Sunday, June 07, 2009


My father died thirty four years ago next July 15. My mother died last April.

So, there are legacies and there are legacies. One is the money one. My youngest brother has been the executor for my mom's estate which will be settled a little more than a year after her death. (That is not bad for Connecticut.)

When my dad died, he had been working for an insurance agency. He had a good amount of insurance which helped support many of my siblings with their college educations. (That is what he intended.) Since he died six weeks after my undergrad was done (and we even had a ceremony in his hospital room in Boston), I did not necessarily benefit. Of the eight of us, six have undergrad degrees, and three of us have a masters, with two of us with two masters. (When you factor in that of the eight of us, only three of us attended only one undergrad colleges, the numbers multiply. It was so much that my mother at one time said "Only stickers from where I went and where people are currently attending can go on the car windows! )

When I started college, my mother went back to work. After college was over for my youngest sibling, my mother used the remaining funds, along with what she earned, and what she had inherited from her in-laws and her parents to both live and to travel the world. She had great stories, adventures, photos, and souvenirs. Hey, she raised eight children, she deserved it! She always said "Don't count on any money, I plan to spend it all!"

My youngest brother, who had lived with my mother for several years, served as the executor of my mother's estate. I cannot have been easy. If my mother had died three years earlier, it would have been my job to deal with the issues.

This week I got my share of the estate. You know what? My mom came close to spending it all.

She had a good life. She made the world a better place. The town she lives in has already named a place after her (a vernal pool which the USGS has accepted). There are books in the local public library in her name (appropriate for younger Girl Scouts, a love of my mom).

So what have been their legacies (my mom and dad)?

Well, let's take a look. Eight children: one librarian (me), four teachers/non-profit workers (Peter, Sue, Beth, Helen), one entrepreneur in the environment (Paul), two managers (Meg, Thomas). There are almost nineteen grandchildren. Over half of them have already graduated from college. Some work in the non-profit sphere. Many of the ones who do not commit some of their time to non-profit efforts. The grandchildren include three Eagle Scouts (so far -- Jason is only 10-ish). Many of the girls have been Girl Scouts.

Money? Well, some of us are working with the local Community College to establish a scholarship fund in my mother's name, to allow a deserving student to continue education in Early Childhood Studies. Isn't that a legacy? In addition to whatever else happens.

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