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For my mom

Marie Louise Bates 1918-2016

My mom, she set out a course for her life, and did it right.

She died perfectly. Before anything really dire set in.

My sister, Cindy Koster, my mom and I are all lucky…

I am not sure I have it all together yet, as when I wander into a book shop or card shop, I stop and say “I should buy one for my mom,”…and then I stop.

I used to be her foil when she wanted to make patterns from ready made dresses. While she had dresses turned inside out in the dressing room, to figure out the intricacies of bound button holes, I was moving new dresses in and out of the room, to make it appear that she was trying all these on.

One day she gave me my first gardening lesson. It was on weeding. I was to pull each weed between the flowers and spread it out nice and flat on the grass so it would die quickly. Well of course you know exactly what I did!

I had half of her flower garden neatly spread out on our lawn before she came out to check on what I was up to.

In the summer at our cottage, we would all study star charts and then walk up the hill at night to look for what we had studied. Very excited, we found lots of constellations! Running back down, and looking at the charts again..none of our wonderful constellations seemed to be on the charts. But it really did not matter we were having such a good time.

Going to England with my mom, dad and sister Cindy, mom had the entire schedule mapped out with dots and numbers. Following it, we found one ruined abbey after another. The second week we went to Scotland to find long lost relatives from the Lamont clan. AS I recall, mom just walked up to the front door, rang the doorbell and announced we were part of the Lamont Clan and wanted to meet them. What fun we had. Our clan was very small, and we only had one ruined abbey within it. Mom was happy!

IN 1990, after my dad had died, mom joined me for a long trip to Maui, Hawaii.

Jumping the waves in the ocean was our favorite thing to do. We just laughed and laughed. Years later, looking at my baby book I found a photo of the two of us jumping up and down in the waves, laughing.

She was easy in jeans and my dads huge white shirt, with weeds handing out of her garden gloved hands. I stopped to take a photo of her, dressed like this. And she stuck out her tongue. I clicked the shutter. Perhaps this was my first LIVE portrait!?

This is a celebration of her humor, spirit, and life. If you have any stories to add, please do. We will welcome them.

Next June, at Crystal Lake, Congregational Summer Assembly, in Frankfort, MI. we will celebrate her life. If you would like to join us, please tell me how to contact you. All are welcome.

Much love MOM. I know you are right around the corner, with my brother and dad, being sure Cindy and I get home on time.

We love you mom, from Cindy and Carolyn Bates

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Carolyn Bates Photography
PO Box 1205
Burlington, VT 05402


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Burlington, VT 05402


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