~A Tribute to my Mom~
by Sheri L. Van Duyn
My Mother was born on May 13, 1935 Sally Louise Grimm, the daughter of Louis and Pauline Grimm. She weighed 3 lbs. and 12 oz. I can recall my Grandma telling me the story of taking her in for a checkup and another mother looking at her and saying, “Is your baby going to die?” With that my Grandmother grabbed baby Sally and went into see the Dr. and exclaimed, “Of course not!” My Mom was a fighter right from the start! She was also born with red hair and that might have also given her a slight edge!
Sally was the middle of 2 children-not that you could ever “sandwich” my Mom into anything. Jack, her oldest brother became an attorney in Muskegon and now resides in Texas ; her younger brother, Gordon is a retired school teacher in Muskegon . Since there were 2 boys, they got the bedroom. Mom's bed consisted of the couch in the living room which she had to make up everyday. Her closet consisted of a hook on the back of her brother's bedroom door and this held her entire wardrobe. As she got older, she would borrow sweaters from girls at school to make her wardrobe go even farther.
During High School she attended Muskegon Public School and became a double baton majorette. A Christian High School opened up and some of her friends went there, but this was too expensive for her and she stayed at Public!
My Dad, Gordon K. Veurink and Sally's first meeting was quite memorable. It was one of the first times that Sally could drive her Dad's car. She was cruising through Muskegon with 3 girlfriends and stopped at a railroad crossing waiting for a train to cross. My Dad in his racy blue convertible drove up behind her and nudged her car closer and closer to the tracks. Of course, the girls in the car screamed and bailed out of the car as Sally continued to push down on the brakes as the imminent train approached. Dad quit in time, but as the train passed; Mom jumped out of the car to yell at him. Gordon took one look at that flaming red head and her temper and he thought; “Now, that's a gal for me!” He asked her out and they were pretty much inseparable after that!”
Dad graduated from the Christian High School and they dated for 14 months and were married. Because Dad and Mom were married so young, they really had to struggle financially. Dad's Dad allowed them to live in a small house next to his oil company and Dad had to get up at night when the trucks came in for deliveries. Mom collected pop bottles along the tracks for extra money. My brother Gary came along 15 months later. Then as my Mom said, “Your Dad waved his pants over the bed and you came along 15 months later.” Mom was so sick carrying me that the Doctor allowed her to have IV's at home so she would not throw up all the time. We outgrew the little house and moved into another house adjacent to the oil company, so Dad could still walk across the yard to work. My sister, Kathy came along 4 years later. Dad was allowed to take time off from working at his Dad's oil company to build their dream home on 1432 Eastwood Drive-a 2-story, 4 bedroom, brick colonial with a 2 stall attached garage. My baby brother, Mark arrived on the scene shortly after.
This was the ideal place to raise a family with over 75 children on this street alone that attended the Christian School ! We had block parties, a milkman, played softball games and kick the can, hide and seek and swam in the neighbor's pool if the green flag was up! There was always something to do in this neighborhood. We even vacationed together as neighbors going to Spider Lake in Traverse City . Life here was great!
Dad and Mom were very strict in our upbringing. Mom said it was because they were so naughty growing up that they wanted us to behave and obey. Saturday was “chore” day. There was no sleeping in at our house! Up at 7:30, cleaning began after breakfast. I began cleaning the house, if it wasn't done right; you did the entire room over again. Mom would get her “girls” going and then she would take off and she would get her hair done and then get groceries. When she arrived home, the car horn would “honk” and you better come running to unload the groceries and your work better be all done. Only then after lunch could you do something with your friends, like go roller-skating or shopping downtown.
In the winter our family started to snow ski. We purchased season tickets. Friday night we would go to the Basketball game and then we would head up north for the day and ski for the day. We went every Saturday. My younger brother could actually ski before he could walk! We did everything as a family, spending time together was the most important thing to Dad and Mom! They were blessed to have 58 wonderful years of marriage together, 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren!
There are so many family and life lessons that Mom has taught me. My students have always asked me; “Did you ever fight with your Mom?” “Why would I want to do that? There might have been a few things that we did not agree on, but we never fought, that was a waste of time; plus I tell them; it is not obeying the 5 th commandment-Honor your Father and your Mother!” The last 10 weeks Mom was in the hospital, I would bring up devotions on Sunday morning so Dad could go to church and be a greeter. This was our special time together to talk again and share everything; we talked to each other everyday-I truly miss that!
I was the lucky one, I was Sally's daughter. She lived 75 years and she put so much life into those years that many thought she would have been gone years ago. I am and always will be my Mother's daughter… I miss her so much that at times I can hardly breathe, but I remember all our talks and everything that she has taught me! She was my best friend, my confidant and my cheerleader. Her voice will always be my voice as I carry on with my family and hers…
Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while,
but their hearts forever. - Author Unknown
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long
on the land the LORD your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12
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