Sassy, silly, irrepressible, unflappable, forgetful, and at times exasperating: That’s just some of the ways we can describe our much-loved moms.

We asked readers to send in funny Mom stories to celebrate Mother’s Day in a light-hearted way, but contributors gave us so much more.

Below are sentiments that are funny, tearful and everything in between, straight from the hearts of the sons and daughters who offered a look at their moms through their own eyes.

To all the mothers out there, thank you for all you do.

EVELYN BODEMER: THAT’S THE WAY THE TIDDLY WINKS

By daughters Deanne Bodemer of Bryant Pond and Denise Green of Wayne

Evelyn Bodemer, captured in one of her sassy moments. Submitted photo

Many know our mom, Evelyn, of Andover, through her volunteer work over the years. She was the team leader of Driven Women (yes, she chose that name), and also volunteered with Rumford’s Relay for Life and Daffodil Days. She’s also a long-time member of Andover Service Circle. Most importantly, Mom was a hospice volunteer for patients during the end-of-life process, and their families, which she says was her “calling.”

We happen to think that Mom is one funny lady and she can actually be quite sassy! Sometimes when she’s been asked a question or there’s a situation where she doesn’t quite know what to say, she responds with, “What’s THAT got to do with the price of peanuts?!”

Quirky remarks like this one are something we kids grew up with, and now her grandkids are subject to the same sassiness.

There’s one line that is truly her signature though. When asked why something has to be a certain way, or why she made a certain decision, rather than explain, she simply replies with a look and says, “Well, that’s the way the tiddly winks!”

This makes no sense, but that’s our mom’s reply. I THINK it means, “It is what it is, so live with it!”

For all the goofiness that we kids, and now her grandkids, have grown up with, Mom has been the glue that holds everyone together and has been here for us through thick and thin. She doesn’t walk away, she doesn’t put herself first, nor does she ever look for something in return except for maybe a hug, which makes her day.

She has been a giver since the beginning of our lives as a mom to us three children. She’s been a caregiver at the end of people’s lives as a hospice volunteer, and she’s been everything for her husband, Dick, for nearly 60 years. She’s one special, unique lady who is a selfless, giving person and has gotten through so much in her own life, yet she still stands as a pillar of strength for those who need someone to lean on and to talk to. She is filled with spunk, sass, and silliness.

“And THAT’S the way the tiddly winks!”

BETTY MITCHELL: A ‘MOTHER OF MOTHERS’

By son Dave Mitchell of Farmington

Betty Mitchell, maker of “magical childhoods.” Submitted photo

Memories of our mom, Betty, of Wilton, stretch throughout my life. On the first day of school I was scared to leave the car so she brought the teacher out to meet me so I would see that she wasn’t a scary person. When I was in my early teens, she found cigarettes in my jacket pocket and scolded me in such a calm, wise manner that I avoided cigarettes from then on. And she encouraged me in my marriage. I was 19 and just into college; my girlfriend was 17, in high school and pregnant. (We’ve been married 49 years now.)

I asked my brother, Kent, if he had any funny memories of our mom and he recalled something that happened to her.

He came by one winter day when Mom was in her 70s to give her a ride somewhere in his Jeep. He pulled up to the door and saw her coming out, so he went around to help her in because it was a high step up to enter the vehicle, but when he got to the other side, Mom had vanished!

He heard her calling, “Kent! Kent! Down here!”

He looked down and there was the top of her head peeking out from under the Jeep. She had slipped on the ice and slid completely under the vehicle, but was completely unharmed. So with no injury, except to her pride, it was a hilarious moment for them.

As she entered her 80s, she told me that, at her age, she had found it was best to look as good as you could, smell as good as you could, and pretty much keep your mouth shut.

My brother Jeff Mitchell died in a drowning accident at age 63, just three years after our mother’s death, in 2014. He had written a note that we copied and provided at her memorial service. The end of the note said this:

“She made us feel special, worthwhile, and good about ourselves. The reward she received, the return-on-investment that has trickled back to her day-by-day and year-by-year, is that she was one of the most lovable and beloved human beings any of us has even known or will ever know. I love you Mom, with every part of my being and I will miss you from now on every minute, every hour, and every day of my life.”

My remaining brother and sister and I still feel this exact way about our mother. She was a Baptist minister’s daughter who was raised with “one good dress” that she dressed up with scarves worn in different ways. She was a doctor’s wife who lived a fulfilling middle-class life in small-town Maine and gave back to her community over and over again. This mother of mothers made our childhoods magical, solid and safe, and gave us an example of parenthood and grand-parenthood that we continue to draw upon.  She was our remarkable mother.

