The mother of all mothers:|:April 27, 2015

Patience's mother in 1955 on Plymouth Beach Patience's mother in 1955 on Plymouth Beach

I had the mother of all mothers.

She was made of curiosity, passion, boundless energy and love.

She had been a sculptor, a painter, she made the wooden crib that her children were nestled into when they were born, the little wooden chair we sat in, the monogrammed hammered silver box on her dresser. She made her clothes and most of ours. She even made my father's bow ties. She made me several winter coats from upholstery fabric. She knit our sweaters and hats.

She gardened, rode horses, leapt into a jack knife from the high dive, went skinny dipping, mountain climbing, berry picking, skiing, skating, sailing and fishing. She could fillet and skin a perch or “pull down the pajamas of a frog for frog legs in seconds.

Then, boy, could she dress up! She could waltz, French braid, debate with dignitaries and commune with the hopeless.

My mother went to nursery training school to become an educator. Who knows if she needed to because she was a born teacher, she could not help herself.

I discovered at my mother's funeral that she had taught her younger brother, who was playing college football at the time, how to punt!

I was truly one of the lucky ones. She had six children, but her capacity for love extended beyond us to generations of children and adults to whom she taught endless riding lessons. Thrown in for free were pearls of wisdom on country life, cleaning stalls, manners, diction, posture and nutrition.

She was using the words "empty calories" and preaching on the evils of sugar and unnatural ingredients while conjuring solutions for over population and pollution in the 1950's.

She woke early, her flashing teeth smiling broadly, ready to take huge appreciative bites out of the day. She was the carpe of any diem.

She adored us and she adored her husband.

She was a cheerleader of life, a gardener of good, happiest on the back of a horse until the age of 86.

In her last years, despite severe pain, she never lost her faith, her bravery or her hopes for this world that she found so utterly marvelous!

Marietta Louise Withington 1921 Marietta Louise Withington 1921
"Lalla" with her horse Alyss in 1938 "Lalla" with her horse Alyss in 1938
Marietta, second to left, with her sisters and cousins Marietta, second to left, with her sisters and cousins
Marietta and Spencer, the day after their wedding- May 24, 1942 Marietta and Spencer, the day after their wedding- May 24, 1942
Patience with her mother in 1954 Patience with her mother in 1954
Tennis dresses made by Lalla for her four daughters in 1960 Tennis dresses made by Lalla for her four daughters in 1960
Marietta with Marietta, grandmother and granddaughter with same name and birthday Marietta with Marietta, grandmother and granddaughter with same name and birthday
Lalla at her house in Plymouth in October 1993 Lalla at her house in Plymouth in October 1993
Lalla with her great-grandaughter, Isa, in 2004

18 thoughts on “The mother of all mothers”

  • Michele

    what a lovely, sweet tribute you have written about many precious moments of your Mother.
    so glad to have happened upon this tonight, as it has blessed me. (you had me at the joyous leap photo!)

  • […] unique ornaments (and other things). She also has a blog, where she recently paid tribute to her mother. You really have to read the blog post. It nearly made me cry, and I never even met the woman! The […]

  • […] be a wonderful post to write. Patience wrote a fantastic post about her mother, which you can read here. Marietta sounds like she was one heck of a […]

  • Linda

    Your mother had a huge influence on me in my Girl Scout days. She would take me to the house on E. Place Road and serve me a proper tea. She always took just and we always had such a grand time. She showed me your first book which was made with your drawings and fabric. She will always be in my heart for the special treat of her time & life lessons she gave me. I know live a few houses Dow from there and think of her every time drive by.

  • Sue Withington
    Sue Withington April 28, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    I simply adored other words necessary. Thank you for sharing her!!!

  • Heidi Rankin (Atkins)
    Heidi Rankin (Atkins) April 28, 2015 at 12:27 am

    Patience, your mom was such a "pisser" as the family used to say. Some of these photos truly resonate for me...
    Lalla was generous, playful, strong, inspiring and fun! Thank you for sharing brings back so many wonderful memories.

    • Patience

      Hi Heidi! Ha! She sure was! It's great to hear from you. Thank you for taking a moment to write us a quick note. Thinking of you all in Colorado- hope to catch up soon! xo

  • Vicki Condie MacTavish
    Vicki Condie MacTavish April 27, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Follow your line and your life as a fellow Skaneateles person.... this tribute to your mom is wonderful; and now we know how you came by so many of your gifts...

    Vicki Condie MacTavish

  • Maggie (Guertin) Luongo
    Maggie (Guertin) Luongo April 27, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Wonderful post about your Mom! To this day I still remember that red poncho she made you...that you wore to Cold Spring school! I loved it so much and begged my Mom to make me one...she didn't :(

  • Sarah Anderson (Gillette)
    Sarah Anderson (Gillette) April 27, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Hi Patience, I am not sure that we have met but I feel like I know you because through many years at the Beach Club and spending time with Bailey Cook at your parents and growing up with JoJo I know many of your family members and relatives. This is such a beautiful story about your mother. She was a very special person and feel blessed to have known her. Thank you for sharing. I very much enjoyed this article. Fondly, Sarah Gillette.


    I have been a neighbor of your parents since 1987. I live on Clifford Road. I walked passed your parents house on a daily basis especially when my children were young. She was a warm friendly lady. Aways came out to see my children. We loved Lala and Spencer.

    • Patience

      Hi Julie- Thank you for taking the time to write. I am sure Lalla looked forward to seeing you walk by! It's still hard for us to believe that house is no longer there(!) Your note is very appreciated! Thanks again!

  • Sarah

    Patience, every post you have shared that I've read has spoken to me, but none more than this. Your tribute is obviously fitting this remarkable lady. She reminds me of my own remarkable mother, though I don't think my mom could do leap so gracefully as your mother in that first photo.
    I suspect her daughter is following right along in her footsteps. I sense that you two exhibit this long list of incredible accomplishments. Happy Mother's Day!

    • Patience

      Thank you, Sarah. You words are always so kind and sincere, they are welcomed and appreciated greatly on this end. All the best to you- Happy Mother's Day!

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