This picture is of my mom and me at a train station in Mississippi, on our way home to McAlester, Okla. I was 4 and clearly remember looking all over for “Mrs. Ippi.” My mom opened the world to me with her fearlessness, independence and love of travel. She never met a stranger. At age 19, she crossed the Midwest to see her beloved ocean for the first time. The car was old, my daddy young, their baby in diapers, but the journey was full of life and lots of love.
— Jan Lethers, San Luis Obispo
My mother loved parties! All of my birthdays were special, but my birthday in 1959 took an unexpected turn. A doll with a cupcake dress was a special request for my 11th birthday. It was perfect until my mother began to light the candles. The doll’s hair caught on fire! My father came running in with a wet dishtowel, and doll and cupcakes were both ruined. I will always remember this day, but more importantly I will always remember the love my mother showed through her parties. — Linda Murray, Cayucos
I started watching my mom in the kitchen at a very early age. I loved being with her and learning about cooking. She wasn’t a “great” cook, but she did make healthy, hearty meals. I learned enough and enjoyed it so much that I was making meals for the family by about the age of 12 years old. Thanks, Mom, for all you gave. I miss you every day. — Darlene Hagadus, Nipomo
Whenever I look at this photo, I'm reminded of the many beautiful memories I’ve accumulated through the years and smile. My mom, who always looked at life half full, instilled that same value in my own life. During one of our sillier moments, we pose in our travel trailer modeling our matching PJs for my dad. We were definitely a hit! — Sue Scheel, Atascadero
My mother gave birth to and raised 10 children, enough said! As if that was not enough, she along with my father moved their family in the early 1970s from the Philippines to California with no job and did not speak the language — with hope of providing their children with a brighter future. My mom not only cared for her 10 children, but she also worked in the fields farming sugar peas seven days a week for 20 years. At my mom’s funeral, we summarized my mom’s essence with three words: courage, sacrifice and family. Our entire family thanks my mom and my dad for the opportunities and values they gave our family. — Clarence C. Cabreros, Arroyo Grande
My mom will be 91 soon. Every morning upon arising, she bathes, puts on her makeup and reads the L.A. Times before breakfast at 8 at her assisted living facility. She still colors her hair bright red and wears her jewelry. She brings her “boom box,” which she puts on her walker seat traveling to the dining room so that the other residents can enjoy music while they “dine.” Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Andrea Bocelli, her Italian heritage right on that seat. She taught my sister and me to cook good Italian food, and her adage to us was “Always make your bed so the house will look clean, no matter what.” And put lipstick on to give you color. So, after all these years, that is what we still do. My mom is something else! — Victoria Grostick, San Luis Obispo
This picture of my mother and me was taken about 60 years ago at a street fair in Bluffton, Ind. My mother was a neat freak, a loving but strict mother, a first-place winner in a Charleston dance contest, superstitious, empathetic to all underdogs, genteel and much, much more! But what warms my heart when I remember her is her wonderful sense of FUN. She taught me joy in living.
— Marj Wolters, Arroyo Grande
My family rode on the trolley to tour the Port San Luis Lighthouse in Avila Beach a couple of years ago. My mother, who was 95 years old, wanted to ride on the swing out there. My brother is in the picture, pushing her. It was fun to see her act like a little girl, laughing and having a great time. She passed away this January, but I will never forget this day.
— Annette Fesler, Arroyo Grande
Mom has always been an inspiration. She took up golf late in life — a surprise to all of us, a family of tennis players. It didn’t take long until we traded racquets for clubs. Now Mom and I play together at least once a week. I have to admit she usually wins.
— Jody Belsher, San Luis Obispo
Mom graduated in 1940, and by 1961 she had five children and still looked young and sexy. She always took time to take us on outdoor adventures when Dad was at work. In this picture, we were at a museum. Other times we went to the beach or a lake, or she gave us independence to walk to the library on our own, which made us feel grown up.
