Wednesday, June 4, 2008


My 82-year-old mother, my kids call her Oma, was actually the reason why I finally decided to take the plunge into the blogosphere. She has been ill since April 22. After five visits to the emergency room, numerous doctors’ visits, and many lab tests later, we still do not have a diagnosis. Tomorrow she will get a cat scan of her head.

At first I wanted to launch a blog in order ask medical advice, but I decided it was better to celebrate her amazing life. There is a lot to tell, so I will share just little tidbits at a time.

Here is a recent picture of her in front of the cottage behind her apartment building in the Cole Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, near tangobaby. When she first bought the building she lived in the cottage, but she was miserable there. She moved to the front apartment where she could see the N Judah stop right in front of her window. “I like to see ze people valking by, hear ze lovers’ quarrels, and see how ze young people dress.” In case you haven’t noticed, she speaks with a German accent. Her father was Dutch and her mother German.

The cottage recently became vacant, and because she was ill, my sister, her husband, and I helped her get it ready for the next tenant, thus I happen to have some photos. This is the cottage.

And this is the view from the living room window.

The garden is my mother’s. She dotes over this tiny plot of land, but it is just the right size for her. I love how unstructured and bountiful her garden is. The cinerarias bloom stronger every year, with no telling where they will pop up. The tallest tree you see on the right is a variegated holly tree she grew from a tiny drugstore four-inch pot. Can I tell you how many times I’ve tried and failed to grow a holly from a drugstore four-inch pot? I console myself by saying it must be the San Francisco fog.

Here’s the kitchen with her famed cineraria.

She bought the apartment building before Cole Valley became the tony part of town. Her instincts told her that this part of town would flourish and, as usual, her instincts were right. Long ago, she had a vision to buy an apartment building in order to support her in her later years. She doggedly stuck to her goal and achieved it, one baby step at a time.
Not bad for someone with an eight-grade education.


tangobaby said...

As someone who has met Oma, I know she is a force of nature and a strong, smart lady.

I can only admire her innate wisdom and vision and hope that her health improves very soon. Thank you for sharing her story and the lovely photos.


Anonymous said...

I had the privilege of sharing a cup of tea with your Mom last week. I was fascinated with the amazing stories of her life, and all that she has survived. What a determined and amazing woman your mother is, and still smiling and a little naughty at her age..

Your neighbor across the street..

Anonymous said...

Oma proudly took me on a tour of her beautiful German home town where she cared of her dear Grandmother.She has a wonderful story to tell of the American Dream acheived with hard work and determination.
What a charmer she is.I only wish we lived closer so I could visit with her.I know they will solve her problem soon and remember that This time too shall pass.
my love and prayers! Meeps

Anonymous said...

Dear tangobaby, neighbor, and Meeps,

Thank you for visiting my new blog and for your lovely stories. I will be sure to share them with Oma.

I appreciate your support!

hugs to all!

tangobaby said...

That's what friends (and blogs!) are for. Lots of love to you both.

Relyn Lawson said...

I am so excited to get to meet "Oma" - sort of. Your lovely stories and photos will have to hold me over until I finally make it to SF. Maybe you will take me to visit her? What a wise woman! I would love to be her new tenant. Am eager for more stories and photos. xooxxo ~ R

Anonymous said...

Dear Relyn,

Oma would LOVE to meet you and you would love her. She will even give you free, unsolicited advice! I am looking forward to unfolding her stories. Thanks for taking an interest!

Anonymous said...

oh i like this photograph! she is sitting just as i would envision an Oma would amongst flowers and with her support hose and cane.

but i don't have any idea of her health now since this is from june... althoughwait!! i was just about to read a post where yousaid you went to the quilt show!! o bless her she is up and about :)

p.s. if relyn comes to SF and TB is there and you are there i am determined to be there as well.... did this occur already :(

Anonymous said...

i don't often get so far ahead of myself but i admit to making the comment above before ever reading the entire post... i got a little excited, thus jumped ahead of myself :) i see least i think i do that you live in around about SF as well as your mother and your sister too. and that you have spent time already with TB which i know is a delight from heaven both both of you!!


Dutchbaby said...

Dear robin bird,

You are very astute to notice her support hose. I am writing an Oma update post as we speak, she is much better!

No, relyn has not come to SF yet. I'm hoping. The thought of having you join the party makes me giddy! We'll have to set these plans into motion.

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