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was not there for my first couple of Christmases, we would always celebrate with a decorated Christmas tree and gifts under it from "Santa."

My mother was very strict with my brother and me. She expected good grades on our report cards, and she would not put up with bad manners when we were out in public or visiting someone in their home. My mother taught us respect for other people's property. Friends and relatives did not have to move their knickknacks to a higher shelf when we came to visit, because we were taught to "look, but do not touch." If we misbehaved, my mother would give us that special warning look, that most mothers have learned to perfect, letting us know, in no uncertain terms, that if we did not shape up immediately, we would be very uncomfortable later on, after we arrived back home. I was raised in the days when spankings to discipline a child were not considered child abuse, as they are today. "Spare the rod and spoil the child" was the catch phrase for parents in the 40's and 50's, thanks to a man named Dr. Spock, who wrote the bible of childrearing. Parents nowadays seem afraid to discipline their children and that lack of discipline is apparent in the disrespect and violence demonstrated by some of today's youth.

My mother encouraged me to take dancing lessons to give me gracefulness and also to bring me out of my shell, as I have always tended to be a loner, and was quite shy as a child. She lovingly sewed every sequin on my dance costumes and then cheered me on from the front row of the audience at my dance recitals. Actually, my mother has always been my best audience, and I will miss her being the sounding board for the poetry and short stories I love to write. She always encouraged my creativity and supported any activities I was interested in pursuing.

I will remember fondly, the hot summer nights of my youth, when we would sit on the front porch, sip our iced tea, and gaze at the stars. I will miss sitting around watching television or playing cards or monopoly with my mother. I will miss watching her doing a crossword puzzle or reading an interesting book and how she would lecture me about how I should read more books and watch less television.

I will always remember how difficult it was for her to walk away on my first day of school. I could see the tears in her eyes as she said "Goodbye." My mother was very involved with my school, attending all the PTA meetings and school functions. When I was in Sunday school, she would attend all the pageants and potluck dinners, and accompany me on mother-daughter outings. She was totally involved in her children's lives. When I was a teenager, my mother had to know whom all my friends were, where I was going, and what I was doing. I even had a curfew! Of course, as a teenager, I thought I knew more than she did, and we certainly had our share of mother-daughter disagreements. Often I resented her


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