Grateful for moms, and memories

Send us your thoughts to by end of day on May 12.

Posted 5/8/24

More than 115 years after Anna Jarvis established the first Mother’s Day, with the help of John Wanamaker, the second Sunday of May has become a shared moment.

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Grateful for moms, and memories

Send us your thoughts to by end of day on May 12.


More than 115 years after Anna Jarvis established the first Mother’s Day, with the help of Philadelphia department store mogul John Wanamaker, the second Sunday of May has become a shared annual moment – a time we take to appreciate the person who nurtured us into the people we are today. 

At The Chestnut Hill Local, we are sharing some memories of our mothers, and hope you will too. We invite you to stop for a moment during your preparations for the day and send us a note about your own mother. It could be a beautiful memory, a funny story or an anecdote that illuminates the woman –  or person – who fulfilled the role of “mother” to you. 

Send your thoughts to by the end of the day on Sunday, May 12. Be sure to include your name, your neighborhood, and contact information. We’ll be including your thoughts and memories in next week’s edition of The Local. 

Jordan Demetris, bookkeeper

Mom survived the Italian and German occupations of Greece during World War II. The family pulled wood off of the house to make a fire. They were given ration cards for family food. Mom's sister told me they were at times so hungry my Mom looked at a chair and said, "Why can't I eat you?" Mom never told me that story, but her sister remembered. Moms are survivors! 

Carla Robinson, editor

Fierce. That’s the first word I think of when I think of my mom. I’m not sure why because she was loads of fun and had more talent for friendship than anyone else I’ve ever met. It’s her intellect, I think. She wasn’t just smart – she was educated. Her brain was a powerful and well-developed muscle, and she showed me how to be an independent thinker before I even knew the meaning of the words. I would give anything to have just one more conversation with her. 

Daralyse Lyons, business growth officer

I once heard my mom described as "a savvy tree hugger," and that's exactly what she is. She cares deeply about people, in a smart no-nonsense way, and is regularly helping strangers. Not too long ago, I called her to find her in the midst of giving a stranger a ride home from the grocery store. She's kind, mildly naive, and hands-down my favorite person. Because she raised me as a single mom, we've always shared a special closeness. I'm grateful to her for never pushing me to be anything other than authentic and for always supporting my hopes and dreams. A day isn't nearly enough time to celebrate her. 

Richard Stein, interim publisher

My mother, Celia Stein, wrote a celebrated cooking column in our local newspaper called “Ceil Selects.” It was particularly popular around holidays when she would publish recipes of her own, ones submitted by readers, or ones sent to her by public relations firms hoping to get their clients’ products mentioned. On one memorable occasion, her 1955 Thanksgiving column was riddled with typos. Her pumpkin pie recipe called for four teaspoons of powdered cloves instead of a quarter teaspoon. And her turkey spice rub recipe called for two pounds of paprika (It should have been two tablespoons). Fortunately, the column appeared a week before the holiday, in time for the paper to print a correction. It appeared under the headline, “If You’re Cooking Now, Please Stop." 

Leslie Cerf, advertising sales representative

My Mom, Frances, was an achiever and a very talented artist. She really tried to enjoy life to the fullest and strived to always make the most out of the day to day of being a stay-at-home mother with seven children. That took a lot of effort! Most of the time, God bless her, she was up for almost anything engaging, from helping us with homework to dancing in the kitchen while making dinner. Two of my distinctively favorite memories are when she set up my finger painting easel in our side yard on a bright sunny day and helped change the paper after I filled it up with a picture. The second memory is when she would take me and one of my siblings to visit old cemeteries in the Maine countryside to admire the trees and enjoy the peacefulness. There, she taught us to use blank newsprint paper and charcoal to make rubbings of the beautiful headstones. 

Len Lear, features editor

My mother, Anna Lehr Fairorth, came to the U.S. with her family when she was a child around the time of World War I. They came from what was then called Greater Lithuania (now Latvia), a small Baltic state that was part of the Soviet Union until it broke up in 1991. The family left because of vicious, widespread antisemitism. Leaders of Eastern European countries often scapegoated Jews for their own failings, routinely having Jews jailed, beaten, and even killed, a story that is more than 2,000 years old in much of the world. 

My mother never went past the third grade in public school, probably because of the language barrier. She was a good person but had a very sad life without much joy. She basically raised five children on her own. My father, whose family also came from Eastern Europe, took little or no part because he was almost always working and exhausted. He dropped out of South Philadelphia High School at age 14 and never went back to school.

My mother did the best she could under the circumstances. In her later years, she was remorseful, often apologizing for mistakes that she made in raising us kids. “We did not know about psychology back then,” she would say. She died at age 87 in a nursing home in West Philadelphia in 1987 after years of physical suffering from broken hips and other ailments. 

Samantha Gibb Roff, development associate

My mother was born in 1928 to a family that struggled through the Great Depression. As a result, she became very savvy with money and managed it well. As soon as she finished high school, she found a job and bought her parents their first running shower! After working as a homemaker for 20 years, she found a job in the library of a community college and took advantage of the college’s benefit of free education, earning her associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees – over a span of 13 years. She wound up teaching economics, business, and personal finance at that same community college. However, my sweetest memories of my mother recall her amazing skills as a seamstress – sewing all my clothes as a child – and her tender and loving care for animals. Many injured birds were nursed in our home, and one distinct memory takes me to a hatchling that accompanied our family to a drive-in movie. My mother insisted on feeding the baby bird through an eyedropper every 20 minutes. Love in action was my mother.