Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Family Celebration!

In a
previous post, I have mentioned how my cousin, Jan, told us all several years ago that we all needed to get together for the happy times, not just the sad times. This weekend, we did just that. We went to Sacramento for a celebration in honor of my cousin, Ted, and his wife, Luisa. Their children, Kelly and Kevin, planned a party for their 25th wedding anniversary.

So Kerri, Cameron, and I made reservations a few months ago to be a part of this celebration. Cecilia, Jay, Yaya, and my Aunt Teresa all came from Arizona.

Ted's mom, my Aunt Dot, was my mom's sister. I
have so many wonderful childhood memories of our times spent in Sacramento and Douglas with Dot's family. She had six children and of those six, there were two sets of twins. Jean and Jan are the twin girls and Ted and Ed the twin boys. The two oldest are Tom and Kathy.

My Aunt Dot died in 1981. Their dad, Edwin Park, who was also from Douglas, died in 1987. Our grandmothers died within a month of each other in 1957. Over the years, their grandfather, L.J. Park, was like a grandfather to me. He died in 1968.

I think it is an incredible tribute to our grandparents, Edward and Katherine Scott, that their grandchildren have stayed in contact and have valued the wonderful family that we have. It is also a tribute to the seven Scott brothers and sisters. Teresa is the only one left. I have mentioned in a previous blog how wonderful my cousins are to her and how much she loves them. She is still in Sacramento staying with Ted and his family until Thursday. Then she goes to San Francisco with our cousins there. Kerri and Cameron are already in San Francisco for the week.

Saturday night we all went to mass at the parish that Ted and Luis
a belong to. At the end of the mass, the priest called them up and gave a very nice tribute to them.

We then went to a dinner with many of Luisa's family and our family in attendance. Luisa is from Portugal, the Azores to be exact. She comes from a family of six children like Ted. There are five girls and one boy. They moved to the United States when she was nine years old.

The dinner was so nice. We were able to visit with many family members. There was a great slide show comprised of pictures from Ted's and Luisa's family. It was a special tribute to them from their children.

We all stayed at the same hotel. Sunday we spent that day at Jan's and Tim's house. They had lunch and dinner for all of us. It was so great to have time to talk and to visit with our wonderful cousins. It was a great day!!

Driving around Sacramento reminded me of the summers at 3630 Las Pasas Way. I think we went there every summer while I was a child. I
remember Cecilia and I going there for some time in the summer of 1963. I was the youngest cousin, but they included me and took such great care of me. We went back for Kathy's and Lynn's wedding and then Jean's and Mike's wedding. I was not able to attend Jan's and Tim's wedding as I was working at the smelter that summer. My mom, Teresa, and Judy went to it. Tom and his wife Elsa celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary several years ago in San Jose. We all went to that celebration. Tom's daughter, Dot, also has twins--a boy and a girl.

Kathy is married to Lynn and Jan is married to Tim. They are brothers. Two of my San Francisco cousins are also married to brothers. It has been so great to get to know Tim's and Lynn's mom over the past couple of years. I had met their parents many times, but never had really talked to them. Their dad died a few years ago. They brought "Nan" to Teresa's birthday last summer and she was at all of the festivities this weekend. What a great lady!!!

My Aunt Dot was so good to me. I loved her dearly. She was always so much fun to be around. Her favorite song was "Mack the Knife." Whenever she came to Douglas, she would always request this song where ever we went. Most of the bands in Douglas and Agua Prieta didn't know this song. It has become a family classic and is always played at celebrations in honor of Dot. I am putting in my song list for this blog in honor of her and her family.

Dot and Ed would have been so proud of this weekend!! I feel so fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful family. Our family has become so diverse over the years. Everyone is so accepting of this diversity. It has been important to me to make sure that my kids and Cameron know what a wonderful family we have. I hope that our children will continue to participate in the wonderful legacy left to them by Edward and Katherine Scott from Douglas, Arizona!!! What a wonderful family to be a part of!!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Stuff Family Legends Are Made Of!!

