Music My Mother Loved

Herb Alpert "The Lonely Bull"

Herb Alpert "Mexico"

Herb Alpert "Mexican Suffle"

Grandma Martha was a first generation German who grew up in Fresno, California at the foot of the Sierra Mountains and not far from the Yosemite National Park.  She had, I believe four brothers and one sister.  I'll check the photo albums and update this at a later time. All but one of these children left Fresno to live in the Southern California area closer to Los Angeles.  I know one uncle was a police lieutenant, and one aunt either never married or the marriage was short lived and this made her situation unusal.  Divorce was unheard of at this time.  This was Aunt Dorothy and Aunt Dorothy was a legal secretary with one son. 

 One brother, uncle Jerry, like many children of that era, stayed behind to take care of mother and father in their senior years.  Uncle Jerry never married.  But he served in the army in WWII and was a part of the first van guard of soldiers onto Japan after the bomb.

Mom left Fresno to attend Nursing college in Oakland, California.  She became a registered nurse at Samuel Merritt Hospital.  While working as a nurse she meet my Dad, Milton Everett Steele at a religious get-together.  Dad was a fireman who later became Deputy Chief and number two man in the Berkeley Fire Department.

Lutheran by religion, Mom was very religious and passed this along to everyone in the house including my Father, who came from a Seventh Day Adventist family and had to convert for Mom.

Mom was stay-at-home mother after her registered nursing career.  At this time in American History most women were stay at home mothers.  Fathers went to work and 80% of all Mothers stayed at home with the kids and made dinner every night.

There were no such thing as time outs.  In fact, I never heard of a 'time out' until I was in my twenties.  When children got into trouble when I grew up, you got got the belt.  If you didn't get spanked then you were considered 'spoiled' and to be called 'spoiled' was a terrible insult. I never here this term any more.  Probably because all children now-a-days are never spanked, thereby making them all spoiled.

I really miss Mom's cooking.  She was a traditional mother who also sewed and took care of the house business.

It is unusual to find a woman who can cook or sew now-a-days, in fact, today's woman considers it insulting to either sew or cook.  (* Brutal *)

Mom and Dad had three children.  Myself, brother Jon and sister Cathy.  When the three of us were out of the house Mom went back to college and completed an Associates of Arts Degree in Oil and Water Color Painting.  For over a decade she painted perhaps two hundred or so beautiful pictures.  You'll see four of her pictures in the background of photos of her on this page.

I still have some of these paintings.  They're with my children now and their Mother Debra.

Mom loved card games.  Especially Bridge.  She belonged to several East Bay Bridge Clubs and played several times a week.  Mom also loved gardening.  And together with my Father they spent many, years cultivating a Japanese Bonsai Garden in our backyard house in Berkeley.  I loved this garden.

I recall Mom never having a automobile violation in her life.  She always drove the city streets and stayed off of the freeways and drove only short distances.  In fact, I think she had a fear of freeways and never drove on them for this reason.

For her time, Mom was a very intelligent and successful woman with two college degrees;  At a time in American history when it was rare for a woman to go to college and get one degree.
 
Mom excelled at everything she attempted.  And I believe that I get a lot of my drive from her.  It's a German thing, I think.

I often find myself repeating comments that she made to me when I was a youngster, only now I use them with my own children.  When I do I say to myself, "..so that's why she said this."

Now I know Mom.  Now I know.

1997 - Mom Standing Before Front Door
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Mom In The Berkeley Home Where I Grew Up.

1997 - Mom Had Her Chair, Dad Had His Chair
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All The Paintings Were By Mom. About 200 Paintings.

1997 - Mom With Her YorkShire Terrier, Cindy
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After Mom's Death in 1998, Cindy Lived with Uncle Jon

Christmas Morning In The Dinning Room
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Mom's Dinning Room Table - Now With Debbie

Note The German Coo Coo Clock Hanging Over Mom's Left Shoulder.  This Coo Coo Clock is Older Than I am.  It Always Worked and Always Kept Good Time as Long as It's Weights Were Pulled Up Once a Week.