Valentines Day 1998.  Joan Reppa.  I remember that day when we laid her body to rest and I placed a hand-woven heart I received from a German grandmother on her chest.  

The cold, Windy City of Chicago, the place she loved, dancing on the shoreline of Lake Michigan as the Lightning bounced off the water in nature’s spectacular show.  

She began her teaching career in primary school before relocating to Venice, California to teach for the public schools there.  She had been very fond of poetry, books, and education in general.  Our living room resembled a library with shelves full of classical works from a full range of authors.  Every summer she would encourage me to participate in our local library’s summer book club where I would surpass the goals set by the staff.  Winning the spelling bee in middle school would get me special recognition in the form of a personal letter from our elected representative for the Bakersfield district at the time, Phil Wyman. 


Her father ran for City Controller of East Chicago however died mysteriously under a doctor’s care before the Election Day.  Her mother would continue fighting for healthcare rights where her husband left off.  

She encouraged me to do the best I could, to overcome my physical and verbal limitations in pursuit of formal public education and then a higher university degree.  Achieving a Master of Arts in Public Policy; I not only accomplished for myself but did it to honor her legacy as a teacher.  

I only say this to emphasize the impact a mother’s life can have on a child.  Her influence and love for literature and politics pushed me further to ‘sharpen the saw’ on my own interest in English Literature and creative writing.  I would go on to write for a couple newspapers while running my own local campaign and helping to serve others run theirs. 

She was very spiritual; Catholic Christian and globally aware.  My parents would take us to monthly Filipino dinners at the local parish.  I remember we would be the only non-Filipinos there at times and I am so glad they were so embracing of other cultures than our own-introducing me to a new love for food, people, and traditions.

She also supported medical cannabis but retained her allegiance to the Republican Party of her upbringing.  She in many ways was very free-thinking but spiritually grounded in pragmatic thought.  But underneath it all she was a full-fledged dreamer like me.  The reason why I continue to pursue this dream as a writer; to finish the book she never got to complete; to keep her legacy alive through the written word.  

Forgive me mom if I am a bit profane at times or a little bit moody.  I just say what’s on my mind, just as you taught me.  I just miss you so freaking much.  It damn near breaks me most of the time. 

Screaming at God to help me out along the way; frustrated by this beautiful type of pain.  As that last Valentine’s Day I send you a dozen red roses your way.  
If there is a heaven and God is listening, tell him to send me a sign because I’ve been waiting by the phone so I could say I love you one more time. 

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As a proud graduate of California State University, Chico with an earned BA degree in International Relations, Master of Arts degree in Public Policy, and a past study abroad participant at the University of Tuebingen, education has always been up front and center in both our family and my professional career. My blogging project is an eclectic work in progress and intended to increase global awareness through selections and stories of my studies and travels. As future global citizens we can seek first to understand one another through word pictures and engage our collective creative intellects to change our community; one blog at a time.

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