This past weekend, Kerri, Cameron, Yaya, and I went to California to my my cousins' (Ted and Luisa) 25th wedding anniversary in Sacramento. There is so much to tell about this weekend that I may do a couple of posts in the same day!! We left early Saturday morning and had quite the adventure by 12:45!! We were planning to meet Yaya at the airport Saturday morning. We got through security fairly quickly and found our gate. There was a bar and grill right next to the gate so we decided to have some breakfast and a Bloody Mary. We sat close to the door so we could see Yaya when she got there. While we were waiting, Cecilia called and let us know that Yaya may be a bit late because she had left her purse in Pat's car. Pat had taken her to the airport and had gotten all the way home when she heard a cell phone ring and realized it was in Yaya's purse. Cecilia and Jay left earlier in the morning for Sacramento. Because of the bad weather, our plane was delayed about a half hour so we weren't really too worried about Yaya missing the plane. So we waited and watched.........

Fairly soon we spotted Yaya. She came into the bar and sat down. She was quite upset because of what had happened to her trying to get through security. I asked her what she would like to drink and she said a scotch and soda. Now Yaya isn't much of a drinker, but is known
to have a drink or two before a flight as she gets a bit nervous flying. So our waiter, who was quite "flamboyant," came over to take her order. He asked for her identification which he had done to both Kerri and I. Now I am no spring chicken and Yaya is a bit older than me, but asking for our ID was a bit much. Her driver's license is a bit blurry. Kerri had helped her order a new one when we were in Douglas a few weeks ago, but it hadn't come yet. So our waiter told her that her birth date wasn't clear enough so he couldn't serve her a drink!!!!! Well, that was the last straw so to speak..... The more we said how ridiculous this was, the more our power hungry, flamboyant waiter dug in his heals!! Yaya called him Sheriff Joe at one point!! We asked to speak with the manager who came over. In the meantime, Kerri was trying to find something on the Internet with her name from social security, etc. Yaya was going through her purse looking for something with her picture and birth date. She tried showing him a Costco card, a bank card with her picture, another identification, but nothing had her birth date on it. The waiter was trying to tell us that this is state law. Yaya informed him that she was not talking to him anymore and I told them that I live in Arizona and didn't get "carded" every time I went anywhere. So our waiter left the manager with us trying to find something that would work. Finally, Yaya found her Arizona State Fingerprint Clearance Card which the manager accepted.

Our waiter, who we named Josephina at this point, strutted over and demanded that Kerri and I close out our bill because "he was done serving us!" I believe that this might be the first time I have ever been dumped by a waiter!! And we are good tippers!!!!! When we paid our bill, Kerri wrote "nope" in the tip amount part! The waiter had to take his 15 minute break because we had upset him so much!!!

So a new waitress came and took our order and was very nice. This is when we found out what had happened to Yaya at the security gate. I guess sometimes your past can come back to haunt you at any time in your life. When she was a toddler, Yaya was quite the pistol. My grandfather nicknamed her "Dynamite" because that was how she acted. She was also a biter and did quite a bit of biting. As Teresa
says, you are "as welcome as the plague, when you have a biter." She does add that Yaya was so cute. This has been a family legend for as long as I can remember.

Over the course of the years when we attend ASU football games, Yaya has been known to hit someone with her purse when they were cheering too loudly for the opposing team, to throw ice or popcorn at opponent's fans, and a variety of other clandestine activities. When the person who received her "tokens of disdain" turns around to look, there is Yaya sitting properly with her hands folded. I can tell you there is no one more innocent looking than Yaya in the entire stadium!!!

So obviously security at Sky Harbor has heard about these dastardly deeds... That is the only explanation I can come up with for the way she was treated. The first time she went through security, she hadn't realized she didn't have her purse. She did have her driver's license and two dollars in her pocket. When she tried to go through the security system, she was moved to a holding cell and a wand was used on her. At
this point, she realized she didn't have her purse. She was told that she couldn't talk to anyone. She tried to explain to the security person what had happened and asked to use a phone. They allowed her one call. She was able to get in touch with Pat and go out and get her bag. Then she had to go through security again. Once again, she was placed in a holding cell and this time she was patted down. She was told that she was on a security watch list. They gave her a letter so that she could find out why she is on "the list." I can guarantee you with the life that Yaya leads, it has to be one of the deeds that I have mentioned previously!!! No wonder she needed a scotch and soda!!!!!!!!!!!!