Mom taught us the importance of exercise on a daily basis. As a 3-year-old and older, I remember her watching Jack LaLanne on TV with all the tools necessary, a kitchen chair and canned vegetables for weights. I won’t ever forget the memories we have with her and how special she was. She taught us to cook, bake, sew and love, and how to clean, which are all important things to learn and know. Thank you, Mom. — Lisa Blair, Los Osos
Seldom did my mom, Renas Elizabeth Parkhurst, and I dress alike. Mom preferred pastel colors, and I liked bold jewel tones in clothing. However, Christmas ’65, we both received faux leopard-print clothing as gifts. Together, we were two cool cats! In 2002, Mom moved to Casa de Flores in Morro Bay. She kept her faux leopard jacket with her wardrobe. Since her death, the faux leopard jacket hangs in my closet, a remembrance of the ’60s and Mom. — Patricia Parkhurst Gagala, San Luis Obispo
Mom supported me when I joined the Navy at 18 and then was part of D-Day at 19. She wrote me daily. Today, at 89, I think of her every day — her support was so very important in all the mistakes young guys make — and continue to make. Thanks, Mom. — Bill Denneen, Nipomo
My mother, Mia Schaufus, came to America from Germany in May 1929. She was 25 years old. My father was already here and was there to meet her ship in New York when it arrived. He had two job offers at the time; one was in Pittsburgh and the other in Los Angeles. While she was still on board, he called up to her, “Mia, where would you rather go? To Pittsburgh or to California?” She knew she didn’t want to go to Pittsburgh so she called back, “Do they have tropical birds and tangerines in California?” My father called back, “I don’t know about the birds but I’m pretty sure they have tangerines.” That was all she wanted to hear. So she called back, “Fine. Then we’ll go to California.” And so that’s what they did. And that was the start of their life in America.
— Henry Schaufus, San Luis Obispo
This picture is from the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. I am the one looking silly, and I cannot remember why my older sister looks so perturbed. My mother died back in 1977, but I have many fond memories in photos thanks to her tenacity with asking anyone walking by to take a picture. I have learned to do the same with my kids, and I am grateful for that lesson as well as many other life lessons. Happy Mother’s Day to all moms! — Priscilla Young, Paso Robles
When our mother contracted polio back in 1951, we were just little kids. For 14 years, she ran the household as a quadriplegic.
One summer, our mother decided to enter an essay contest held by a local television station stating why we needed a swimming pool. We were living in North Hollywood, where the summers were hot. It would be perfect for her and my sister, who also contracted polio, for therapy.
Mom came in second place and received a cash prize, and we got our pool. For many summers the pool was the cool place to be.
— Sue Mongillo, Arroyo Grande
I was born on my mother's birthday, just one of the many reasons we always had a special relationship. All through my childhood I'd ask, “What's the best birthday gift you ever got, Mom?" And she'd always answer, "Why you, Peter, of course!" Sadly, we lost her three months ago at the age of 88. Here's a photo from my third birthday in the 1950s, along with Mom and my uncle holding me — his birthday too. Gotta love the homemade birthday cake in the foil-lined pan, with all three of our names in those old-fashioned candy letters. — Pete Howard, San Luis Obispo
When I was 12, Mom bought me a new red blazer for a special night out. While I was in the shower, I left the jacket hanging on the bathroom doorknob. When I got out, I smelled smoke. The left sleeve was toasted by the wall heater. But when I tearfully showed my mom what happened, instead of getting angry at me, she cried with me! When we went out that night, she stayed close by my side, shielding my sleeve from view. Mom has always been close to my heart, but that night, she gave it new meaning! — Barry Rands, San Luis Obispo
This picture represents four generations: four moms, two daughters, two sons, all from the same family. Shown here are Lois Lemons (age 101, still living), Deon Dunaway, Donette Dunaway-Fields, April Harris, Calia Kammer, Keenan Harris, Weston Kammer, and Tia Harris, adopted from China. They all have a common bond of strong will, won’t sit still, and, yes, they all do like lemons! — Dan Harris, Paso Robles
Mom and I in a photo booth picture! She lost her fight with cancer the summer I turned 18. I treasure every memory and keep her alive in my heart! I still miss her so much!
— Anne Pickens Arnett, Atascadero
After college, I managed to visit my parents only once or twice a year, so I chatted every Sunday with my mom. A good portion of the conversation would turn on whether or not I finally had “met someone” to love and marry, and for a good many years, my answer was always “Not yet, Mom.” Finally, at the age of 47, I met my future husband, and we married when I was 49. The “last holdout” among her children had finally tied the knot! In this photo taken the day of my wedding, I was crying, but Mom was beaming! — Mari O’Brien, San Luis Obispo