JEANNINE BRETON: ‘SHE’S MY HERO’

By son Rick Breton of Auburn

Nobody could smoke a pickle like Jeannine Breton. Submitted photo

Mom grew us kids up in what’s known as Little Canada in Lewiston. We were five boys and one girl, with me being the youngest. In her lifetime, she lost two husbands, two sons, and two great-grandchildren.

She persevered through those tough times with the help of loving kids, grandkids, and great-grandchildren whose lives she surely helped shape. She worked most of her life sewing shoes for the local shoe shops and housekeeping for the D’Youville Pavilion. She was funny, smart, loving, and dedicated many countless hours of community service through her church and in her local neighborhood . . . and if there was one thing that she had over anyone else on this God-given earth, she had the ability to smoke a pickle!

At a family gathering, when I got up from the table to go out and smoke, Mom said to me, “You need to stop that. How would you like it if I started smoking?” Then she reached for the pickle dish, speared a little pickle on a fork, stuck it in her mouth and proceeded to “smoke” it, saying, “See, I’m smoking! Do I look cool?”

Thinking back on so many memorable moments with Mom, another one also comes to mind often. Every Friday morning, I had the pleasurable duty of chauffeuring Mom to my sister’s beauty parlor, frequently taking the long way because she enjoyed the ride.

One late October morning, we were sitting at a red stop light at the corner of Bates and Pine streets when Mom commented how pretty the Christmas lights were this year and that they were up so early. Looking around and not seeing any Christmas lights, I asked her what she meant by that. She pointed to the newly installed crosswalk signals the city had put in place. I was quick to correct her and explained what they were. We both laughed, then she stopped suddenly to tell me the signal light had turned green. We laughed together all the rest of the way to the beauty parlor. She was and still is my hero.

RUTH GREENLEAF DULLEA: WORDS WITH A WONDERFUL WOMAN

By daughter Dennise Whitley of Norway

Ruth Greenleaf Dullea, dressed to the nines for her role as chairwoman of the town of Norway’s 200th anniversary celebration.

My mother, Ruth, was very well known and was always active in the Norway community including the Pennesseewassee Theater Group and H.O.P.E.

In her work life, she was employed at the local radio station, WKTQ, then at the weekly newspaper, the Advertiser Democrat, as a writer and editor for many years. She loved language and was a voracious reader.

Because she literally dealt in language, she was particularly amused by malapropisms, and collected them. Her very favorite was a story that came over the teletype to the radio station announcing an impending January snowstorm. The headline read, “Two-foot SNOT storm will hit Western Maine on Thursday”!

Because of Mother’s fixation on correct grammar and language, she also delighted in alliteration. A family dinner conversation might start with someone observing that “the winter weather was worrisome for Wednesday.” Dad might add, “The worrisome winter weather was wonderful for ski warriors.” Next might come Mother’s declaration that “the worrisome winter weather was wonderful and would work well with worldwide wishes for those not having weekend weddings.”

One favorite frequent exchange between my folks was when Mother asked Dad to do something and if he didn’t respond immediately, Mother would say, “Dennis, did you hear what I asked you?” Dad would answer, “Mother, I’m fulminating.” She always responded with, “Dennis, if you do, you can clean it up!”

ANITA BARIBAULT: DOUGHNUT BANDIT AND SO MUCH MORE

By son Paul Baribault of Lewiston

Anita Baribault: Mom in pink, no chocolate crumbs. Submitted photo

From her mid-90s until she made her transition to heaven at age 98, my mother, Anita, lived with me at the Lewiston home she and my dad built in 1950. She was still getting around with the help of a walker, and I cherish those years because she was such a genial person, with a delightful sense of humor.

This particular story captures my mother’s unflappable personality. One afternoon we were seated in the kitchen watching the television set mounted in the adjacent den, which we had turned into her room. I felt the need for a nap so, excusing myself, I retired to the living room which had a view to the kitchen where Mom remained, comfortably seated at the table.

Some 10 minutes after engaging the recliner and having put a bandana over my eyes, I heard Mom’s chair move back and the rolling of the walker. I peeked to see if she might be headed to the bathroom, but no – she was headed for a counter in the kitchen where a box of doughnuts was waiting; chocolate ones, her favorite.

While she moved toward the counter, I quietly got out of the recliner and stepped up behind her as she neared her goal. Then as she reached for the box, without saying anything, I gently tapped her on the shoulder.

Unstartled, and without turning around, all she said was, “You spoiled my robbery.”