We left for the Sacramento airport a bit early this morning because Yaya was worried. We had absolutely no trouble getting through security there. We stopped at the bar close to our gate and had a drink. We were both "carded" but there was absolutely no question about her driver's license.

We laughed about this, told it over and over again, and embellished the story over this past weekend. As I said, it will become a family legend I am sure.

I do want to say one thing of a serious nature, though. This was a very upsetting experience for someone who doesn't deserve to be treated that way. If there was some problem, I would think that it would have surfaced in Sacramento. Yaya was a great sport about this whole thing, but it doesn't make much sense that someone would be treated this way by both the government and the food establishment.

We had a great weekend and I am going to write more about the reason we went to Sacramento later in the week!!! Hope you enjoy the song with this post. It is dedicated to Yaya--"Scotch and Soda" by the Kingston Trio!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Awards Assembly

Tuesday we held our Fifth and Sixth Grades Awards Assembly. This is always a wonderful assembly to end our schoo
l year. We give out many special awards in honor of former students and teachers. They are awards for most outstanding sixth grade student, most improved sixth grade student, sportsmanship awards named after a former student, a student who has displayed courage named after another former student, and a fifth grade boy and girl chosen for their kindness to others. This award is in honor of my dear friend, Ellen Widmer, who died almost five years ago. Ellen taught at Gilbert Elementary for many years. I remember when we told her that this award was going to be named after her. It was in May before she died the following October. She was so touched by this. Nancy Proffitt, one of our dear friends who taught with Ellen, along with a former student of Ellen's, presented the Ellen Widmer Kindness Award.

A few years ago when we were involved in the Hands Across the Border student exchange program, Dottie Dawn suggested that we give an award in my mom's name for the boy and girl who were the most outstanding student ambassadors. My mom was very supportive of the Hands Across the Border program. We would often meet in Douglas at the house down there to plan with our sister school from Nacozari, Sonora. When we could no longer participate in this program, I still wanted to do some type of award in my mother's name. So I decided to do a combination Citizenship/Leadership Award and name it the Margaret Shannon Award.

My mother worked for Phelps Dodge Corporation for many years. When she retired, she was the manager of the Hardware Jobbing Division of Phelps Dodge. She had always been involved in politics serving
as a precinct committeewoman and working on different campaigns. She always stressed the importance of community service. Shortly after she retired, she ran for the Douglas City Council and beat an incumbent by a wide margin of votes. She served for 12 years up until she was almost 80. During that time, she was the vice mayor. When she died in 2002, she was still a member of the Cochise County Fair Board of Directors.

Last year's recipient is a wonderful young man, Ryan McCord. As a sixth grader, he was our student council president and showed great leadership and citizenship skills. I was proud for him to be the first winner of this award. This year, Ryan was the Hatch Award winner for the most outstanding sixth grader. I know that he will continue to be a great leader in the future. We don't have to worry about our future with children like Ryan McCord!!

Last year, Kerri came to the assembly and presented the award in her grandmother's name. Since she is teaching now, I asked my Aunt Teresa to please
help me give the award. She was leaving for California on Tuesday, but made sure it wasn't until after the Awards Assembly. I know she would have helped me give this out, but this year had special significance for our family. The young lady who won the award is the great granddaughter of my Aunt Teresa's best friend, Dorothy Huber. Teresa was the Maid of Honor at Dorothy's and Paul's wedding. They had been friends since they were about six years old! The young lady's father was there for the assembly and Teresa was so proud to be giving this award. My mom would have been proud, too. She would have loved having an award for both citizenship and leadership named after her.

hose we love are never really gone, as long as their stories are told." This is from my favorite children's book, The Last Dance. My mom's and Ellen's stories will live on with these awards!.

The end of the school year is always a time for tears. Relationships between teachers and families are built over the course of a school year. I believe these relationships are so important in the educational world. I believe that children learn best in an accepting and warm environment. I value the many relationships that I have built over the years, both as a teacher and as a principal. I was reminded of a quote that I really like. I concluded our staff luncheon today with it. "Don't cry because it is over, smile because it happened." I am smiling now. I hope you are, too!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Retirement--Reflection on an Incredible Educator!

