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Carol Jean Wehrwein Thomas and daughter, Susan Rebecca Thomas in 1954

As the eldest of four children and the only daughter of Roy & Carol, one might conclude that I was highly favored and most blessed. However, I recall wishing at times that I had at least one older brother who could forge a sure path ahead of me, especially in what must be wildly uncertain teenage years. Unlike Mom who did not have an athletic bent or have siblings, I loved playing outside to explore on foot or on my bicycle, definitely preferred climbing trees, played sports, and pretended to ride horses rather than having dolls or frilly clothes. Driving along country roads on a Sunday afternoon was the best fun because we could stop at any time discovering the beautiful mountainous areas of southern Colorado. My vast rock collection was indeed special, an avid past time no matter where we lived or where I “ended up” as the years progressed. Nose to the ground, that was me! In addition, piano lessons included much dreary practice, and yet being able to read lovely notes on a diverse set of pages was an advantage I enjoyed much later just like our Mom and Dad, but while playing the flute and piccolo beyond college. Our family certainly has a long history of incorporating music into our lives, both choral and instrumental.
Once adult with my own two daughters to raise (no sons, but now four Grandboys!) while moving from Army post to post, my Mom and I began to share more similar experiences than ever before. Husband Jay served as an Army Facility Engineer so that my connections, interests, and literal adjustments managing a growing family took shape just as our mother had to find ways to run a family of six while working full time. Once our daughters reached middle and high school age, I finished my Bachelor's degree, we moved to Jay's last duty station near Atlanta before he retired, and my full time professional career launched. Guess what else? Just like our parents, our family continued moving from place to place for years as Jay's company transferred him to new positions. Thus, my own career took several twists and unexpected turns much more than for Mom.
Here's what's most fascinating: I wanted to be a teacher as a young gal, but actually first spent ten years as a Children's Librarian at a branch library in Chattanooga, TN before obtaining my M.Ed in Elementary Education years later. Our mother began working full time by teaching a variety of English, Drama, and Journalism classes in a small southern Colorado high school in La Jara before spending several decades as a Media Specialist at Rockville High School in Montgomery County, MD. Talk about having much in common as we were both hip-deep into full-time pursuits of family and career!
And yet, our rather diverse hobbies also brought us together even more with hand work like sewing and needlecrafts, customized projects, and homemade gifts. Strange in a way to think about the legacy of Mom's mother and grandmother who focused on delicate filet crochet generations earlier, the very craft I discovered while living in Bavaria, Germany in 1986-89. So delightful and very lovely. For me, it was extremely addictive as I gathered German patterns no matter where we traveled, regardless if magazines and books were in English or German. One of our genealogy trips took us to Rothenberg, Germany to visit a distant cousin. Mom was thrilled to discuss family history printed on a long sheet which they pored over with great detail. This type of dedication and determination to learn through new ventures and to nurture talents is now evident in the next generation. Our daughter Becky's love of quilting no doubt comes from several family members, and more recently knitting just like Grandma Thomas who made some of her own sweaters. Daughter Jennie extends our family's legacy of beautiful photography as well as being an educator and writer. Dare I say that both daughters Becky and Jennie have athletic ambitions unlike their grandmother such as for triathlons, marathons, biking, yoga, and more? No sweat. Mom's not at all jealous, but quite proud of their achievements.
To top it off, Mom always had words and their origins running through her mind so that she would be prepared for tutoring multi-cultural students learning to improve their English speaking skills as a second language. She developed her own course materials and unique approach: created original word games, made numerous lists of word forms, and devised corresponding meanings with appropriate examples taken from real life, of course. No fiction! For nearly ten years I was able to utilize learning American Sign Language in the 1980’s in two different jobs. Thus, another legacy of our mother's was a love of language, good books, great writers, and excellent speaking voices, all of which she could recite at a moment's notice to illustrate a specific point exactly. As Winnie the Pooh would say, “ It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like 'What about lunch?'” Or perhaps, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” That's our Mom!

File nameCarol-&-Susan-1954--scratch.jpg
File Size107.07k
Dimensions300 x 529
AuthorPicasa 2.0
2#117 0-0-7fffffff-0 0-0-0-0 0 0 0
AlbumsFAMILY Carol Jean Wehrwein Thomas

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