My Mother by John

As it is with mothers, my Mother is the most important person in my life.   She had specific expectations and didn’t mind telling you exactly where she stood.  If she thought you did wrong or missed the mark, she told you so – very directly and often without diplomacy.

Though she was opinionated, I never doubted that she had my best interest at heart and in mind.  She sacrificed to assure I completed college and she came up with the down payment, which we repaid over several years without interest, so that Theresa and I could buy a home in Farmersville.  When I was much younger, she would test me on spelling going over words for hours.  As she did with others, a letter to her was sometimes returned with the grammar corrections of an English teacher.

I will miss her profoundly.  I have found it very difficult since 2007 to re-define my state-of-mind removing my Father from the here and present mind-status.  This status is a trusted and intimate soul on the speed dial whom I can call for advice or engage in a discussion of some current event.  It will be more difficult to remove my Mom from this status not only because of her profound importance, but also because both Dad and Mom are now gone.

After her Dad died, Theresa advised me back in 1985 she was an orphan.  Karl and I are now orphans.  This is not something to be pitied and in the scheme of things is normal.  It is a basic difference in existence though.  There is no parent to rely upon and confer with.  There is no one that can recount heritage and family history.  There is no one that criticizes as a parent or provides basic parental approval.  In this most primal relationship of parent-to-child, you are now on your own.  We are both very grateful that our relationship with our parents continued well into our lives.  In this we have been blessed.

The best that can be said is that my – our – Mom was victorious in her life.  She overcame through will and effort the ceilings that may have contained her.  She did this through education and working day- in- and- day- out. As I see it, her vision of the future is what now defines our family’s aspirations.

Above all, she embraced the power of education.  She held a bachelor and graduate degree that she earned on her own after she was married.  She had life teaching and counseling credentials.  Throughout her life she attended classes and read.  When you talked with her, she would pull a book or magazine out and read a passage.  If you look through her magazine rack, there are current cultural and news magazines that have passages underlined, probably as a memory aid for future discussions.  I am sure she has sent most of us assembled here some newspaper or magazine clipping she felt made a point she was interested in advancing.  As a result of her commitment to learning, the family is well educated and fully engaged in the various pursuits of American culture.

She wanted every family member to embrace the world and see other lands and people.  Mom traveled throughout the world and took great pleasure in what she experienced from these trips.  She developed travel friends whom she corresponded with until very late in her life.

She embraced her family’s traditions.  Her main interest was with the Haenggi and Mauser families.  She took great pride that her Dad was a self-made “stockman” who came to America with the skills of a butcher and became through effort and dedication, well- to- do.  She was proud of her Mother who she admired as a classy lady.  Though there were always family differences, she was loyal to her Haenggi and Mauser roots and she also supported and engaged with the Longleys.  My Uncle Herb told me not long before he died that Paula was the best thing that happened to Ray, my Dad.  She was such a good lady that kept everything going, assuring that the tasks of life were accomplished and the bills were paid.

Her family loyalty was demonstrated over the past several decades in her dedication to her grandchildren and great grandchildren.  She has been fully involved with their lives and interested in every aspect.  She bragged about their victories and she supports their efforts with a resolute grandmotherly encouragement.

This dedication to her families is something we could all learn from for I believe with her death we will grow further apart and this is not a good thing.  I remember the story of Uncle Ted who observed the same happening with the Haenggi’s back in time and organized an annual family gathering.  It happened for a number of years at Cedar Slope and then it died.  This is something the elders should consider and act upon in Uncle Ted’s and the other uncle and aunts ( including my Mom’s) memory.

Finally, my Mom always valued simple decency.  She often expressed you should see normally people do the very best they can in a given situation.  We all should be accountable, but we should be tolerant of life’s misdemeanors that folks incur when they are trying but they find life is too demanding.

Mom you will be missed in ways I cannot conceive.  What you gave the World is tons more than what you took from it.  We all love and admire you.

Always, when we parted I kissed you on the forehead and told you that I loved you.  You always said you knew and you loved me.  On your last night in the hospital, you tried to get out of bed while you were attached to the monitors and I told you that I loved you but you couldn’t.  Very kindly in your pain you said – I know you love me, but it hurts so much.  The only blessing is that you no longer have the pain that afflicted you at the end.

Mom, I love you.