These past few weeks, there has been a flurry of retirement parties for so many administrators in our district. Our generation is leaving the education profession to enjoy days of leisure or possibly pursuing another career. Our former superintendent, Wally Delecki, refers to it as "recycling." I like that term!

I believe that the education profession is losing some unbelievable talent and expertise. My hope is that the younger educators can stand up for what is right for children in these troubled political times.

I missed one reception last Friday for my friend, Sharon, as we had to go to Douglas. I was there in spirit and heard that it was wonderful. Her mom came from California to help celebrate.

Yesterday I went to two different receptions. One was for my dear friend, Jill. Tonight I went to a party at the home of one of her teachers. Jill's parents even came from Iowa for these events. I am sure that they are very proud and how fortunate she is to be able to have her parents at her retirement! She always talks about her wonderful childhood and speaks of her parents with such affection. It was good to see them and to visit with them.

I would like to write about Jill and dedicate this post to her. It has been awhile since I have been able to write about something joyful!

I first met Jill 20 years ago in June. I had been teaching third grade and pursing my administrative certification. I was given a wonderful opportunity by Wally Delecki to be the interim personnel director. One of my first duties was to greet the new principal for one of our junior highs and the new assistant principal at another junior high. Jill had moved down from Northern Arizona where she had been a principal. Nikki had just moved her from Texas. The three of us became friends immediately.

Over the years, we have had many good times together. In 1993, Jill married George. Both of them have been junior high principals in our district. I was so happy for Jill to have found someone like George. They are both wonderful people, great administrators, and dear friends. I have been proud to have them as colleagues, but even more as friends.

Jill went through some very bad times with her health a little over 10 years ago. She received some very bad news about her kidneys. They were failing and the only option was a kidney transplant. This was a very scary time. After many tests, it was determined that George was a match and could donate a kidney to Jill.

I still remember like it was yesterday the day that Jill told her staff about her health and her upcoming transplant. I remember going to the faculty meeting at her school that morning to lend moral support. Jill's staff was so supportive and so worried about her.

On June 3, 1998, Jill received George's kidney. Both of them did great and recuperated very well. Jill went back to work and has enjoyed good health and has been able to continue to serve the children who attend her school. I think this is such a great love story!

Jill and George have become very involved in the transplant world. They participate in the Transplant Games and have done speaking about the importance of organ donation.

I am so pleased that she is going to be able to retire. Our job as principals is a difficult one with long hours, much stress, and having to be on call 24/7. George is going to continue working for awhile, but he will be at our district office instead of at a school.

Although I am going to miss seeing Jill at meetings and such, I know that our friendship will continue. We try to get together often. Now she will be able to be our "Fun Planner" full time.

I have the utmost respect for Jill. She has had a passion for the education profession that will be hard to replace. Jill has integrity, knowledge, caring, compassion, empathy...........I could go on and on. I have relied on her sound advice many times in the past. She deserves being able to retire and to enjoy life without the stress and long hours. She will truly be missed!!

I love quotes, etc. and I found an Irish Blessing that I believe fits this occasion well. So, my friend Jill.........

May Love and Laughter light your days
And warm your heart and home.

May good and faithful friends be yours,

Wherever you may roam.

May peace and plenty bless your world

With joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
Bring the best to you and yours!

I asked George what her favorite song was. He told me that she doesn't listen to much music, but that she likes "That's What Friends Are For." So that is what I am going to put on first on this blog, along with another one by Paul Anka called "The Times of Your Life." I love the words in both of these songs and think they are very fitting for my friend, Jill.

I feel so fortunate to have had such a good friend for the past 20 years and I look forward to the next many years of this wonderful friendship. There is a great Irish saying,
May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty. So Jill, now that you have unlimited time, you are the designated chief planner to make sure that never happens!! There are four of us who get together on a regular basis to talk, to laugh, and to be able to be ourselves for a weekend. I treasure those times and those friendships. They mean so much. Three of the "buddies" are in the picture at the bottom of this blog.

