Moms (and Aunts and Grandmothers) are so special……
We are who we are because of our Mothers. As women, so many of us have wonderful memories from our childhood, and memories of being Mothers too. I wanted to share a few of the stories from the members of our team regarding their Mom’s for this Mother’s Day weekend. Enjoy—and if your Mom is still around, give her a huge hug!
Tim Bice —
As those of you who have been Quackin’ with us for more than a few years know I was blessed to have a very special mom. Jeanne was not only my mother she was also my partner and co-founder of Quacker Factory. It has been a proud honor to carry on the business and a true joy to share her vision with all of you.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her and know that she is so proud of all of us for continuing to inspire and share the great blessings in our lives.
Happy Mother’s Day,
Here I am with my beautiful mother, Ann. One of my fondest memories as I was growing up, was giving my mother red carnations every year on Mother’s Day. I would present her with a bouquet early in the morning – and my mother, father and brother would select one carnation each from the bouquet, and wear it to church that day. I read that in the early 1900’s, a woman named Anna Jarvis, from West Virginia, was credited with being the first woman to come up with the idea of celebrating moms – and she selected the carnation as the flower of choice on Mother’s Day. It was probably the inherent quality of sweetness, purity & endurance that made the carnations so popular on Mother’s Day! Nowadays, it is symbolic to wear a red carnation if your mother is still living – and a white one if your mother has passed away. To this day, I still give my mother red carnations every year on Mother’s Day!!
Kristy, our Social Host for Chicks’ Night In–
I have so many great memories of my mom from growing up and now as a mother myself. Choosing one seems like an impossible task. My mom did so many things for me and with me. Just to name a few… She was my Girl Scout leader, my elementary school homeroom mom, made my prom dresses, attended all of my school sporting events, taught me how to sew and helped me make my wedding dress!
My favorite is a recent trip to New York City because I got to spend it with my mom, Pennie, and my only daughter Madison. It was a great opportunity for the three of us to bond. We saw the Radio City Christmas Spectacular show which my mom had taken me to when I was young and I now got to enjoy it with my mother and daughter. We enjoyed walking through Central Park, sightseeing in Times Square, hot chocolate at The Plaza, the Today show and even a visit to the American Girl Doll store. I know how much my mom appreciated the time she spent with her daughter and granddaughter and I hope Madison will appreciate it one day as well! Thank you MOM for all of your love and support and let’s keep making memories. I love you!
John Furr—an longtime friend of Jeanne Bice
Saluting Aunts on Mother’s Day
Like many kids I grew up in a home where my mother worked. She was a nurse, doing private duty nursing, usually nights. Mother was always a practical person. She was always stressing the importance of education, working hard, being ‘serious’.
Fortunately, for me, she had a sister, whom I called Aunt Dedo (I couldn’t pronounce her real name!) who was very much the opposite! Dedo lived in Alabama, and we visited there every summer. She was very creative and a free spirit–very much an ‘Auntie Mame’ character. She treated me like the son she never had.
Dedo was a talented amateur composer, playing and singing her songs on her guitar. (Family legend is that Al Capone bought her the guitar! Her first husband, reportedly, was part of the Capone gang, before he went to prison!)
To support herself Dedo did all sorts of jobs, including working as a fortune teller, reading palms. This is absolutely true! She had dozens of ‘clients’ who regularly came to have their palms read, hoping to hear happy news about love and fortune.
Another source of income was writing radio jingles for local retailers. When I was a teen, she would come to visit, and I drove her local car dealers, etc. where she would play the jingle on her guitar, collect $100 or so, and then go to the radio station to record it. That’s how I learned about the business of advertising, which would become my career.
In the 1950s the South was not a happy place. I was anxious to escape. Dedo convinced my parents to let me enroll at Marquette University in Milwaukee (where she was living with her second husband). I never looked back.
On Mother’s Day I remember my mother, of course, with love and gratitude. But I also remember my Aunt who taught me to dream, who pushed me to open doors I never knew existed, and who gave me the courage to believe in myself. That’s what Aunts often do.
So to Aunts everywhere—Happy Mother’s Day, and Thank You!
John M.– one of our Head Drakes……
Mother’s day was always coordinated with planting flowers outdoors. It was time to rake away the winter leaf cover and bring the gardens back to life. The day first started with going to church with Mom (Swellie Ellie). This was followed by brunch, which Mom insisted on making at home, and after doing the dishes we headed to the garden center. We would buy three or four pallets of flowers including: wax begonias, pansies, marigolds, geraniums, impatiens and petunias. These were used to plant the gardens and fill the hanging baskets, window boxes and wooden flower pots that lined the cement stairs leading the front porch. The day was completed by watching Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color and in the later years 60 Minutes. We still plant flowers on this special day which brings back wonderful memories.
A letter from John, one of our artists, to his Mother—
Dear Mom—I love the unconventional family I was born into! THANKS!! Growing up surrounded by our wacky extended family; including my 3 Great Grandmothers, Grandmothers and you taught me untold lessons, wisdom & just a lot of joking and laughing. I have bits of all of you in me for sure, that I see daily.
