Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

May 18, 2012

Seniors celebrate their moms by spending quality time

Eunice Trotter
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — Joann Bowen admits it. She spoiled her only child. Now her baby, Karen Weimer, is 71 years old and she's spoiling her mother.

Several times each week Mrs. Bowen, 91, and her daughter visit with each other at Arbor Grove Village, a senior living community in Greensburg.

Mrs. Weimer takes her mom gifts or things she wants or needs. She doesn't want her mother to want for anything, she said.

"My mom still tries to mother me, said Mrs. Weimer. "But she can't boss me

anymore,'' she said, laughing.

"You're supposed to listen to your parents and do what they tell you," Mrs. Bowen responded.

"My mom has a sense o f humor," Mrs. Weimer said.

Their exchange is the type of banter the two women love.

As Mother's Day WAS celebrated worldwide last weekend, the many ways of giving honor to mothers and to women who act as mothers were as varied as the imagination. But of all the possible ways of showing appreciation, elderly mothers and their aging adult children say they are happiest just spending time together.

"When Mother sees me, she says, ÔLet's go back to my room so we can talk,' and that's just what we do," said Mrs. Weimer. "She wants to know all about everything that has gone on with family and friends since the last time I was here."

Anything special on Mother's Day for these two? Not really. Mother's Day is every day for them, they said.

Paying tribute to mothers on Mother's Day has been a tradition in the U.S.

for nearly 100 years. It started in West Virginia when Ann Jarvis, daughter of an activist mom, wanted to pay tribute to her mother for all the work she had done taking care of Civil War orphans.

Jarvis campaigned nationally for several years to make the second Sunday in May Mother's Day, and in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson made it a national holiday.

Mother's Day is also celebrated in other countries. In Australia, it was started by a woman who in 1924 visited a women's home in Sydney and found many lonely and forgotten mothers. To cheer them up, she got support from local businesses and took them gifts.

France and Germany began Mother's Day to encourage an increase in the birthrate.

Israel began it to honor mothers in memory of an organization started by a woman who rescued Jewish children from Nazi Germany.

Mrs. Bowen was a working mom. And it wasn't easy, especially during an era when women were encouraged to stay at home, she said. She worked the evening shift at the Clinton County Hospital for several years, which meant her daughter had babysitters. Her husband John, now deceased, worked on the railroad. So, much of the child-rearing responsibility was Mrs. Bowen's.

After college, Mrs. Weimer married and moved to Greensburg, while her mother remained in Frankfort. Mrs. Weimer had three children and was a stay-at-home mother. Her children are now all grown and she has two

grandchildren.

After Mrs. Bowen's husband died in 2006, her health began to deteriorate

and running her own home became too difficult. Mrs. Bowen tried different

living options, including living in an apartment. She moved to Greensburg

when it became apparent she needed nursing assistance. This move has

allowed mother and daughter to spend quality time.

"My daughter was a good daughter and she's still a good daughter," said Mrs. Bowen. "I tried not to spoil her. But it was hard."