You will be missed by many, Jill. Thanks for all that you have done for the students you have served over so many years. Our community and our society are better because of educators like Jill Bowers! And most of all, thank you for being my dear friend!!!!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Rest in Peace, Our Mary

Mother's Day in Mexico is always celebrated on May 10. Yesterday was the funeral for our Mary. It was fitting that it was on this date. Mary was like a mother to Judy and I. I have written about this on previous posts.

Patrick, Teresa, and I went to Douglas after school on Thursday. Kerri, Cameron, Judy, Ryan, and Kayla came down on Friday. Patrick, Teresa, and I went over to Consuelo's on Friday morning to see the family and find out if there was anything we could do for them. Consuelo had asked Patrick to be a pall bearer. She chose one member from each of her brothers' and sisters' families to be a pall bearer, along with Consuelo's and Patty's husbands. Patrick was very honored by this and I was very touched. It meant so much to be a part of this. Judy was asked to give the eulogy.

My cousins, Cecilia, Jay, and Yaya, came down on Friday afternoon. I know that they wanted to be there, but it meant so much to me. I am sure that Teresa and Judy felt the same way.

The rosary was on Friday evening at St. Luke's Church in Douglas. It was all in Spanish and there was a wonderful band playing Mexican music. Her coffin was closed at her request. We were able to see her in the afternoon. Patrick and I took Teresa and I thought she looked beautiful. She had looked so bad the last several months. I was not sure I wanted to see her that way, but it was important for Teresa.

The funeral on Saturday was all in Spanish. I was so proud of Patrick as he walked down the aisle with her family. Judy did an incredible job on the eulogy. The priest translated for her family members who do not speak English. She said something about each of her brothers and sisters and talked about how much she meant to us and what an incredible person Mary was. There was a large crowd at both the rosary and funeral. We sat with the family which also meant so much to me. The same band played at the funeral and the music was so uplifting.

One of the things that Judy said that I really felt described Mary's life was it is not the duration of your life that is important, but the donation of what you do with that life. Mary's donation will last forever!

Teresa had offered Mary a place in our family plot at the cemetery. There was one plot left after my grandparents, my Uncle Johnny, my mom, and one reserved for Teresa. Mary wanted to be buried there and her family felt the same way.

Teresa has a man who takes care of the grave and she had called him to make sure it was in good condition and it was. Everything looked so nice.

When we got to the cemetery, the chairs for everyone to sit were right over my mom's grave. I am sure that was hard for Teresa. It was for me. Cameron and Consuelo's grandson sat in a chair next to Teresa. At one point, I saw Cameron kiss his "Great's" headstone. During the graveside service, he traced over her name. Patty, Mary's niece, spoke about some of the things that Mary said in the months and weeks before she died. One of the things that she said which made me know how well she knew me was how quiet I had been when I was around her. She knew how hard this has been for me. I am not normally quiet!! She also said something about Patrick and Kerri. Patrick said later he always remembered her saying to him, "Patricio Timoteo!!!" There was another group of musicians who played at the grave site. Mary loved music and dancing.

We went to Consuelo's after the funeral. They had tortillas, beans, barbecued steaks, menudo, and drinks. It was a celebration of Mary's life with so many relatives and friends. We had a wonderful time reminiscing. Cameron and Kayla played with all of the children in the front yard. When it was time for us to go, Kerri, Cameron, and Kayla stayed. They all had a wonderful time. Kerri went out with all of the cousins and said how much the family reminded her of ours.

I have said how much Mary has meant to me in my life and how much I have learned from her and cherished about her. I know how hard it will be to go to Douglas and not have her there. I feel strongly that her family will continue to be a part of our family and I will do everything I can to make sure that happens.

Today is Mother's Day in the U.S. We didn't celebrate it much because of everything that has gone on in the past week. I can say that I am privileged that I have had "THREE" mothers in my life--my mom, Mary, and my wonderful Aunt Teresa. Not many people can say that!! I am truly blessed!!

Here is the obituary from the Douglas Dispatch:

Maria S. Berumen

September 30, 1931 - May 5, 2008

Ms. Maria S. Berumen, 76, of Douglas, passed away Monday, May 5, 2008.

She was born September 30, 1931 in Pirtleville, Arizona.

