Happy Monday to one and all, plus a very joyful 2021! I always look forward to Mondays. It’s my favorite day of the week because it represents the #52Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!
Every single day is a new beginning – each one being a celebration, in and of itself. But today is particularly celebrated, as it’s the first Monday of the first month of a brand new year! Thus, today has been declared “Thank God Its Monday Day”!
As NationalDayCalendar.com claims: “Mondays are often full of new beginnings.” Adding… “Not only does the observance focus on the first Monday in January but on every Monday throughout the year.” Suggesting we should… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…”
Personally, I love all of that – especially since I write these blog entries, in memory of my mom, and post them every Monday! In the process, I’m always learning new things, as well as teaching them to others. Since I started writing Mondays & Memories of My Mom in September 2018, it has always energized and motivated me for the rest of my week – much the same way writing always energized and inspired my mom. I can only hope that these blog posts about Mom’s legacy energize and inspire you as well.
January is also, among other things, National Mentoring Month and, again, while it is celebrated throughout the whole month, it should also be practiced continually throughout the year! In fact, I have made a #MondayMentor resolution – to try to be a positive mentor, teacher, or influencer for someone each Monday throughout the year!
Mom has been my mentor in so many ways since I was a small child. She was a “creative master” at whatever she attempted. I’ve always wished I had half of her creative talents. Mom wore SO many hats in our family, as well as in the “family enterprise” (as she called it). For our family, she was the cook, maid, chauffer, nurse, seamstress, secretary, teacher, counselor, mentor, and still more.
In her dining-room-table cottage operation, Mom was the recipe developer, author, illustrator, layout creator, publicist, promotion specialist, public speaker/lecturer and more. Mom was a “Wonder Woman” who tried to devote herself to balancing all of it! Mom especially loved to mentor those who shared her love for writing! She had many mentors and influencers, herself, throughout the years.
‘My mother is another good example I’ve followed. Her best gift and her greatest asset is that she’s always been a patient listener and a wise advisor. She was absolutely loyal to my father…The world could turn [its] back on her children, but she would always be there for them when we needed her. She’s given me an example that’s going to be tough to equal.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 8)
I grew up, as my mom did, motivated by my parents to seize opportunities (although, there were many I missed) and to always put across my best efforts in everything I do. Everyone should have at least one good example, if not a few good examples, to follow. Additionally, we should all strive to be a good example, as well.
‘I’ve had so many good examples to follow – I’ll try to be one, myself, to somebody else.’ – Gloria Pitzer (This is not a Cook Book, written and self-published by Gloria Pitzer (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 8)
Mom, herself, was greatly influenced to write throughout her life by many talented women. From the Bronte sisters, whose family story she saw in the 1946 film, “Devotion”, to Maya Angelou, whose story in a 1993 issue of the “Christian Science Monitor” told of how her devotion to writing developed with “the yellow pad”
Mom journaled about her life and that of her family ever since she was about 10 years old. She felt that writing was her “calling” and continued to compose daily, until she physically couldn’t – which was over 70 years of journaling!
Shout-out to screenwriters, as tomorrow is #NationalScreenwritersDay! Their significant influence on us, as a society, is a story for another day.
Comedians and writers like Carol Burnette, Mary Tyler Moore, and Lucille Ball top the list of Mom’s “Woman-Power” influencers. Other talented ladies to whom Mom looked up include Erma Bombeck, Betsy Masterton, Peg Bracken, and Irma Rombauer; just to name a handful.
In fact, a lot of the crafty format Mom used in her newsletters and cookbooks was largely influenced by her own favorite crafter, Carol Duvall; who, in the 1970s, had a “Craft Letter” (as she called it) and a 5 minute crafting segment on WDIV-TV (Channel 4 in Detroit), called “Here’s Carol Duvall”. The two became fast friends.
That was long before Carol had moved from the Detroit area to the Traverse City area, then on to ABC’s “Home” show in California (1988-1994), which was before she began hosting “The Carol Duvall Show” on HGTV (1994-2005), and prior to moving to the DIY network (2005-2009).
In later years, Mom was also largely influenced to continue in her passion for writing by Maya Angelou. In one of Mom’s writings (as seen below), she recounted an inspiring interview Maya had with David Holstrom, “Christian Science Monitor” (1993), as she told of her experience with “the yellow pad”.
Maya said she went to her voice teacher in mental turmoil over having to leave her child in Europe when she returned to the States. Frightened for her sanity, she told her teacher that she thought she was going mad. He gave her a yellow pad and told her to write down her blessings.
She said she didn’t even want to hear that, but he insisted that she start with the fact that she could hear him, that she could see the page, that she could hold the pen. ‘Before I reached the end of the page,’ she [Maya] said, ‘I was transformed. So, everything I have written, every book, every stage play, every screenplay, was written on a yellow pad. As soon as I pick it up, I am reminded of my blessings.’
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 113)
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, was always my mother’s advice to me when I would try to bend a sympathetic ear, imploring her to comfort me and keep me company in my occasional misery. And, of course, misery does love company!
