She ended her life in a town where she knew very few people other than family and was only known as my mother, rather than in the town she had spent most of her life, as Eleanor Musser, successful businesswoman and church and community leader. She did not live as long as I have.
But she raised six children almost single-handedly. She worked two jobs to get off welfare. No matter how much she worked outside the home, her house was immaculate and her meals were excellent and cooked from scratch. She made my junior prom dress from a remnant my grandmother had picked up and put the zipper in by hand. In an age of scratchy tulle formals, that dress was comfortable and unique; it went to college with me and was borrowed by several friends for fraternity formals.
She wanted to be a nurse when she grew up and although she was salutatorian of her class, it was the middle of the depression and she never got the chance. She was strict and demanding of her children but thought the sun rose and set with her grandchildren. She called me once giggling because 'two college boys had taken her out for lunch.' Our oldest son and a friend had driven up from Cedar Falls, and although they 'took her out,' I'm sure she picked up the bill.
She was a fan of both Iowa and Iowa State sports. Her cinnamon rolls and angel food cake were not to be believed. She never gave up. Thanks, Mom.