I love the story of your first date with Dad. He fell in love with you & your great sense of humor that night! Your jokes cinched it—way to go!!
Then my chapter began as you being my Mom. I have so many memories of fun activities and YOUR funny songs! “No letter in the mail today”, was a favorite that would leave Richard & me in stiches & begging for you to quit!! LOL. I often think of all of the holidays that you always made so special. Your enthusiasm for dressing us up for Halloween was ALWAYS so fun for us! Easter was another really fun day for me. I look at the picture enclosed and think, that you still dawn bunny ears just about sums it for me. Thanks for of the Bunny Ears past, present & future. I am so lucky to have you as a Mom. I can’t wait for the continued good times to come!
Happy Mother’s Day! Love, John
Leslie from the design team-
Mother’s Day is the day each year I get to say “Thank You” for God allowing me to spend one more year with my Mom and best friend. My Mom is a feisty little Italian lady who makes the best darn meatballs on the planet – seriously I challenge her to take on any meatball out there! She is an amazing woman, beautiful on the inside and out, and full of life, spirit, and strength. We have been through many ups and downs in life together, but one thing is for sure – we are there for each other when life throws us curveballs – and we “pick each other up by our bra straps” (as Jeanne used to say) and make it through together. Growing up – I have so many wonderful memories of my childhood.
I remember my Mom teaching me how to put on makeup, her making beautiful Halloween costumes for us, (and being kind of competitive about it when ours wasn’t the best one out there ha ha – I wonder where I got that from!). I remember many shopping trips to the mall with my mom, and hiding the clothes in my closet when we got home – she’d say…”Don’t show your Dad ALL your new clothes, maybe just a few!” I remember parties at school where she was the Room Mom and being so proud because my Mom was in charge! She was always my biggest encourager in everything that I did, being there to support me, and helping me to believe in myself. And I remember her drying my tears too on many occasions still to this day, and then watching that Italian fighting spirit come out and laughing till we cried some more! I pray for my Mom every day as she is a 3 time Cancer survivor – and I’m blessed with each day that I get to spend with her because I really don’t know how I would make it on this earth without her. She is the strongest woman I know and I’m so proud to call her mine! I love you Mom! To the best Mom in the world – Happy Mother’s Day – and here’s too many more!!
Page- helps all of us from Florida…..
When I was a little girl, I never realized how awesome and incredibly talented my Mother was! She had four children by the time she was 26, practically a kid herself! In between shuffling us to ballet, piano lessons, summer camp, and orthodontists, she had a hot meal on the table for 6, 6 nights a week (Friday night was Dairy Queen). In addition to a busy car-pooling schedule, she worked as a cosmetologist and make-up artist. We had never been inside a salon until we each moved out of the house. Mind you we all had the same haircuts…a PAGE boy, but her customers loved her and recognized her skills!
She is also an accomplished seamstress. Throughout our early years she made our clothes; my sisters and I had matching dresses and my brother was always in coordinating overalls. She made our bathing suits, beautiful Easter Sunday dresses and more. Our meticulously crafted Halloween costumes always won a blue ribbon at the annual Halloween parade. She was quite the party planner too and often threw New Year’s Eve parties at our house for at least one hundred, and she could whip up a 1 AM breakfast for 50 or more for those left standing! HA!
In later years when we each moved out, she was right there… making flower arrangements and center pieces for our weddings, and helped us each decorate our first house with her crafty interior design skills. Thrift shopping was her specialty and she could take any old used chair or bench and upholster it to look like it came out of a designer showroom!
I could never repay Mom for all that she has done for me, and I’m sure she wouldn’t want it any other way. So- I toast you today Mom, and every other loving Mother out there…Happy Mother’s Day!
From Colleen, part of our design team……
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been stopped by friends, co-workers, and complete strangers to tell me how special of a person my mom is. They are not telling me anything that I don’t already know. She is the most giving, loving, supporting person there is. My mom is a friend who will make a cake to bring to someone’s house because a friend of a friend of a friend is sick. She is a mom who will drive to my house with a steaming cup of coffee because I sounded tired on the phone. She is a grandmother “Mimi” who is the biggest cheerleader at my son’s games or daughter’s competitions and who shows up with a surprise of sunflower seeds or flowers. She is a sister who will spend hours in a waiting room at the hospital so that her sister is not by herself. She is a sister who will take the only day she has off to shop with her brother because she wants to make sure he has the supplies he needs for the house. She is a wife who has had nothing but patience and love to give my father for over 45 years.
I have lots of positive memories from my childhood. My mom held a fantastic birthday party for me every year. We had the most wonderful Christmas’s even in the years she said she wished she could do more. She always made sure that I had the best outfit to wear to the school dance in which I was nervous to go to. Most of my memories are of spending our summers in Ocean City, NJ. Every summer we rented a house at the beach and stayed from Memorial Day until Labor Day. My father would work but would drive every weekend to be with us, but my mom was there every minute with us having fun. My brothers, myself and my mom spent all day on the beach whether it be beautiful sunshine or cold and overcast. No matter what!… We were going to the beach. If it was raining, we put on our raincoats and umbrellas and she walked us to the Penny Candy store. She would include a friend of mine, named John, in all of these activities with us and even packed him a lunch every day. He thought of her like a 2nd mom in the summer. Now he gets the privilege of calling her mom, because I ended up marrying that John.
