks about motherhood and tell me her PTA stories.
    I loved Cheryl’s gruffness, so direct. I always knew where i stood no fake pleasantries. Either she was happy to see me or “I was lyin like a rug” . I know she always loved me. She loved her kids and her grandkids so much and always so supportive of them.
    Her kindness is reflected in her kids. I love you Cheryl!!!!

  15. Yesterday, while out on a drive, something happened that sparked another funny (not sure that’s the right word) about me and mom.

    When my mom would drive me to school in the morning, she would typically be putting on her makeup while we were stopped in traffic. One time we were stopped at a red light and we were the first car in line. She flipped down the visor to look in the mirror and she says “tell me when the light turns green.” Me, being the prankster that I am, waited a few seconds and then, while the light was still clearly red, I said, “OK, it’s green.” She started inching forward as she flips the visor up and sees that traffic was still going in the other direction. Needless to say, and rightfully so, she was SO PISSED at me.

    Thanks for not getting us killed and for not killing me after.

    Sorry ’bout that one, mom.

  16. A lot of things come to mind. Cheryl entered my life when I was about 15. This was an awful time for me, no need for details just know that no kid should have gone through what I was going through. Cheryl let me be a kid. I needed a space to be just that desperately.

    A silly thing I remember from then was how she’s say “ackie deekie” instead of AC/DC. It was so great to talk with my buddy’s mom about rock & roll.

    She was a fixture in my life for several years after that. At Captain Kidd’s, just hanging out with John, misc stuff that accumulated as a larger family thing.

    Now go forward a couple of decades. Yes, decades. This big gap opened as time will do. She visited John while he and I were both living in Las Vegas. I got to spend a little time with her when she visited. It was like no time had passed. It was so familiar. She needed to talk and I was there to listen. I remembered so clearly why she was so important to me.

    After that I heard from her via facebook chat all the time. Every few days. “Hello Son” “Hi Mah :)” was how it would go. She would try to push me into repairing relationships with my own (misc broken family ties here _____ ) . I would take it seriously and genuinely try. There was rarely small talk. It was almost always something deep really worth talking about. I loved her and she knew it. So I’m barely keeping it together writing this right now. Miss you Cheryl.

    1. haha, the “ackie deekie” line made me chuckle. I totally remember that.

      I’m SO glad you were able to reconnect with mom via Facebook after all that time. You were very important to her, and she loved chatting with you.

      Thanks for sharing, Sean.

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