After my Mom got the last of her 4 rug rats into school, she began to pursue her dream of a career in the fine arts (although a very fine student in high school her Victorian mother did not believe women should attend college – so she didn’t. However, all four of her children are college graduates – 3 of them women).
Studying on her own and taking lessons from accomplished artists she developed into a superb fine artist painting in the medium of pastels. Over the years she has won major awards both regionally and nationally, and in more recent years has taken up teaching as well. Now, 80 she still teaches year-round at the IS183 School for the Arts in The Bershires of Massachusetts while also continuing, with great passion and productivity, her own works.
Her love and enthusiasm for the arts, the beautiful, and life in general is a continuing inspiration to her students and her children. In short, she is my Renaissance woman!
World Traveller & Horsewoman
Joan Ellen Halako
My mother was a gorgeous, strong willed, independent woman. She encouraged us in art, music, dance, sports & free thinking. She was very glamorous. My father & she traveled all around the world & brought us back fabulous gifts from exotic places.
She sacrificed a lot for us. We had horses & she would take us to the barn everyday before & after school so we could care for them. She would take us on the show circuit & would hill top when we were fox hunting. I can still see her watching high on the hill next to her 64 1/2 pale yellow mustang – no matter the weather – as I galloped by.
She was alot of fun & truly a great lady! She is always missed.
Design Consultant, Customer Service
My mom was an avid gardener. She had multiple garden plots and grew bearded iries, tulips, daffodils, roses, hydrangeas, as well as vegetable and fruit trees. The peonies in her yard came from tubers that had been planted in her grandmother’s yard. Those same bushes now bloom in my yard also. How many people can say they have their great grandmother’s peonies still thriving after so many years? My mother’s love of gardening inspired me to also garden in life.
Growing flowers gave me the idea to work for a florist when I wanted to make a career change and here I am 11 years later at MyFlorist!
My mother was intelligent and determined. She was 90% deaf and, while she was able to hear most things with a high powered hearing aid, we laughed with her when she misunderstood something we said. We often had to verify that what she heard was actually what we said!
The summer of my 9th birthday, Mom was driving a farm truck during wheat harvest in Southwest Kansas. The wheat was dumped into an old tractor tire surrounding the bottom end of a grain auger, which lifted the wheat grains up a chute and into the farmer’s grainery. She was wearing tennis shoes, her foot slipped and she lost her leg that day.
She was a single mother with an 8th grade education and two significant handicaps. We lived in profound poverty. Yet she never accepted defeat. She gathered her children fiercely under her wings and taught us to hold up our heads and work hard and to believe that we had the power to be anyone we wanted to be.
Later on in life, when things were much easier for all of us, she loved growing flowers. She especially loved her roses, tea roses and purple irises. She’d often call me in the mornings during the spring and summer announcing that she had rose blooms!