Rose Dean, one of many local mothers to be recognized this Sunday, plays a mean ice cube tray with two of her daughters.
music in the park san jose


“My mother’s garden is the whole Earth … Within this sacred space my roots join the roots of every growing thing, my arms and fingers stretch to reach the moon, the leaves are talismans, and sap runs warm as blood.”

-Annie Woods

My heart aches as I think about how my mother and I spent every Mother’s Day together until she died 18 months ago. We celebrated by searching plant nurseries together for unusual blooms. We attended organic gardening presentations in Half Moon Bay. We visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and we watched her favorite movies, “Winged Migration” and “March of the Penguins.”

While going through her things this past year, I found a box of, well, boxes. It was an 8 foot by 4 foot box full of empty boxes which she intended to reuse.

“You must have giggled some at the finding of a ‘box of boxes,'” local teacher and mother of two sons Janice Krahenbuhl said when I told her. She told me about her mother being careful to save resources as well.

“When I was helping my mother pack as she – to use a midwest term – ‘broke up housekeeping,’ I told her I’d read in my favorite midwest newspaper, ‘Capper’s,’ about a woman who was cleaning up her mother’s home and found a box labeled, ‘Pieces of String too Short to Use,'” Krahenbuhl said. “I was standing on a ladder in her pantry. Mother, who was standing on the floor right beside me, promptly pointed up to an old canister, and said, ‘Mine is right there.’ And, sure enough, inside were little stubby leftover strings too short to use!”

“Not being wasteful was a lifestyle for them, both with their resources, their money, clothes, food, etc.,” my friend Sandra Marlowe said of the generation of mothers before us.

Marlowe’s mom, Rose Dean, sings with a band of senior musicians, recently renewed her driver’s license for another four years and partied at her 90th birthday bash this past year. In raising her three daughters, Dean passed along her appreciation for conserving Mother Earth to them as well.

“My mom still saves and reuses plastic bread bags again and again,” Marlowe said. “She saves even a few dribs of leftovers in a little dish, recycles her clothes and buys things second hand – including her car.”

“Green everything is all the rage,” Marlowe said. “It’s in vogue now to save the planet. But what younger people don’t always appreciate is that their grandparents’ generation was taught to be more conservative with resources and protective of the planet.”

I know my mother was teaching me to be green before anyone had coined that term. Her family had lived through the hardships of The Depression and World War II. She always grew her own fruits and vegetables, she kept a compost area in the backyard and she recycled everything. She taught me to have an appreciation for the wonders of nature on this unique blue and green traveling orb.

Marilyn Mitri is a local mom who has found a way of sharing her deep appreciation for conserving our planet’s resources with the entire community. President of the local Lions Club, she is marking this Mother’s Day weekend by keeping Gilroy’s Earth Day celebration alive. Since the City of Gilroy canceled the traditional April Earth Day celebration due to budget cuts and layoffs, Gavilan students have been meeting with the seasoned citizens of the Lions Club to create a grassroots plan.

Mitri tells me that Saturday’s multi-generational celebration will include face painting, hiking, species observation -including an extensive local insect collection – a raffle of fine nature books and the building of bird houses with children.

“I have high hopes and a few butterflies in my stomach as we count down the days,” Mitri said. “The theme is ‘Build a house, save a bird,’ but we hope that people will come away from our celebration with a deeper appreciation of all wild creatures.”

A belated Earth Day:

What: Birdhouse building, face painting, guided walks and free ice cream for the first 200 people

When: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday

Where: Ranch side of Christmas Hill Park

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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