Date Honored: July 2011
My Mother was brilliant, enduring, and kind. Without her shining light, the world will forever seem a bit dimmer. For such a stoic woman, to earn her smile could be a challenge, and to get a laugh from her was quite special. Her beautiful laugh was a boisterous and hearty chorus; and will forever be missed.
In the summer of 1989, I was fortunate enough to have my parents take me on my first road trip through the western United States. By the middle of the trip, we were enjoying gorgeous sunny California; and for an eleven year old seeing Disneyland for the first time, I was suddenly the luckiest kid in the world. After experiencing the many wonderful treasures this paradise place provided, I decided I wanted to go on some kind of roller-coaster. However, I was a little apprehensive having always had an inherent fear of fast rides inherited from my father; who of course was NOT going to partake in any thrill attractions. My Mother, however, loved roller coasters, and so she encouraged me – as only a Mother can – to get in line. The ride was a Star Wars Simulator, by many standards not that intense of an experience; but I was still nervous, having never been to many thrill parks. The anticipation was the worst, and as my tension grew I looked up at my Mom . . . and everything was ok, because she was right by my side.
After taking our seats, the ride finally started; slow at first, but building towards something fierce. Abruptly we were thrown into an intergalactic space battle that was the most exciting thing I had ever experienced in my young life. All of a sudden, I felt a pang of worry for my Mother, who in her mid sixties was no Spring Chicken! She looked at me with a great big smile, laughing one of the most exuberant laughs I had ever heard from her. It was great! To this day that was some of the most fun I have ever had in my life, and I owe it all to my Mom and her gentle courage.
Now, some twenty years later, I still feel like one the luckiest people alive if for no other reason than having known this tremendous woman!
~ Michael Barsotti