Maria was preceded in death by her parents, Jose and Santos Berumen, brother Margarito Berumen and sister Josefina Olivares.

She is survived by two brothers, Jose (Carmen) Berumen of Douglas and Lorenzo (Leonor) Berumen of Oracle, Arizona; two sisters, Consuelo (Beto) Galaz of Douglas and Adelaida (Chato†) Lovio of Tucson, Arizona.

Maria is also survived by 11 nieces, 17 nephews and lots of friends and family.

A Rosary for Maria will be recited at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 9, 2008 at St. Luke’s Catholic Church. A Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, May 10, 2008 also at St. Luke’s Church with father Arnoldo Noriega officiating. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery under the direction of Brown Page Mortuary. Pallbearers who will serve are Robert Lovio, Andres Berumen, Betito Galaz, Mark Berumen, Lorenzo Berumen, Jr., Patrick Rogers, Eddie Gonzales and Jason Cole.

Another PS to this blog:

The pictures at the top are Teresa and Mary from a typical day at the house. I am not sure when it was taken, but most likely in the last five years.

Patrick is all dressed to be a pall bearer.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Our Mary

Maria Berumen
Sept. 30, 1931 - May 5, 2008

Our Mary died this morning. She has been released from her pain and suffering. I am sure she was surrounded by her wonderful family. I know how much she loved them. Her sister, Consuelo, her nieces, Consuelo and Patty, and all of their family took such loving care of her.

Last Wednesday and Thursday, Judy and I went down to Douglas to get Teresa for Cameron's First Communion and Confirmation which was on Saturday. We also wanted to see Mary and tell her how much we love her. All of her family had come in to say good-bye. She was still so alert even though she was so weak. Seeing her laying in the bed looking so small and so sick was so difficult for me. When she saw me starting to cry, she pointed her finger at me, then wiped her face. She was telling me not to cry.

We stayed for several hours. I was able to sit by her bed and hold her hand. She kept squeezing my hand. She would turn and look at me and say "Sheila" and then smile. I am having a difficult time just writing this.

Judy told her that neither one of us would be who we are today if it wasn't for her. I couldn't agree more. She played such a prominent role in our formative years and such an important role in our lives.

Mary was a special lady who never asked for much out of life and gave so much to our family. I will always be grateful for all that she has given me and I will miss her so much!!

There is a P.S. to this post:

The baby in the picture is Ryan, Judy's son. Mary was dancing with him which is what she did with all of our babies. Ryan recently turned 15.

The second picture is Cecilia dancing with Mary at Teresa's Citizen of the Year Party. Mary loved all of the cousins, but I think Cecilia had a special place in Mary's heart.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Day of Celebration!

Cameron made his First Communion and his Confirmation today at St. Anne's Catholic Church in Gilbert. He had asked Tia (what he calls Teresa) to be his sponsor for his Confirmation. I know that she was touched by that.

You see that he has a name tag with Patrick on it. Patrick is his middle name and that is the saint that he learned about for his Confirmation.

With everything going on right now in our family, it is nice to have a day to celebrate! Teresa was going to stay in Douglas to be with Mary, but her nieces insisted that she come up here and told her that is what Mary would want. I feel that is what she would have wanted because she knows how important family is to Teresa. Plus this is such an important event for Teresa and she should be a part of it. The mass started at 10:00, but he and Teresa had to be there very early. They walked up the aisle together and it was so touching to see her with him. After mass, a good friend, Nancy, who was the sponsor for her nephew, commented that Cameron probably had his great grandmother, Margaret, sitting on his shoulder the whole time. Our cousin, Bridget, also wrote this in the card she and her family gave to Cameron. She said his "Great" would be proud and she is sure she is smiling down from heaven on all of us. I believe this, too!

We invited all of the cousins over, but didn't know who would be here because of everything. Most of them came over and we had a great afternoon. The kids swam and played pool downstairs. We fixed hamburgers and hot dogs and I made Mary's beans. I know how important it is to have things as normal as possible for our children.

Cameron asked me earlier if I was going to write about this. I told him yes and asked him what song he would like for me to put with it. He said that he really likes "What a Wonderful World." So I will keep that song playing, because it really is a Wonderful World with all of our family and friends!!!