My mother, Betty Sammis, a longtime resident of her beloved Carson City, along with her husband Bill Sammis, turned 90 years old in March. She is as beautiful and vibrant as ever, walking 45 minutes a day, and enjoying the love of her family. Whenever anyone asks what her beauty regimen has been to keep her staying so gorgeous, her reply is always the same: “Oxygen. Plenty of oxygen.” She is a remarkable woman.
I have lived a life of gratitude to have been fortunate enough to be her daughter. The following poem was written for her recent birthday with great devotion. She is truly loved by her entire family and anyone lucky enough to have crossed her path.
The shining eyes of a daughter, a sister, an unshaded window into endearing friendships — a confidant by all measure.
The eyes of a loving mother of three — a grandmother of the same count — guarding and watchful.
We, the younger branches of a family tree who adored her glance when small, adore it still.
What sparkles within those dark, warm eyes? Love ... reflective jewels
As true as the sun and moon set in their orbit, always lighting our way.
Those eyes, looking out so sweetly from that beautiful face,
Continue to grace us all with her presence as she enters her 90th year
And we are humbled. We are grateful. We are forever touched
With the grace of Betty’s eyes.
Daughter recalls mother’s love and dedication
My mother, Dorothy Martell, was born on Aug. 1, 1915, and she was raised by her mother and maternal grandparents.
She met my father when she was 12 and they married when she was 20.
I was born two years later as Mother helped Dad build their first home with two rooms and outdoor plumbing.
We lived in the country and mom walked five miles to catch a trolley to her job.
She made our clothing from feed sacks on a treadle sewing machine. She also crocheted, knitted and embroidered. We had a garden for groceries, cow for milk and chickens for eggs.
She encouraged and was always there for me, teaching me to sew and cook. We shared many laughs.
Mom and Dad loved to ballroom and square dance. She lost her only sibling from leukemia when he was young.
Dad became a firefighter and Mom a secretary, active in many professional clubs. She worked hard to keep me clean, fed and clothed. She was very loving.
She baked good cakes on a very old stove on an uneven floor. We teased her as the cakes were tasty but lopsided.
She got cancer, surviving the treatments to conquer that horrible disease. My father died when she was 80 and married almost 60 years, never quite recovering from the loss.
It was hard when arthritis and poor vision made her crafts nearly impossible. She would read many novels as emphysema made it hard for her to walk and breathe. She never complained about anything, taking it all in stride, as was her nature.
A bad hospital procedure led to her untimely death three days after her 90th birthday. That was in 2005 and I truly miss her every day.
She was a very special person. Hard to describe in 300 words.
An independent woman of stature and grace
She’s always been there for us
Just talking to her can make us happy
She tells us of the hard times she’s been through
In hopes that we won’t go through them too
She’s an independent woman of stature and grace
She has beautiful eyes and a lovely face
An audacious strength from deep inside
In her we know we can confide
She’s my guardian angel who’ll always be
A very special part of me
She takes pride in caring for her kin
She gives us hope and things to believe in
If I didn’t have her there for me
I wouldn’t be half the woman I turned out to be
Brittany Prebezac and Sondra Willeford
Jet-setting daughter describes mom’s selfless love and care
Upon graduating from the University of Nevada, I told my parents I was moving to Ethiopia. Despite not knowing anything about the country, my mother and father’s response was simply, “How can we support you?” Thus began a tradition, now in its tenth year, of my mother lovingly and selflessly “packing me up” and sending me off on my next adventure.
My career with the United Nations has deprived my family of the traditions most families keep, forcing me to miss countless birthdays and anniversaries over the years. Weekly family meals have become once-a-year events, and I haven’t been home for Christmas in over six years. Nevertheless, my mother (in addition to assuaging my guilt for being an absentee daughter) has ensured we maintain our own special traditions.
Ours is a tradition of thoughtfully assembled care packages filled with inaccessible necessities and favorites from home and of late nights packing, re-packing, and weighing my suitcases to ensure they meet the 50-pound threshold of international flights. It is a tradition of tearful “goodbyes” and elated “welcome homes.” It is a tradition of daily intercontinental messages just to say “hi” and long-distance Skype calls (during which my parents dutifully provide proof-of-life of the two foreign cats I disposed upon them some years back). It has also become a tradition of traveling together. My mother and I have lounged on the beaches of Sinai; trekked through Petra, one of the seven modern wonders; explored the Atlas Mountains of Morocco; and feasted on tapas in Spain. These trips, and my memories of them, have become precious to me.
I am privileged that ours has become a tradition of the pure selflessness only a mother can possess — the selflessness required to let me go, time and time again and to support my dreams, no matter how far away they may take me from her.
New York City, N.Y.
A tribute to mothers
God made the streams,
He made the hills,
He made the rainbow
That appears in the sky.
He made Mother because
She would care for her babies.
But she wore no medal.
And we hear your soft voice
Which once made her infant’s heart rejoice ...
No one can take your place.
There will never be another.
–To my mother
‘Loving, generous and self-sacrificing’ mother is missed every day
The daughter of a physician who served in the U.S. Army during World War I and later as a post surgeon at Ft. Riley, Kansas, my Army brat mother married a regular career naval officer.
My twin brother and I were preemies, so she had us when our big brother was 10-1/2 months old. She would refer to the three of us as her “litter.”
Mom was the most affectionate, loving, generous and self-sacrificing mother one could ask for.
When I was a child and upset about something she would wrap her arms around me with understanding and compassion and assure me everything would be all right and it would.
Mom’s devotion to my father was boundless. Every time his ship would arrive to a U.S. port she would load us kids into the car to meet him. “Follow the ship” was her motto.
She was a woman of optimism and great faith. When I started crying one day and expressed fear that my father, who was in command of an attack transport in the Pacific Theatre during World War II, would not return she uncharacteristically blew her stack with me.
“He will come back,” she snapped, emphasizing the word “will.” And he did.
My mother died in 1982 at the age of 77 from an infection following surgery.
I miss her and think of her every day.
To the moon and back
Mom, we wanted to write you a letter. We thought at first about getting you a card, but how many of those do you have now? Then we thought flowers, but those come and go are never memorable. Then we thought skydiving, but maybe we needed to slow our roll there. We aren’t very sentimental children — we’ll blame dad for that one today — but we needed something for the most beautiful woman in our lives.
You made our darkness turn to light. The springing little girl your mother fell in love with stayed agile and lively within you all these years. And that youth and charisma transferred to your children’s’ eyes, wide and filled with joy.
From days of snowball fights in the yard, shuffling around looking for “rocks” with little points, to enjoying a nice breakfast with overly sweet coffee.
Also, you know Erin hates looking for rocks, right? Wanted you to know, you are forever on our minds, forever in our hearts.
You are a feisty ball of energy, even grandma says you’re like a motorcar.
You say you love us to the moon and back. And we mistakenly saw you as delicate as a lilac.
And we saw how strong you are, with one heart near, and one heart far.
But no matter what, we love you to the moon and back.
Shaunie and Em Em
God blessed us, when he gave you as our mother,
The most loving, thoughtful, kindest person, unlike no other.
Happy Mother’s Day,
Sandy and Randy