Bernice Alvira Reischel.
She would tell you her initials were BAR, just like the places that served Liquor. – She never really liked her name. That’s why everybody always called her Bea. Or Grandma Bea.
Her kids gave her gifts with a bumblebee motif.
But she collected Angels – lots of Angels, And now I sure she is one.
And she collected blue glass – because blue was her favorite color.
She lived a long life, 93 years.
She’d tell you it was a good life. In fact she told us that many… Many times
But it wasn’t an easy life.
Her mother caught tuberculosis when she was 2, and was sent off to a hospital where she could only visit by looking through a window and her mother died when my mother was only 4 years old.
Her dad was a carpenter. Who would build a house, framed it up, and moved the family in while finished it, then start another one, so that they moved once a year. Her dad re-married, but her stepmother was much like Cinderella’s so she left home at 12. She lived with a family as a maid and governess then.
She was originally Lutheran. Later she converted to Catholic. She was drawn to the church because it gave her in faith what she lacked in life – a mother. Her favorite song, which you’ll sing later in this service, was Ave Maria. Then she went to a convent to become a nun, but her desire to have children was too strong and they told her she really needed to be married and have lots of children.
She wanted to have a dozen children. She had seven. But before all that….
When Bea was 17 she started working for a rug company in St Paul. At 18 years old, they made her a manager. They even sent her to New York to start up a branch. Then she started one in Washington DC and another later in Boston. Imagine that—this was pre-WWII. She was only 18 years old….and a woman.
She was introduced to my Dad by her Brother – Lee. They got married. She became a working MOM at a time in this country that was unheard of. She supported the family. Help put my Dad through College, the War, and Then Law School. After that, she gave all that up to raise her kids.
The trouble was, her second child – Robert Winthrop (Bobby) died at the age of 2 Years old for getting into some poison my Dad left around. She rushed him to the hospital, but they were very busy that day and made them sit in the waiting room. When they finally pumped his stomach, it was too late. I don’t believe my mother ever quite got over that. It effected her, and the rest of the family, for the rest of her life. Today, she will finally be laid beside her son.
But, enough of the sad things! Let me tell you about the good things
Mom loved to cook. She taught her daughters and grand daughters all her recipes.
She loved all children. Children were attracted to her like magnets. Nothing would make he smile more than to watch and play with little ones. She would laugh and sing, and read to them. She would have them read to her and she listened to their stories. You never had to ask mom if she would babysit. Just bring them and leave them with her any time.
Her door was always open – literally. You didn’t have to call, you didn’t have to knock. Just come. Bring anyone. If they needed food, there was always room at the table. Even at thanksgiving, we never knew who would be there because mom would invite strangers if she new they were alone on a holiday. On many a holiday, the family would see someone in the room and ask, “who are you?”
She believed in giving, volunteering, and helping others. She did “Meals–on-wheels” at St Pascals until she couldn’t drive anymore. She counted money every Monday for the church for over 30 years and made friends with a wonderful group of women who counted with her. She drove the Nuns whenever they needed to run errands, or take food to the food shelters, and made friends with many of them. She instilled that in us kids too. For example: I couldn’t go shovel snow for money, until I shoveled the neighbor’s walks first. At first I did it because she asked me to. Later, she didn’t have to ask.
She was strong. I’ll never forget once when we went camping with her at the age of 70. There she was out in the woods pulling half a dead tree to camp for the fire. She lived alone in her house even now, in her nineties. Tramping up and down her basement steps to do the laundry.
She was a stubborn Swede. You couldn’t change her mind, once she made it up. That went for her faith as the Jehovah’s Witness always found out when they tried to convert her. She would try to convert them right back. She was firmly a Democrat. She believed Minnesota was the most beautiful of all the states. St. Pascals was HER church. She wanted to live in her house until she died, and she did. She never needed or wanted any help when she could do it herself. Don’t use bad language around her. Don’t be disrespectful to those in authority. Never be mean or a bully. Eat what you are given, don’t make a fuss, clean your plate or sit there until it is gone. That’s what she taught us.
There is only one word to describe mom – that word is L O V E.
She loved Children
She loved her family
She loved life
And she loved GOD.
May God welcome her into her place in heaven.
And God – if there are jobs to be assigned up there. Please let her watch over the little ones.