But counting my blessings was the last thing in the world I felt up to doing when the world seemed to be so hopelessly bleak, and whatever problem I had at the time, seem so devastating to me. Now here I am telling my own children the same thing. Only I tell my own children to count their opportunities, for an opportunity is just a blessing in disguise!
I wish I had known this years ago. What frustrating disappointments I could have avoided, or at the upmost, handled better. I would’ve used the enthusiasm and the optimism that I acquired during the last two years or so to work off those petty resentments that separate us from folks whom we could really care about, if we only get to know them better, and perhaps understand why we’re in conflict.
Naturally, if we judge everything by what we see on television, we’d know that’s impossible – that people in conflict can’t resolve their differences, or so the reports indicate in those real-life fantasies that exaggerate greed, envy and contempt as if the motivation for these traits were purely justified. I don’t think they ever are!
Preparing your assortment of thoughts and feelings in a compatible mixture, in order to produce successful relationships, is really no different than preparing an assortment of compatible ingredients in a recipe for a dish that promises to be a stunning success on the dinner table.
Whether it’s a recipe for preparing a very good dish, or a very good relationship, the basics are still the same – compatible ingredients, attention to detail, thinking about what you are doing, and making logical adjustments as you go!
Devotion, as well as many other events and people, (family, friends, co-workers, & influential strangers) empowered Mom to be a pioneer and a trailblazer in her chosen field; as a writer, satirist/humorist, cartoonist, publisher, marketer, and more. Mom was proud to be a homemaker and yet also have a “paying” career (from home), where she could cleverly combine them, both!
Regardless of the Women’s Liberation Movement, Mom set to work, focusing her writing and food-for-thought subject matter toward the fence-sitting, semi-liberated homemakers and pantry-cupboard cooks like herself; as she wrote, published and marketed her own newsletter for more than a quarter of a century – January 1974 through December 2000 (as well as her 40+ cookbooks).
Two of Mom’s first and biggest influences in homemaking were, of course, her own mom; as well as my dad’s mom – since Mom and Dad lived with Dad’s parents for a short while when they were first married. Below is a picture of the “inspiration” story that Mom wrote many decades ago and re-printed in one of the last issues of her newsletter.
I really consider myself lucky to have “The Recipe Detective” as my mom and that I (as well as everyone else) can continue to enjoy and learn from her timeless writings – her legacy of love. That’s what I enjoy most, sharing those memories, discoveries, and lessons with all of you! Furthermore, I love to hear stories from others whose lives Mom has touched, as well.
Since starting the blog and some social media pages in Mom’s honor, I’ve received many emails, comments, and messages from people who remember the joy Mom brought them and their families through her cookbooks, newsletters, TV appearances, and radio interviews. That motivates me to continue carrying Mom’s torch and sharing and writing about the legacy of love she left for all of us!
What motivates or inspires you? I’d love to hear from you! Please write to me at: [email protected].
Something else in which Mom inspired me is my passion to continually learn new things. Besides being grateful for something every day, Mom would also promote learning something new every day. From that, I’ve resolved that every day is a defining moment for me (as well as for each and every one of us) in which a combination of experience, faith and knowledge influence my/our personal evolution(s).
We should seize those moments and days that challenge us and do our best to make the most of them! I am going to strive to Learn Something New Every Day and to share/teach something new, here, every week! As an unpaid and unofficial “non-spokesperson”, I’d like to share some links from one of MY favorite go-to sources of inspiration, besides Mom’s writings, which is NationalDayCalendar.com. They offer such a wide array of information on such a wide array of subjects to learn about and celebrated throughout the year!
Today is also National Spaghetti Day! In honor, here is Mom’s “secret recipe” (and one of our family’s favorites) for imitating Big Boy’s popular spaghetti dinner at home, Mom called her version “Beg Bouy” Spaghetti. [As originally seen in her self-published book, The 2nd Helping of Secret Recipes Cookbook (National Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; July 1977, p. 9).]
P. S. Food-For-Thought until we meet, again, next Monday…
Some other fun celebrations to learn more about this week include: Celebration Of Life Week (January 1st-7th), Diet Resolution Week (January 1st-7th) , & New Year’s Resolution Week (January 1st-7th). Additionally,…
Today is also National Missouri Day!
Thursday is National Tempura Day and Mom’s birthday (she would’ve been turning 85)!
Saturday is National Apricot Day!
Sunday is the start of National Mocktails Week, National Folic Acid Awareness Week, National Pizza Week, and Universal Letter Writing Week. Sunday is also national Bittersweet Chocolate Day, national Cut Your Energy Costs Day, National Oysters Rockefeller Day, & national Sunday Supper day!
In fact, all of January is celebrating national Sunday Supper month! Other January month-long celebrations include: National Blood-Donor Month [or #DonateBlood], National Hobby Month, National Hot Tea Month [also: #HotTeaMonth or #TeaTime], National Oatmeal Month, national Slow Cooking Month, & National Soup Month.
…1 down and 51 more, to which I happily look forward!