Mother's Day Tribute – May 2009

Mother’s Day Tribute

May 2009

by: my sister, Janine Scandlon

We “Roth” kids were asked to do a surprise tribute to our Mom focusing on the heritage that she has passed down to us through both her actions and words.

Karen June Wellman Roth was born to Howard and Junietta Wellman. She was raised in a very rural farm community of Lee Center, IL. She was the fourth child of five. (There was a set of twins that did not survive. We are all in complete agreement, twins are one thing that we are very happy she did NOT pass down to us!) She was born in the post-depression era. She and my aunts have been heard to say that they were very poor but didn’t know it. Times were hard and everyone worked hard to survive. Her parents both worked full-time jobs in addition to running the local post office, mowing the local cemetery, and harvesting asparagus for Del Monte. The kids were expected to pull their weight and helped with gardening, canning, and mowing. As a child, Karen, was described as a “little spitfire.” She was a tomboy with a highly competitive nature. This competitive nature came out in the many sports she played. All agreed she played to win. To this day she is utterly embarrassing to go to sporting events with. She hoops and hollers and still joins in the wave and shouts “We will rock you“ with the best of them. She was also a cheerleader. Our favorite cheer that she taught us growing up was a memorable one. While it lacked depth, she made up for it in spirit. It goes something like this. . .”Windshield wipers, swish, swish, windshield wipers, swish, swish, wipe those Steelers out!” Okay, so we added the Steelers part but needless to say, we did not ask Mom for any advise during Spirit Week at school. She was also voted Homecoming and Prom Queen. After graduating from nursing school, Karen married Jerold Dennis Roth. After several years of marriage, Mom was told that in all likelihood she would not be able to have children. In true stubborn German fashion, Mom proved them all wrong. She is the mother to five and grandmother to 10. There were many things our mother has taught us:

She taught us Work Ethic and Frugalness. Proverbs 6: 6-8, it teaches to consider the ant and how she gathers her food and is not a sluggard. Due to the many financial sacrifices made to send us all to Christian school, the frugalness Mom learned in her youth was utilized in raising us. We too helped Mom can, garden, and mow. She passed on her heritage of a strong work ethic. While we are thankful for the work ethic learned, we all agree that we have no desire to pick up gardening as a hobby! Something about all those hours spent trying to crack weeds out of clay rock has left us with fond memories but no love for gardening. We do, however, still feel guilt when we throw away tin foil or a plastic bag without washing and re-using it.

She taught us to have a Closed Mouthed and be Quick to Forgive. In James it teaches us the power the tongue can yield. Mom was not one to speak bad about others. She was also very quick to forgive. She did not speak unkind words and looked for the good in people. Through the years she passed down many mom-isms such as “pretty is as pretty does.” “be a blessing” but her most famous saying which we heard over and over “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” In James it says “out of the mouth proceed blessing and cursing.” Mom chose to bless.

She taught us Modesty. I Timothy 2:9 it states that women should adorn themselves in modest apparel. Our mother was a stickler for modesty. It was taught to us girls from birth. Somewhere along the line Jon missed the message. Dad was quite surprised to come home from work one day to find Jon, well for lack of a better way to say it, relieving himself out the front door in full view of all of Dad’s co-workers driving past the house. Growing up she never allowed us girls to ever call a boy. That was inappropriate. Imagine our surprise to recently learn that she proposed to our father. But, she didn’t call him!

She taught us about Giving & Personal Sacrifice. 2 Cor 9:7 states that the Lord loveth a cheerful giver. Mom always gave cheerfully of her time and herself. Mom made many personal sacrifices. She went many years to the annual work Christmas party in the same formal dress. Now that we are older, we fully appreciate how uncomfortable it must have been to wear the same dress year after year despite changes in style. She drove a van that had multi-colored doors and an unreliable engine. This allowed her to drive us kids and many other children back and forth to school quite some distance away. Instead of complaining about how much time it took her to drive back and forth, she decided to just stay at school and volunteer. Driving the decrepit van taught Mom great resourcefulness. She became quite adept at vehicle repairs. She was rewarded later in life when she accidentally drove Dad’s brand new zero turn lawn mower into the lake. She changed all of the fluids herself. Cleaned it up. He was never the wiser until one day he came across one of Jon’s blackmail pictures that showed the bars of the mower peaking out of the lake. By then it was too late for dad to get too upset. In addition to her personal sacrifices for us kids, we later found out that Mom and Dad made financial sacrifices to send other children to Christian school. One of those kids is currently starting a church in Pennsylvania. We also have memories of wrapped Christmas gifts and bags of groceries going to children in the church who would not have had a Christmas if it weren’t for them.

