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Byline: The Register-Guard

There's a reason it's called motherly advice - and we could probably all use a little more of it.

On this Mother's Day, we decided to harness the collective wisdom of as many moms as we could reach. We turned to some of the best known daughters and sons in our midst and asked them to pass along whatever it was that their mothers passed along to them.

For some, it was a specific lesson from a childhood episode. For others, it was a simple adage that seemed to make more and more sense with each passing year.

So after you've called your mother today, told her how much you love her and how much you appreciate whatever pearls of wisdom she's given you, study the following compendium. Then go out and use what you've learned to make your mom proud.

Ann Aiken, judge, U.S. District Court

As a young adult with a brand-new college degree, Ann Aiken's mother, Barbara Aiken, moved West from Illinois on an adventure that ultimately taught her youngest daughter three things - get an education, go find your passion and raise your kids to do the same.

"She believed in education. She always let us be who we were. I could try something scary and she wasn't afraid for me. She was unconditionally supportive.

"She showed us being a parent is the most important job you're ever going to have."

Ernie Kent, coach, University

of Oregon men's basketball team

Ernie Kent figures he was in junior high or high school when his mother, Josie, gave him some choice words of advice.

"I forgot what the setting was, it was some emotional time period in my life, way back then, and I remember her saying: `A man is not a man unless he can shed some tears.'

"And that stuck with me forever, and I've used it with our guys and in retreats and everything else because I think it's so true with us men, particularly back then. ...

"My dad and a lot of dads back then were that old-school mentality that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

"You grow up with that type of mentality, and thinking that men aren't supposed to show that type of emotion or anything, so I'll never forget that, it stuck with me when she told me that. ...

"I just remember it was some emotional time in my life, and you were trying to bite that old lip and hold back and be that tough guy. ... And I'll never forget when that was told to me, and it's one of those things that's so true, especially in this day and age."

Kent's mother worked for a factory that made vacuum cleaner parts, in Rockford, Ill. She's 73 now and still walks five or six miles a day "as long as the snow stays off the ground."

Robert Lehner, Eugene police chief

Robert Lehner says his mother, Luise, told him and his three siblings as they were growing up, "Don't chain your feelings."

She said it so often, her children got tired of hearing it.

But the advice has proven useful for the chief, who left Tucson, Ariz., to take the helm in Eugene at the start of the year.

Acknowledging how strongly he feels about something helps him prioritize his own life and activities, and it's also helpful when listening to others, he says.

"When people are upset - or jazzed - about something and you are willing to receive and acknowledge the emotions involved, you can learn an awful lot about the issue or concern they're bringing forward.

"It's a matter of keeping all the antennae up, not just the ears."

And by the way, Lehner says: "I'm blessed to still have my mother and will be in Tucson on Mother's Day to tell her so."

Luise Lehner is 70.

Jim Torrey, Eugene mayor

Jim Torrey says his mother, Gertrude, was the "finest person and role model that anyone could have. She was a single mom and registered nurse who worked her backside off to make sure that I and my two younger brothers had a place to live."

Her best piece of advice?

` `James,' that's when she was being very serious, `Treat everyone as if they were you. That was her Golden Rule, and she lived it."

As a youngster in Grand Forks, N.D., Torrey was a bat boy for the city's minor league baseball team. In 1952, he befriended an African-American ballplayer.

One evening, Torrey, his mom, two of his friends and the ballplayer went to a restaurant to eat. The restaurant had a "No coloreds allowed" sign on the front door.

"My mother said, 'That is not right,' ' Torrey recalls. "And she got into a pretty violent discussion with the restaurant manager, who offered to set up a table for us in the back. She said no and we left. And we never ate there again either.

"My mother, my friends and the ballplayer and myself went to our house and had dinner. We had a good discussion about what happened at the restaurant, but I can still remember how bad that made all of us feel."

Walking out of the restaurant was an example of Gertrude Torrey's belief that "you have to treat people like you want to be treated yourself," he says.

Bev Smith, coach, UO women's basketball team

Bev Smith says her mother, Theresa, led by example.

"She just had a great sense of work ethic. She was a housewife, and if she was going to be a housewife she was going to be the best housewife and mother.

"She was thorough in all she did, and that was really an example to me. Sometimes you don't listen to your folks, but you watch them. I think just her hard work, and her unselfishness, still to this day is an example for me."

Theresa Smith is 79. She lives in Salmon Arm, B.C.

Kit Kesey, general manager, McDonald Theatre

Kit Kesey, the nephew of the late author Ken Kesey, says the advice his mother, Sue, gave him may have fallen on deaf ears. "Don't get into the music promotion business. And don't drive fast cars."

Kesey, who drives a sports car and is heavily involved in some of Eugene's biggest concert events, says his mom's advice was partly based on her personal experiences. The family produced some of the area's most memorable concerts including Grateful Dead shows at the Lane County Fairgrounds, the Oregon Country Fair and the Hult Center.

