Betty Mische Retired: Yeah, right!



My 84 ½ year old Mom, Betty, retired this past Friday from Lunds.

A week from now she turns 85.

I honestly don’t know what she is going to do with her free time.

Those who know my Mom know that she usually begins every conversation with a new friend this way:

“Who are you?”

“What do you do?”

“Why are you here?”

“I have nine children.  Six boys and three girls.  I love them all the same.”

There are, of course, mild variations of this conversation.  Sometimes she will throw in how many grandchildren she has.  And, with the recent addition of a new great grandchild she will also update her new friends with that knowledge about who she is and what she believes to be important about her life.

My Mom lives next door to us.  As in literally next door.

My children have been fortunate to grow up to “Grandma from Next Door” – and, to be honest, I am 100% certain my son doesn’t know she actually has a name – and there’s a 75% chance that my daughter may remember that her preferred name is “Betty.”

My brothers and sisters have had a variety of names for her through the years.



Mother, mother, mother, mother mother!

Betty Baby. 

Betty Andretti.

There’s few people that come in and out of Lunds on Ford Parkway that don’t find themselves engaged by my Mom – or some might suggest, cornered by her.

There’s no hint of malice my Mom exhibits when she engages with people around her in this life.

She is truly curious about who people are, what they do and why they do what they do.

As she has gotten slightly older through the years there may be a few boundaries that she ignores in interrogating, I mean, inquiring those she meets.

It’s hard to not talk to my Mom.  She is clever, quick, smart, sassy and more than a bit mischievous.

I will say this about my Mom – you have to try pretty hard not to like her.

It is possible she could annoy you – just a little bit – but to not like my Mom pretty much means you don’t like your life.

Which, if that is the case, you should try to spend more time with my Mom.

Since my Dad passed away in 1997 my Mom has had a Second Act in her life.

While I have no doubt my Mom loved my Dad very much I also know that my Mom has not spent those 20 years without my Dad waiting for another man to come along.

She didn’t wait for something to happen.

She simply made life – happen.

She has a lovely yard.  Her home is warm and welcoming.

She still waves at me from her side window – and I can still see her black hair pop over above the fence line when she is out inspecting her plantings.

There are horrifying mornings when she walks around outside in her robe followed by a big wave of her hand when she sees us staring at her – wishing she wouldn’t walk outside in her robe.

She doesn’t care.  Except I suspect she is quietly giggling that she just mortified my wife, me and our two children.

Betty Mische retired this week.  I don’t know that she knows what that means.  Her calendar is already booked with coffee and lunch and plays and assorted other things she is going to do in the days, weeks and months ahead.

At an event hosted by a neighbor last night she moved with ease among the dozens of quests – including embracing a former United States Senator she has known for years – and making new friends with strangers who found her inquisitive nature both charming and uncomfortably close.

I watched her closely as she stalked her prey.

When a baby my daughter, who had big, big brown eyes (like her grandmother) would grab a strangers attention by making sure she made eye contact with them.

Once eye contact was made she would keep it – and then from her face would come the most captivating smile that would force the recipient of that smile to join her in lighting up the room.

My mom does the same thing.

She doesn’t stalk with her head down.

She stalks with her eyes wide open.

And, if you happen to make eye contact she will walk up to you, grab your hand and begin the conversation with:

“Who are you?”

“What do you do?”

“Why are you here?”

“I have nine children.  Six boys and three girls.  I love them all the same.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s