The Heroines

Vicki Stamp

is honored with a Medium Paver from Gladys Wheeler.

It has been how many years now, since the dedication of the Plaza of Heroines? And only now has this pale effort been tendered to honor my Mother, Vicki.

The delay has not been much due to procrastination; surely that is the reason for many of my failings to complete things on time.

It has not been that I have been too busy; I am busy enough, but I have spent many hours in front of a piece of paper or a computer screen---thinking. Typing. Backspacing. Maybe even an hour or more of work…found so lacking that it hasn’t even enough merit to name and save it.

So what exactly is the reason for the delay? The question put to me as I see it has been so daunting—can I find the words to answer it? Are there words sufficient?

“What does your mother mean to you?”

Can I just say the word “everything” and let it go at that? Such a great woman requires something more. Such an articulate woman; a writer of the first class. It is triple duty to do justice to a great woman; who happens to be a great communicator and who, as my enviable fortune would have it—happens also to be my mother. I could—in fact I have—looked to see what Thoreau was able to say about Emerson---but then, this helps me little because I am no Thoreau and Emerson was only a great writer—not also a great Mother.

So, what can I say? All sons can say that their mothers gave them life. But can all sons say that their mothers showed them how to live their lives? I fall short, but not for the lack of a great example of someone honest and kind. Someone that is a true friend to so many. A persistent, hard worker. Someone so gentle with her family with the capacity to be so tough in adversity.

She is almost a confusion of talents: a singer, playing the guitar or piano; a homecoming queen and a stock broker--- before there were women doing that kind of thing. A champion for the rights of crime victims; a founder of a string of retail stores; an entrepreneur and a record-setting sales person that was not fully replaced by the two people they hired to try to meet her responsibilities. A boundlessly generous person—a river of love and support to her family and friends.

Confident and capable, with a sense of adventure. Equally elegant strolling through the lobby of a hotel in Paris or Prague or a bat-filled barn on a dinosaur dig in the Dakotas.

Again, words fail, but whatever it is that makes us want to share those moments with her and be around to soak up some of that élan…she’s got it.

It has been many years since I was a boy and I guess many years since I was a young man, even. But I don’t have to close my eyes to remember how it feels to have her soft hands on my face and to be warmed by her beautiful smile. I remember it from when I was 5; and I remember it from last week. She is as important to me today as she was forty years ago. I have been blessed to have her as a constant in my life; my four children and wife adore her in the very same way.

What can I say about my mother, Vicki?

What is it that a wonderful Mother could be that my mother is not to me?

Lars Stamp