My mother, Anne “Peaches” Hernon, is together again with my father after a 16 year separation. She passed away on Sunday afternoon. She was 86.
She was born in Wyoming before moving to Park City, UT where she met my dad. After highschool, my dad left for college, but returned to help with his dad’s business, then left again for Bremerton, WA and the shipyards. After my mom graduated, she moved to Salt Lake to attend beauty school.
My dad enlisted in the Army Air Corps shortly after Pearl Harbor and the two kept in touch while my dad served in the Pacific. They exchanged letters as well as photos. Some of the pinups my dad kept with him overseas are still in our family today.
After the war my dad returned and married my mom in December of 1945. By the following September, our family was started with my oldest sister, Barbara. I was the last of seven in 1966.
Being a product of the depression, my mom made a lot of my clothes. She made my jeans and shirts mostly. She always cooked. We hardly ever ate out for meals. If we did, it was always a special occasion. Meatloaf, liver and onions, homemade bread, pancakes, etc. And of course, the meal for special occasions was the T-Bone steak. Maybe that was more my dad’s preference then my moms.
I remember she used to make me drink cod-liver oil once a week. It was terrible. I learned to stand next to the kitchen window when she gave it to me so when she turned around I would throw it out the window and act like I drank it.
I liked teasing her when I was young as well. My best one was when she told me I couldn’t go over to a friends house and we got into an argument. I told her I was going anyway and ran out of the house, or so she thought. I actually threw the front door open and then hid behind the couch. She ran out onto the front porch screaming at me, “Richard J Hernon Jr, you get back in this house immediately!” I was laughing so hard. She didn’t find it very funny. I don’t know what the neighbors thought of this crazy woman yelling at no one from the front porch.
My mom and dad took me out to dinner the night I left for the Army, and they were both waiting for me at the airport the day I got back from Europe. Even though my flight was six hours late and didn’t arrive in Seattle till 3:00 am.
They always seemed to be available when I needed them and they never let me get away with anything if I had done wrong. My siblings may not agree completely with that, but they always seemed to hold me accountable in some way. At least I never felt like I got away with anything. When I got in trouble with the police, they dragged me into the station and made me answer for it. No trial, no attorney. I got sentenced to wash the fire engines at the local fire station for 5 hours. Okay, it wasn’t a major crime, but they made me feel like it.
After my father died in 1993, my mom held onto the house for a few years, but even with me living there and trying to help out, it was too much for her and she decided to sell it. With some help from my siblings, we convinced her to sell it to me. It wasn’t easy, but in the end she did it and Shelley and I still have the house today.
When I proposed to Shelley in 2002 the only two people we could reach to tell were Shelley’s grandmother and my mom. When I told my mom I asked Shelley to marry me she asked, “What did she say.” I told her Shelley said yes and my mom’s reply was, “Oh, thank God.” Thanks mom. I don’t think she ever thought the day would come. But it did.
It’s hard to believe it has been 16 years since our dad passed away. In that time my mom has welcomed two great-grandchildren into the family (a third is on the way) and watched/celebrated all her grandchildren graduate from high school and/or college. She watched her youngest child and two of her grand children get married. Course, she couldn’t always make it through the night, but she tried.
I really believe that my mom’s favorite past time these last years were her grand kids. I’ve heard stories about how one of her kids would try and get her to do something and she be stubborn about it, but send one of the grand kids and she would do whatever was asked. She never wanted to disappoint any of them.
My mom lived independently in an apartment in Seattle for the last eight years. No memorial is planned for the immediate future. Two of her grand children are on summer trips in Italy and biking across the United States. We’re going to wait till the whole family can be together, maybe late August or September? There’s no rush.
For now, this is my tribute and remembrance to her.
I’m going to miss my mom.