Louise Hirschfeld was my Mom, who passed away almost ten years ago. Born and raised on a farm in a tiny central Texas town, she had a tough childhood mainly due to illness. In due time she met the man from Belize who'd become my Dad, and she gave him four sons in Texas and Louisiana. Then during World War II he sent us all to live in Massachusetts. Mom hated it, yet lived the rest of her life north of Boston. But I'd ask her to tell me stories (I was the last of the brood), and she'd tell me about farm life, about meeting up with a rattlesnake, picking cotton, coming down with diphtheria and having to drop out of school forever in the eighth grade. She talked about the sun and the heat, and how she loved bluebonnets and rain--to her dying day, she always loved an old-fashioned downpour. She talked about getting her first job as a telephone operator, where a supervisor looked down on her and challenged her to spell "Albuquerque." Mom proudly recounted spelling it perfectly. Years later as she lay dying in ICU, my wife and I inquired about her comfort. "I'm not doing that well," she said. -- Pause -- "But I can still spell Albuquerque." And then one last time, slowly, she did.