Sunday, May 11, 2003

Need advice? Listen to these moms

By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Kathy Wade's mother, Jeanette Wade, gave the jazz singer confidence to pursue her career.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
| ZOOM |
Growing up, Mom's words seem to run through your head like a broken record:

"Always say, 'Thank you.' "

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

And the not-to-be-forgotten: "Always wear clean underwear in case you're in an accident."

But moms dispense some profound advice, too. For this Mother's Day, we asked Tristate personalities about the wisdom that's guided them in their lives.

For jazz singer Kathy Wade, it was the constant reassurance that "you can achieve anything you can believe." Her mother, Jeanette, a retired nurse, frequently would send cards with the message.

"It was like a little piece of strength that kept me going," says Wade, a Bond Hill resident who co-founded Learning Through Art Inc. in Over-the-Rhine.

Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken cites "sage wisdom" his mom gave him when he first took office in 1984: "She said, 'Duck.' "

Like most mothers, Eleanor Gully of Liberty Township tried to instill rules to follow in life into her four children. While her son, West Chester Township Administrator Dave Gully, remembers them, he admits he doesn't necessarily follow them.

"My mother always told me that I have a right to have an opinion, but I don't have a right to express it," the outspoken official says. But "nobody listens to their mother. Ask any mother. They will tell you."

"She always told me, 'Your children should be the most important thing in your life and should come before everything else.' " - Fancesco Matteini, Hyde Park

"She always said, 'Hitch your wagon to a star, sit tight and there you are.' She told me to have big dreams and big ideas and not give up. It's kind of a determination sort of thing." - Cynthia Williams, Mount Lookout

"My mother always said don't spoil your husband. My mother is now 93 and she would say the same thing today, and I have been married 40 years." - Mary Baskett, Madeira

"She has persistently emphasized the significance of values and giving tasks one's best efforts - aspirations I hope to encourage in my own children." - Wanda Kinzie, Symmes Township

"She always told us to carry ourselves accordingly and to have respect for others. She told us that we'd have to help her a lot, and she worked so hard for us. I thank her for everything she did for us." - Pete Snow, 63, says of his 92-year-old mother, Eula May, who raised seven children on her own after her husband died in 1962

That doesn't stop moms like Jane Bright of Montgomery from trying.

"Every time I walked out of the house or anytime my sister walked out of the house, we were told to be careful out there," says her son, Mason Schools superintendent Kevin Bright. "I tell (my children) to use good judgment. It's probably the same thing."

Jane Heimlich's advice is likely to get passed along through her son, Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich, whose wife, Rebecca, is expecting.

"My mother has an unwavering commitment to integrity," Heimlich says. "She has always encouraged me to tell it like it is and not fudge the facts or exaggerate. I don't claim to have met that standard, but it's something I aspire to."

Lessons from mom have guided Sheila Adams, president of the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati, in her life and career. Her mother, Goldie Thompson, died in 1988.

"She taught me to do my best, and that if I did my best in whatever it was, that would be good enough," Adams recalls. "It was those home values that have really helped to frame my personal life and my professional life."

The same rang true for Channel 9 news anchor Clyde Gray, whose mom, Theresa, lives in Nashville.

"She would say, 'If you have a choice, be the tablecloth, not the dishrag,' " Gray says. "Her point was that there are a lot of people who settle for the least they can get without shooting for the top of the mountain."

For Wayne "Box" Miller, a sports show producer and co-host on WDBZ-AM (1230), Mother's Day is always a tough go. His mother, Carla Miller, died in 1983.

"She always preached that no one is better than you - but that you are no better than anyone else," Miller says. "Maybe I'm in a meeting with a big wheel and I think about how that person isn't better than me. Or maybe I'm doing some charitable work and I realize that I'm no better than others. That lesson is a reminder about confidence. But it's a reminder about humility, too."

Butler County Prosecutor Robin Piper recalls many pieces of useful advice that his mother, Marge, shared with her three children.

"She is the silent strength that allows us to make changes and not be afraid - and I probably don't tell her enough," Piper says. "The only frustrating thing about my mother is she's always right."

As was the mother of Warren County Sheriff Tom Ariss, Agatha, whose advice hit home for him 34 years ago.

An Ohio state trooper at the time, he was rushed to the hospital emergency room after crashing his cruiser on patrol.

The nurses cut off his shirt and pulled off his pants to reveal the white boxers that refused to let go of a dirty oil stain, no matter how many times in the washer.

The nurse took one look at Ariss' shorts and said: "You didn't listen to your momma."

Reporters Kevin Aldridge, Cindi Andrews, Michael Clark, John Eckberg, Jennifer Edwards, Allen Howard, Sheila McLaughlin, James McNair, Janice Morse and Susan Vela contributed.


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