Though it may be true that Joan was not my biological mother – she was in every other sense my real mother, always there for us in times of need. She was:
- The de-facto medical technician tending to the occasional “boo-boo’s”, such as when Jill decided to trim her eyebrows by riding her bike into a tennis net cord at Wilbur Park….Joan stayed home and cared for Jill while the rest of us went to see Fiddler on the Roof. She tended to the typical scrapes – Lunch box collisions, slides to base on paved playgrounds, head-butting corridor walls at school, bumps bruises, cactus needles. (Perhaps she’d tired of our medical needs, and felt a doctorate of her own, in another field, would remove her from having to patch us together?)
- The resident “artist,” adding her decorative touch to the new house at 69 Elm Street that the new “almost Brady-Bunch” had moved into…jumping at the task of painting our new, shiny galvanized steel cans with shades of yellow and orange with floral green high-lights. (In hindsight, I’m not sure if that was so we could easily ID them as ours, or make it so nobody else wanted them?)
- The chief dietician, taking charge of meal planning & prepping. She loved to cook, and was very good at it. Unfortunately for her, and perhaps some of us, the meal offerings may not have been gracefully accepted (She must’ve quickly tired of my preference for peanut butter and jelly).
- The Clothier, helping select and assemble our clothing (I could’ve done without having to always wear the same color socks, but it made sorting easier – and that helped).
- The Teacher, immersing herself in the subject matters of past, present, and future as she moved from year to year, passing her love of learning to others.
- The Reader, a love she and dad continued to share, and passed along to us kids. [The preferred subject matter differs amongst us, but we still lose ourselves in the book, magazine or newspaper lying in wait at our respective bedsides, desks (or bathrooms)].
- A Traveler to national and international destinations, including beaches, monuments, parks, museums, theme parks, etc. The trips typically centered around camping…Early on in a StarCraft Stardust 8 pop-up tent/trailer towed by a ’73 Plymouth wagon. Motorhomes and travel-trailer and van tandems took over later. Each trip had its’ own memorable twist. Replacing lost contacts in the Smokey Mountains, Dispatching Park Rangers to find us wandering aimlessly about the dunes near Lake Michigan, dodging jelly fish on the beaches of Jekyll Island, picking blueberries along bike paths in Massachusetts, or keeping us from getting cooked in the many hot water spas of Yellowstone, our trips were never boring.
- A pet-lover, starting with her own cats at first, Joan soon became a dog-lover. There’s been a dog present since the start. From Maxine Max #1 at the start, to Max #2 now, with Greta and Kali in between. Animals are a family trend now. So much so, that she’d given up on the prospect of grandchildren, ‘til Kris & Mark presented her with Kelsey.
- A grandmother: Kelsey was first, but we decided a few more grandchildren were needed, so 4 more were added in 1996, bringing the total to 5, soon after up to 7 and presently totaling 9.
- A tremendous companion to dad: starting in ’67 when they first met. They “dated” a while, then proceeded with the oft referenced “Merger” on August 16, 1969. They’ve been together ever since, through many good times and some bad, through some illnesses & surgeries, through recoveries, and of course an occasional household squabble…But, together they stayed.
My mom….and she will be truly missed, and hopefully, knows she was, and will continue to be truly loved.
We love you, Joan.
~ Tod Iversen, Joan’s son.