May 10, 2009 - Dorothy (Bauman) Freitag

Today I want to honor the memory of the one woman that has had the most influence in my life, whether I always liked it or not!  When I say “honor the memory” it is not because she is dead and gone, but because I truly mean that when I “remember” her I can do nothing else but honor her name.

Dorothy Violet (nee Bauman) Freitag was born on October 30, 1920 and gave birth to her first child, a daughter, at the age of 36.  By this time she was an accomplished teacher, holding a Master’s Degree in History from Pacific Lutheran University, and was as active as any young woman could be in her local LCMS congregation.  And she was my mother.

This is the woman who sang to me in my crib, over and over again, The Old Rugged Cross, until I wondered and pondered at what it was about that cross that was so important to her and ultimately to me too.  This is the woman who washed my hair in the bathroom sink and meticulously rolled it up in curlers every Saturday night so that I could look like Shirley Temple at church the next day.  This is woman who taught me to love books; who somehow made learning fun; who gave me a genuine thirst for knowledge. 

This is the woman who taught me that something holy was going on during the Eucharist, who spanked me or sent me out with dad to be spanked when I was naughty during worship services; who gave me milk-glass plates for my confirmation and expensive cut glass candle holders at my wedding shower.  

This is the woman who sewed her own wedding dress by hand and then altered it by hand twenty-nine years later so that I could “walk down the aisle” in the same dress.   This is the woman who taught me to wash and wipe the dishes from the time that I could stand on a little stool to reach the sink; who paid me a penny to wash and two pennies to dry; who embroidered the edges of all my dish towels, which I cherish and guard from destruction because they represent the loving labor of her hands. 

This is the woman who came to me, in Indiana or Scotland or England, to provide whatever help I might need after giving birth or having major surgery; who gently advised me on motherhood when I needed it, whether I asked for the advice or not.

This is the woman who can grow geraniums and violets from little slips in pots of water, when every plant that I touch dies.  This is the woman who makes the best homemade rolls in the world, takes them to church dinners, shares them with friends and neighbors, and sends them home in my suitcase with me, all without reminding me that I’ve never succeeded in making one good batch of rolls. 
This is the ONLY woman that can consistently beat me in a game of pinochle!

This is the woman who recovered from triple pneumonia while already in her 80s, and during the long recovery period read the Bible cover to cover and began to teach herself to play the piano.  This is the woman who, after that long road to recovery, joined the choir, completed an enitre Steven Ministry course, and is back to doing everything that she can at the church.  This is the woman who reads the newspaper every day and still cuts out and mails me the coupons for things she knows I will buy.  

THIS is the woman that I call mother.  I thank God for you, Dorothy Violet Freitag!