She taught us Hospitality. In Titus 1:8 it implores us to be “a lover of hospitality.” We have many memories of what we jokingly refer to as “mom bringing home strays.” Through the years we have had many guests to our Holiday get-togethers. Sometimes they were people she had just met the day before. She met one such gentleman at the Senior Ctr the day before Thanksgiving when she was taking an elderly lady from church for her flu shot. While she was waiting for her, she struck up a conversation with the gentleman and found out he was going to be alone for Thanksgiving. As you have probably guessed, he wasn’t alone that year. This hospitality has been extended through the years to missionaries, special needs adults, lonely senior citizens and foreign college students.

She taught us be a Servant. We often laughingly refer to Mom as having the ultimate “knight in shining armor” complex. She is always rushing to help someone in need. From helping inmates in jail receive their GED, to nursing those in need, to driving others to doctors appointments, to running multiple volunteer libraries, to collecting clothes and medical equipment for children in Haiti. In Luke 10 it speaks of the good Samaritan. He did not pass by those in need and neither does Mom.

She taught us Patience. In Galations 5:22 it lists patience as a fruit of the spirit. Mom was usually very patient. Between living in a house in state of remodel, vans breaking down, wells freezing and the many other events that were a part of our daily lives, she tended to take things as they came. Because she was so patient, the few times she lost her patience really stand out in our minds. One of our favorite stories involve mom losing her patience. When she and dad were dating, during one of their dates he kept teasing her mercilessly. Hard to believe, I know. She finally had it with him and ran into her parents backyard an
d climbed her favorite apple tree. Dad realized he had pushed her too far and came into the backyard to make up. Imagine his surprise when he passed under the apple tree and she threw a pizza in his face! Another instance when Mom lost her patience, she had, had it with us kids fighting. She yelled at us, took the dish towel that she had thrown over her shoulder and threw it up in the air as she prepared to make a grand exit out of the room. When the towel opened in mid-air and came down and landed covering her entire face as she tried to stomp out of the room. We kids couldn’ t help but break out into to peals of laughter. For some reason, she just couldn’t see the humor of the moment.

We’ve mentioned all of the wonderful, Godly traits she has passed on. Of course, there are those less than desirable traits that she has passed down too, such as procrastination. She has been known to send Christmas cards in July. Her philosophy is better late than never. Whenever company comes over, she morphs into “Wellman” mode which involves cleaning everything in the house-drawers, washing walls, painting, and remodeling. Before church baptisms, she even made Jon rake and clean the pond. Occasional cluelessness. Mom does not always catch onto surprises very quickly. We are hoping that by now the pictures have clued her in that this tribute is actually about her. Recently at a surprise birthday party, it wasn’t until the cake came out and was set in front of her that she realized it was for her birthday. Somehow all of the Happy Birthday Karen signs didn’t clue her in. Forgetfulness. Mom often forgets when she has told us something so we often hear the same story multiple times. Last year she even forgot Ben’s birthday. I know, alot of people forget birthdays-but Ben has the same birthdate as Mom! Over-doing things and the inability to keep things simple. Sunday school promotions always involved a huge decorating frenzy. Things always became a huge project. Is this slide-show not a perfect example of our inherited inability to keep things simple?!

All joking aside, we have mentioned many spiritual traits that our Mother taught us: work ethic, generosity, hospitality, kindness, patience, service, modesty, forgiveness, and the need to keep our tongue. There are many, many others that could be shared. However, above all else, she is our MOM. She was always there for us and we grew up in a home filled with love. We love you Mom, Happy Birthday and Happy Mother’s Day!