During the days, we boogie boarded in the water while my mom sat on her chair with her feet in the water watching to make sure we were safe. She never took the time to read a book like the other moms. She didn’t want to miss what we were doing. At night after we ate our yummy dinner (not sure how she had the time or energy to make anything), we would head to the boardwalk to go on rides and get a Kohr Brother’s ice cream cone. We would walk home, get tucked safely in our beds, to turn around and do it all over again the next day. That was the best time of my life.
Since my son was born thirteen years ago, we were fortunate to be able to rent a house for the week with my parents at our favorite place. Yes, you guessed it, Ocean City. My mom would do all of this again but this time it was with my children. I can only hope that when I have my own grandchildren that I have the energy that she has with mine. She is their “Mimi” and she couldn’t be cherished or loved more by either of them.
During all of these years, my mom would always wish that we could have a place of our own at the beach, in which we could go whenever we wanted! Her wish, and my wish, has come true! This past fall we went together and bought a place in OCNJ. It isn’t big and it isn’t elaborate…but it’s ours. It’s ours to create even more memories with my parents and all of their grandchildren. This weekend will be the first Mother’s Day that we get to celebrate in our favorite place together and order our traditional Mother’s Day dinner, hoagies. (So she wouldn’t have to cook).
I am so honored to be able to call my mom, “Mom”. We all love you with all of our hearts.
From Susan, our head designer…..
“Norma” or “Norm” – that’s what everyone calls my Mom –even my kids! It’s not Grandma – it’s Norma! Everyone who has ever met my Mom loves her and her quirky fun personality. She loves to talk (she’ll talk to anyone) and tell stories and she just makes people smile and laugh. Growing up, my mom was known as “the fun mom”. When we woke up in the morning, my mom was there playing right alongside of us in whatever adventures we came up with. My favorite show when I was about 10 years old was “I Dream of Jeannie”. I was actually kind of obsessed with being Jeannie! One day, Norma surprised me by converting her entire bedroom into Jeannie’s bottle. It wasn’t my birthday or anything like that – it was just something fun to do – and I loved it! I also remember her making all of our clothes and the most beautiful Halloween costumes when we were kids! I guess that’s where my design genes came from! I love to watch her with my kids today, playing with them, telling her stories, and passing on our family traditions – like eating pretzels with Ice Cream! If you haven’t tried it – you need to! Sometimes I’ll turn around, and my mom is already there with whatever we need – she just has a way of being one step ahead of the rest of us! So Norma – thank you for being you, for being our friend, for giving us these memories, for being there every time we need you today, and most of all for being our Mom! I love you Norm!
A letter from Diane, one of our artists, to her Mother—
Although you passed away nine years ago, I have learned so much from you not only as how to be a good Mother to my children, but to be a good positive person in how I live my life today.
I appreciate my childhood today more than ever. Since I was the baby of the family, youngest girl with three much older brothers, I grew up like an only child since my brothers were all grown up and pretty much all moved out and married by the time I was 5. I grew up with you and Dad taking me on long vacations to Florida and Disneyworld every year since it opened when I was only 4 years old. We would drive to Florida stopping at every tourist trap along the way such as Virginia Beach, Outer banks, Myrtle Beach and sometimes the very famous South of the Border. I wish you and Dad were still here with us to let you know that I still travel a lot and go on many vacations with my family to this day.
You have taught me some of my best qualities to this day. You have taught me how to cook just about anything. You also taught me how to sew, which led me to my career as an apparel fashion designer today. But most of all you have taught me how to try to do my best in everything that I do in life. You met all three of my children when they were really young and did your best to guide me along to be the best Mother in the world to them as you were to me.
I think of you very often, especially on Holidays and Mother’s day. But when I do think of you and the life that we spent together, it always makes me very happy to have loved and to have been given the good life values you have given to me that I can pass along to my family now. So thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Angel… well you know who I am…
The stories from the folks above are all so wonderful, and each made me cry thinking about my Mother. She too was “Mom” to all of my & my sister’s friends growing up. One friend after another would be sleeping on our couch when they got in trouble with their parents, or even if they just needed a hug from a “Mom”. We never had much growing up, but my Mother always made sure we had what we needed—and nagged my father until it was so! LOL! Estle passed away 13 years ago, and I miss her every day. I especially missed her with all of my wedding festivities last year. But I know she is with me all the time. I see her in my sister Vickie, in the way she is raising her boys. Mom would be smiling ear to ear seeing what a wonderful Mom she is. I see her in myself—in the mirror almost every day. My Uncle Bob just said to me last weekend, how my expressions reminded him of her. So as women, we do become our mothers. So take extra special care your Mother today & always!
Until next time,
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