Sue Kesey is 65 (with attitude). She lives in Eugene.

Peter DeFazio, representative, U.S. Congress

Like all good sons, Peter DeFazio does what his mother tells him.

The congressman responded to the request for some motherly advice with the following statement:

"My mother always told me that it's better to read a book than to watch television."

Several days later, DeFazio spokeswoman Kristie Greco called to say that the congressman spoke with his mother, Dorothea, who lives in the Washington, D.C., area. He told her about his response, and his mother convinced him that, in fact, that wasn't the best advice she ever gave him.

"Peter talked to his mother and she asked for a correction from 'Read a book instead of watch TV' to 'Do what's in your heart,' ' said Greco, who added that fixing this "is important to Peter and it's important to his mother."

Dorothea DeFazio is 87. She lives in McLean, Va.

Steve Perry, lead singer,

Cherry Poppin' Daddies

Steve Perry's specialty is Daddies not mommies, but he says he's learned a lot from his mother, Marcia.

"My mother really taught me an appreciation for the arts. She dragged me to opera and talked about movies and took me to do things I wouldn't have done as a kid. It became a lifelong thing of mine to be in the arts."

Courage is another thing Perry took away from his mother, who is a cancer survivor. Although his mother doesn't have any handy adages or pithy words of wisdom, he says she leads by example.

"If she wanted to go do something she'd just go do it. If she wanted to go to England and my dad didn't want to go she'd go by herself."

Marcia Perry is 60. She lives in Woodburn.

Mary Ann Bearden, judge,

Lane County Circuit Court

Having endured the Depression in a small Texas town and having survived breast and lung cancer, Mary Ann Bearden's mother, Frances Beresford Bearden, is tough and incapable of self-pity. She has lost many friends and loved ones - including her husband, artist Ed Bearden - but continues to embrace her life and make new friends of all backgrounds, Mary Ann Bearden says.

Bearden says she's inspired by her mother's resilience, her constant study of the arts and her love of people.

"I had to get to high school before I realized not everyone in Texas had a house where people would come who were black, Mexican, gay, Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, Asian. All I need to do when looking for good advice is to follow her good example. She lives the way we all should live."

Frances Beresford Bearden is 80. She lives in Dallas, Texas.

Mike Bellotti, UO football coach

Mike Bellotti's mother, Carol, taught him a thing or two about anger management.

"I was very moody as a child, and there were times I'd be in bad moods and get mad, and she said `Don't stay mad, don't go to bed mad, try to get over it.' I thought that was good advice ... because it doesn't do you any good (to stay angry). My old thing was to shut that person out and give them the silent treatment, and that didn't work. It didn't solve anything."

Bellotti says that philosophy has helped him as a coach.

"There were times early in my coaching career where I would get very frustrated and upset with the situation, whether it was the inability to get something taught, or the inability to execute something. I would get mad and I would implode, in a sense; I would be very silent and angry and not communicate.

"And I realized after a while that that wasn't solving the problem. That didn't make me feel any better, it didn't make the players or coaches I was involved with feel any better. So what is required, when you get frustrated, is to find another way to communicate. Everything we do in my profession is communication. I tell my coaches don't yell too much - a certain amount of yelling is good, but repetitive yelling doesn't accomplish anything either. It might vent for you, but it doesn't make the young man feel any better."

Carol Bellotti is 73. She lives in Jackson, Calif.

Don Kahle, publisher, Wink

` `Never drink milk with fish.' I know this is the best piece of advice she ever gave me because I still don't understand it. It seems the longer I live before I get it, the more important her advice was, and that one's still ahead of me. She said it was an old wives' tale, and she always made fun of it, but she absolutely insisted. For me it's something that makes me realize I was raised by a human being who didn't just do whatever was the lead article in the women's magazine being sold at Wal-Mart."

Reporters Ed Russo, Bill Bishop, Paul Denison, Rebecca Nolan, David Steves, Greg Bolt, Lewis Taylor and Ron Bellamy compiled this information.


A few nuggets of motherly advice:

Gordon Smith, U.S. senator: "The best way to ruin a good story is to hear the other side."

Valerie Steele, DJ , KDUK-FM: "Treat other people the way that you would like to be treated by them."

Tony Corcoran, member, Oregon state Employment Appeals Board: "Give your child plenty of love and everything else will work out."

Dave Frohnmayer, president, University of Oregon: "Remember who you are and what you represent."


Peter DeFazio and his mother, Dorothea, stand at the Eugene bike bridge named after the congressman in October 2000. "A good quote from mom goes herey." - NAME HERE, NAME OF CHILD REFERENCE GOES HERE Ann Aiken, at the time about 10, sits with her mother, Barbara. Tony Corcoran sits with his mother, Thelma, in 2000. She died in February at age 87. Boldfaceand this is light text and this is more light text
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Title Annotation:Holidays; Daughters and sons share words of wisdom from their moms
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 9, 2004
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