Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day Mother Dazed

Or she would be if she were still alive today, according to plain talk in the Plain Dealer:

By John Horton

Anna Jarvis mothered Mother's Day a century ago. She fought tenaciously until her death to shield Mother's Day from "the hordes of money-schemers" that were hawking flowers, cards and candy.

Jarvis "is probably spinning in her grave," said Katharine Antolini, a board member and historian for the International Mother's Day Shrine, the church in Grafton, W.Va. "What we have today," said Antolini, who grew up in Cuyahoga Falls, "is not what Anna wanted."

Not even close.

Jarvis envisioned a day marked by hymns and prayers. She called for intimate family gatherings to "revive the dormant love and filial gratitude we owe to those who gave us birth." She wanted the focus and attention on a mother's devotion and sacrifice.

It didn't take long, however, before some merchant got the idea of tossing up a SALE sign.


But, hard as she tried, she could not stop the cash registers from ringing . . . and ringing . . . and ringing. Jarvis - who never had a child of her own - died bitter and destitute in 1948, her last days spent in a sanitarium.

Mother's Day spending on the 100th anniversary of the holiday is expected to reach $15.8 billion in the United States, according to the National Retail Federation. Consumers will spend an average of $138.63 doting on dear old mom during her special day.

Legend has it that florists, forever thankful for what Jarvis created, paid for her care.


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