 

Godspeed!

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Paula Louise Haenggi Mauser Longley

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Mom was always working — here she is cleaning the porch at Alpine

 


 

Paula Louise Mauser was born in 1916 in Porterville, California.  Her parents were Charles Mauser and Agatha Louse Haenggi Mauser .  She grew up in California, variously in Inglewood, Tipton, and Porterville.  She was an avid reader and excellent student, graduating as Valedictorian from Tulare High School.

While still a child, her family moved from Tipton to Porterville, where she attended Porterville Junior College.  It was at Porterville Junior College that she met her future husband, John (“Ray”) Raymond Longley.  She described the relationship as magic and they ended up eloping to Reno, Nevada, where they were wed.  She was a home-maker living with her husband near her father’s business on Poplar road when her first son, Karl Emery Longley was born.  Soon the family was able to purchase a farm on the Tule River on Indiana Avenue.  In these early years, the focus was on building a life around the livestock business and taking work to make ends meet.  It was the depression era and life was grueling.

During World War II, her family moved to Sacramento where her husband served in the California State Military Reserve.  Ray was accepted in OCS in Florida and Paula met him there towards graduation time.  She described the trip across the United States as eye opening because it crossed over the mountains and through the South.  She stopped off in Tennessee to get Ray’s birth certificate, which had to be provided to the authorities in Florida.  Introduction to the South and its differences from the West was an enduring memory.

After Ray’s commissioning, the family spend time at the Victorville Army Airfield.  Paula described working with other officer wives to fold bandages.  There was a military wife’s culture, which she observed with some bemusement.

Ray was sent to the Pacific in 1945 and the family stayed in Porterville while waiting for his return home.  After the War, the routine of civilian life resumed.  Again it was focused around the horses and cattle.  Another son, John Jr., was born in 1947 and after a few years Paula wanted to complete her college education, which had been delayed by her marriage.

She took classes at Fresno State and at the Fresno State extension in Bakersfield.  She was able to get a provisional teaching credential and started teaching kindergarten.  She reached her stride at Burton School, where she taught third grade for some time.  Eventually, she moved to the Porterville District.  She taught at Bartlett Junior High School and then Porterville High School, where she became a counselor.  She worked for many years as a counselor at Monache High School.  She is well remembered by many of her former counselees.

While teaching, Paula continued her education by taking classes at Porterville College and Fresno State.  She achieved a master’s degree after completing an arduous thesis

She also loved to travel.  Either on her own or traveling in a group, she traveled throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and North America.  She brought remembrances of her travel home and they adorned her home on the Westwood Street family farm.  Her commentaries on people and places were absorbing.

She loved the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  A piece she prepared about the Sierra Nevada’s was published in Times Magazine before World War II.  She traveled to the backcountry on horseback and always drank of the mountain spirit.  These memories she recounted often with great feeling and zeal, because they connected all of her family from the early years of beef herds grazing on mountain meadows, to her family’s many exploits along the Tule, Kaweah and Kern rivers, to the family cabin at Alpine.

Paula was a devoted member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Porterville.  She worked to help maintain the Fellowship facility, and in recognition for her work, the UU Fellowship dedicated a redwood tree to her.

Paula was devoted to her family, raising not only her children, but in many ways, her grandchildren.  She is remembered with great love and devotion by her son Karl and his wife Friedel; her son John and his wife Theresa; her grandchildren, EJ, Ruthie, PJ, John III; her nephews Bill, John, and Jim; her great-grandchildren Sierra, Sydney, Sian, Emma, Jacob, Tanner, Sarah, John IV, Robert, Joseph, and Sawyer; and her great-niece Laura Temple Lundin.

Our mother, grandmother, aunt was an inspiring and committed individual.  Though fiercely independent, she always built her family and worked to give them options and opportunities.  She wanted her family to excel and was involved with their achievements and victories.  They have sought the dreams she encouraged and they live around the U.S. and the world in Alaska, Africa, the Pacific Northwest and throughout Central California.  We love you and will miss you profoundly, profoundly, profoundly– Godspeed.

In Paula’s last letters, she requested a small funeral with family.  For those wishing to remember Paula, donations can be made to the Back Country Horseman of America at www.backcountryhorse.com.  Paula loved traveling the trails throughout the American Wilderness.