CONNIE BENWITZ: THE ORGAN-PLAYING GNOME

Written by daughter Candi Gilpatric of Minot

Candi Gilpatric, left, and Jeanine Santelli, right, pose with their mom, Connie Benwitz.

Our mom lives in Minot and is a retired school librarian. She moved here 14 years ago to be closer to me and her youngest grandson (my son). She often starts statements by saying “You know I’m a half-bubble off center” then proceeds to tell about some crazy thing she did. Now, these aren’t radical crazy, like getting a tattoo, but her antics are usually something like working four hours in the garden in 80-degree heat or putting on a snowsuit and shoveling the driveway.

She also refers to herself as “the gnome.” For instance, after she drops off baked goods at our house while we’re at work, she’ll call and ask if “a crazy old gnome stopped by.”

We also joke about her playing the church organ. She played in New York where she used to live for 20-plus years. When she moved here, she started playing for the West Minot Church. Then Hebron Baptist Church needed an organist as well so she plays for two churches every Sunday.

Occasionally, one of the organs has a mechanical problem and we joke like 12-year-old boys about having “the guy come and check her organ.”

She’s the stereotypical image of a school librarian, so that makes this remark 10 times funnier. Once, when one of the organs wasn’t working well, she had to go play it to get the moisture worked out of it. After she played for about an hour, it was working better. This led to us joking that “as organs age they take longer to warm up.”

FRANN BIRD: ‘ONLY OUR MOM’

Written by daughter Leasa Palmer of Merrimac, Massachusetts

Mom Frann Bird enjoys some fun and sun with daughter Leasa Palmer. Submitted photo

My mom lives in Peru and turned 90 on May 4. One of our family sayings is “Only our mom!”
There were nine of us, so Mom tried to be frugal. One day she caught me devouring frosting from a container and said, “Leasa, you can’t eat frosting from the container; you’ll get worms!”

I was 6 years old or so and needless to say, I never did that again.

Years later, when my husband and I were newlyweds, he came out from the kitchen eating frosting from the container. I rushed to him and said, “Honey, you can’t eat frosting out of the container; you’ll get worms!”

He looked at me as if I had lost my mind and said, “But Leasa, you put it on cakes and you don’t get worms.”

I replied, “I don’t care. Mom said so and she wouldn’t lie to me.”

I rushed to the phone to call her. “‘Mom, don’t you get worms if you eat frosting out of the container?”

Mom replied, “What?”

“Mom, you told me years ago that I would get worms if I ate frosting out of the container.”

“Oh, Leasa, I had to stop you from doing that or I would never have enough frosting for my cakes.”

Remember, there were nine of us. Only our mom!

IRENE COADY: ‘LACUMBAH!’

Written by daughter Terry Guerette of Portland

Terry Guerette enjoys time with her mother, Irene Coady, at Taber’s in Auburn. Submitted photo

Here are a few funny memories of Mom:

When I was little and it was bedtime, I held onto her legs with my head resting on her behind. As she walked toward my bedroom, she’d sing, “1, 2, 3, LacumBAH, 4,5,6, LacumBAH!” I’d giggle with each “BAH” as she threw her hips (and my head!) along with it.

Another thing I remember is that times were tough when we were growing up. Inflation had hit in the ’70s and beef became very expensive, but one evening all of us, except Mom, had a big steak on our plates. We felt like we had hit the jackpot! It was only later that we figured out why Mom had hummed the theme from “The Lone Ranger” during supper. We were eating horse meat!

Lastly, Mom played the organ for weddings and funerals. During the recessional song for her friend’s wedding, she accidentally segued into “Pop Goes the Weasel,” turning heads and raising eyebrows.

RACHEL FEELEY: ON THE BACK BURNER
Written by the Feeley family of Auburn

Mom Rachel Feeley gave new meaning to the phrase “warm greetings.” Submitted photo

Back in the days of leasing a home phone rather than owning one, we had a black rotary desk phone which, due to the lack of counter space, was frequently kept on the back burner of the electric stove in our Auburn kitchen.

One afternoon, Mum started dinner on the stove then went to another room for something. A few minutes later she heard an odd, muffled ringing sound and wondered what it was. She went back into the kitchen and discovered that she had turned on the wrong burner, reducing the telephone to a melted mess on the stove.

She had to run next door to use the neighbor’s phone to call the phone company. When the man from Bell Telephone arrived, he exclaimed, “I‘ve never seen anything like this!”

Writer and editor Karen Schneider has been a regular contributor to the Lewiston Sun Journal for over 24 years. Contact her at [email protected] with your ideas and comments.

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