Valentines Day is Friday and instead of waiting until Mother’s Day I decided this would be a perfect week to to celebrate my mother. I visited her in Milwaukee last week where the high was 4 degrees. Catherine (Tweet is the nickname) is 91 and lives in the house I grew up in with George, her second husband, (they married at 75). My father died when she was 73 as did George’s wife. They all knew each other from childhood. We were all thrilled!

P1000501 2

The Question Is:  What are the keys  to a long  and healthy life?

My Mother is a very accomplished lady…and since my blog is about selling stuff and retail in general, I will share some of the incredible parts of my Mother’s life as it relates to topic. Her mother, Alice, (my grandmother) was a skilled seamstress,  made bridal gowns  and bridesmaid dresses, either from fabric shipped from NYC or adjusting ready-made dresses. Thus my mother and aunt sewed many of their own clothes, and taught me to do the same. Fitting brides and their bridal parties with the perfect outfits was beautiful and exciting.

Mom was a Girl Scout Leader until my sister went to high school so learning to make things was part of the badges earned in addition to selling the most Girl Scout Cookies to win awards.

‘Crafts to sell’…we made beautiful creative home decor. Christmas ornaments, angels with glitter, rolled beeswax candles,  wreathes with pine cones and nuts, flower arrangements, cracking glass for all types of mosaics, these were some of our crafts. There were booths at  church bazaars,  Women’s Club fund raisers, gifts for friends and family. (Martha Stewart must have copied the details from Mom and her friends.)

The Garden Club Weed Sale was the big event.  Collecting and drying in garages golden rod, cat tails, dock, Queen Anne’s lace, grapevines, Chinese lanterns, hydrangeas and  selling arrangements and loose stems  was something everyone worked hard on to become a money maker. (This was all before Michaels Crafts stores.)  Table arrangements for every party were done with creativity.  The club won awards at Flower Shows.

Mom became a member of Women’s Club in 1957 and President  and is still a member attending meetings monthly. Bake Sales happened twice a year. Mom delivered mobile meals for 25 years as part of this club. She is still a member of the Garden Club which meets monthly and was President there too. She was President of the Lutheran Women of the Church for a few years, and now a member of a Circle of Women who meet monthly for Bible study.

She was head of the Gift Shop and Bookshelf of the church for 35 years. Mom and 2 friends went to Chicago McCormick Place and Rosemont Gift Shows to buy products twice a year. They bought Scandinavian gifts from companies in Minnesota, greeting cards and religious books from Augsburg Publishing, and jewelry was the fun part where they bought their favorites for their customers.  She was the buyer,  treasurer and head bookkeeper.  She and her 2 friends, Dorothy and Jean would refurbish the store every Monday after selling everything on Sundays. The church is now changed, older customers  not needing these products and a Spanish and Hmong congregation where the gift shop is now a food bank. Demographic changed.

P1000714

I joined Mom and her friends for an afternoon and the woman seated, Margaret, is a top seller of Avon products for 40 years. Her district manager takes her to breakfast once a month to celebrate. How she gets new customers? She puts the catalogues in the mailboxes of the retirement homes throughout Milwaukee. Mom is not a customer as she has been loyal to MaryKay for 30 years.

So besides keeping all these relationships alive, Mom and George go out for a fish fry with another couple every Friday night and then play cards.
Mom gets together with her friends to play bridge  monthly.
Breakfast every Thursday morning at 8am with 6 women is a routine.
All her clubs and activities are with different people… many younger than she by 10 years as many of her old time friends have passed away.

She just ordered her favorite perfume Miss Dior on her iPad, as she could not find it at any store.
Oh and did I tell you she also is an excellent driver, fast, and never gets lost! She picks up everyone going to events. As long as the truck with the snowplow comes she can get out of the driveway and she is off!

IMG_2480

Happy life, grateful for good health, active, and engaged with friends and family and keeps all relationships alive. Positive thinking not looking back, always forward. These are the  keys to a happy life. She gets dressed up every day with jewelry and makeup.  Decorates her home seasonally, and proud to have company and share her home. There are always baked cookies to eat, 3 squares and no snacking.

Mom a true role model and beautiful! I love you. Every day is a gift.
(I know she will read this on her iPad)