Sons and daughters share their favorite memories of Mom
Mr. Blue Eyes
Lynn Duriez, 42, a maintenance worker for Pasco public schools has many happy memories of his mom, Alycia Duriez, who lives in Zephyrhills.
But the Dade City man offered up this one, in particular: “When was I was in elementary school, I was overweight and had low-self esteem.
“I never had a lot of friends to talk to.
“One day, I went to school … I went to get my paper out to write notes for my class and there was this letter from my mother.
“She said the most amazing things about me, about having the most beautiful eyes and being the most handsome little boy.
“She said, ‘If I wasn’t your mother, I’d definitely be your girlfriend.’
“I think I still have the letter. It was so wonderful.”
Serving up sweets
Thirty-five-year-old Dawn Smith, an assistant manager at Dave’s Twistee Treat in Zephyrhills, can’t think a single favorite memory of her mom, Becky Mondello.
But that’s because Smith is so fond of her mom, there are too many good memories to choose from.
“I see my mom everyday,” she said. “We’re best friends. We do everything together. We go to the beach. We go to Busch Gardens.
“I can call my mom anytime, day or night, and she’s there.”
A fun-loving mom
Claudia Harris, 69, recalled the year that her mother, Lillian deJong, watched her twin children when she was away for a weekend in New York City.
“She dressed them up in diapers – you know, the New Year Baby. Her friends loved it. She showed me pictures later. She had them all dressed up. She got such a kick out of it. They had so much fun. They loved their grandma,” said Harris, who lives in Land O’ Lakes.
“It was a hoot. It really was. It’s a wonderful memory.”
Harris’ mother passed on at the age of 87.
When Christy Vervisch thinks of her mom – Janet McAfee of Sarasota — she thinks of a woman of incredible strength.
“She is just so even-keeled. Rock solid. She never loses it,” said Vervisch, a 40-year-old stay-at-home mom with four kids.
“My dad was in the Air Force, so he was gone a lot,” Vervisch said.
And now, with her husband in the Army, the Lutz woman has an even clearer idea of the challenges her mom faced.
Fortunately, she’s not alone.
“With my husband being gone a lot, she’s always there to help. She and my dad will come up and we’ll be able to go to different soccer fields.”
“An incredible moment”
Seventy-year-old Nathan Pearlman has wonderful memories of his mother.
He chose this one to share: “When I retired about six years ago, there was a surprise party that my office had for me – all of the people at the office, and some friends.
“We all went the Chattanooga Lookouts’ baseball game.
“And my mother was there. I guess she was in her late 80s. To see the smile and the love on her face when she saw me walk through the door at the surprise party was phenomenal. She just glowed.
“It was an incredible moment. That was just an awesome memory of my mother. She was a great woman.”
Pearlman, who lives in Heritage Harbor, is a retired partner in a certified public accountant firm in Chattanooga. His mother, Sadye Pearlman, passed on a few years ago at 93.
Dialing for advice
As a stay-at-home mom of two children, Beth Stahl said she frequently finds herself needing a little guidance.
Fortunately, she said, her mom – Chris Esslinger of Ohio – is an excellent source of advice.
“I immediately pick up the phone and call her if I ever have any questions or concerns. “She’s always real level-headed and always knows the right thing to say. She’s very knowledgeable.
“That helps a lot.”
The 37-year-old Stahl, of Land O’ Lakes, was sporting a Wonder Woman shirt at a soccer field in Lutz. She said her mom’s the one who should be wearing a Wonder Woman shirt.
A second chance
Sonny Caliskan, 42, shared this memory about his mom, Mufide Caliskan, who has passed away.
“I was 22 years old. I went bankrupt from my first business. I really didn’t even have a penny to buy cigarettes.
“My mom – she came up with this money and she gave it to me. It was $1,100.
“I started a new business and became very successful.”
He now owns four vendor stands, including Lily and Max at The Shops at Wiregrass, and a warehouse business.
Willing to go the extra mile
Fifteen-year-old Martin Astigarraga of Wesley Chapel, said his mom, Peggy, is always looking after him.
“She gives me a ride to church every day, basically. She listens to me when I have problems, when I need help with something. She’s always there for me.”
A dispenser of comfort
Thirteen-year-old Alexsis Torres, of Wesley Chapel, said her mom Anna Sonnier, knows how to lift her spirits.
“When I have a bad day at school, she’ll buy me something comforting. She gives me cake or Gummy Bears. She either surprises me, or we go to the store and she’ll buy me stuff.
“She works at the hospital. Each time that I’m sick, she brings me home a teddy bear.”
Making accomplishments special
Kimberly Pita, 15, of Wesley Chapel, said her mom, Maria Pita, knows how to make her feel special.
“I got an honor roll certificate and she made my favorite meal. It was something called tingas. Those are like tortillas with pulled chicken and you put whatever you want on them, like sour cream, tomatoes,” said the girl, who was born in Puerto Rico.
Her mom grew up in Puerto Rico and the teenager lived there until she was 10, but then the family moved. “We moved here because they wanted to give us a better life.”
A spiritual adviser
Ruth Laguna, who is 40, said her mother, Orlet Saldarriaga, who lives in Colombia, South America, keeps her straight spiritually.
“Momma is always with me in my good times and my bad times. She is my support,” the New Tampa woman said.
“I live with my two kids here, and when I can’t handle them and they’re driving me crazy, I call my mom.
“She’s a really Christian person. She always had the right thing to say. She has the right verse – go read this. (Her mom tells her) ‘Wake up early in the morning and pray. Put everything in God’s hands.’ ”
A special delivery
Berenice Blanco recalls the difficulty of recovering from the delivery of her first baby, Joshua, who arrived by cesarean section nine years ago.
But another memory is even more vivid for the 36-year-old Wesley Chapel woman.
It was the loving care her mother, Lucinda Martinez who lives in Venezuela, displayed following the delivery.
“She came here to take care of me,” Blanco said. “She cooked for me, made me feel better. She made me everything that she knew that I liked,” the Wesley Chapel woman said.