Today would have been my mother’s 80th Birthday.  She died 3 years ago, but I still miss her and had myself a nice little boo hoo fest this morning in her memory. I have so much I can and will share about her, but today I’m going to give you an excerpt from the story my father wrote for us children about my Mom.  It is in his words.  I hope you enjoy this insight into my mother’s life.

Mom with her twin brothers, Jerry & Jim

Phyllis Louise Mueller was born  August 25th 1931 in Saginaw Michigan. She was born to Jenny and Louis Mueller in a house on Alligan street which her father built just a couple years before. Both parents were from Hemlock Michigan which is a farming community just 15 miles west of Saginaw. Both parents made a choice not to pursue farming and that’s how they ended up in the city. 

Mom with her brothers

Jenny and Louis Mueller lived on Alligan (the house that Louis built} for 30 of their 40 years.  Their first-born was twin boys then came Phyllis and finally another boy. The four children grew up in that house. Attended South Intermediate grade and junior high than went to Arthur Hill.  As a good share of their growing up was during WWII it could be considered semi hard times but mostly children were not aware of it. The family was somewhat  dysfunctional as Louis drank too much especially on paydays and that put fear into the kids and marked them for life, One indication of this is all three of the boys made the military a career. Louis like to travel though and as a result there is not very many places in Michigan that they did not know first hand. They thought that the kids  needed to have farming training and thus sent them to live on one of the relatives places each summer after they had their tenting vacation a Houghton Lake.  Phyllis always was sent to Aunt Minnie’s and Uncle Richard’s as they never had any children and Richard fell in love with her. 

Mom with her brothers, Jerry, Jim & Bruce

In high school Phyllis did well as she is very intelligent.  She found the dating game and had her first experiences with guys. She also made friends with some of the girls and a few  she stayed in contact with her whole life.  Summer vacations at that time was tenting at Houghton lake where she sat pins at the local bowling alley.  She met a boy there that over the next few years became very serious. She would never say so but the family was sure that she loved that guy and reason of splitting was never defined.  Phyllis started having pen pals in high school.  This developed to a passion that she pursued forever. She had one pen pal {Desley} that lasted for forty years. A couple of her high school chums also became pen pals that stayed in contact with til the end. Their lives by the way led them to Alaska and North Dakota.

When Phyllis graduated from High School her first job was working at a dime store. As she never drove a car she had to bus to work. The pay was not as good as she needed it to be as she was very frustrated at home. Dad was drinking more and more and her mother just ignored it. She felt the need to move out so she looked for another job. The one she found was with a farm equipment supplier in Carrolllton (a suburb of Saginaw). With a better job Phyllis moved to a boarding house for girls. Her brothers were all in the military and she was getting all the grief on the home front so she left. The job of sales analyst was right up her alley and she did good at it. She also found some peace at the boarding house and made lasting friendships with most of the seven other girls. This is were Phyllis was on the first day of 1954 were one of the girls told her that she was having company from a high school Friend. This guy was in the Navy home on leave with a friend that’s home was in Texas. 

My Mom & Dad

Charlene’s friend happened to be Don Hoffman who fell in love with Phyllis the moment he saw her and by the end of the night was sure he could not live without her. They talked for a while than it was suggested they all go to a club. Six of us – two guys and four gals crowded into a smaller Chevy which made the trip very nice. Phyllis and Don spent the whole time talking to each other as if the others were not there. We always felt that a bond was made that day that ended up being strong enough to withstand all that life could muster and then some. This than was the beginning of our courtship and the end of a single existence. 

I hope you enjoyed my Dad’s words thus far.  I’m going to end the post with a few more pictures that I discovered in my research.  I know it doesn’t necessarily have the same fascination for you as it does for me, but I do love these old pictures.

I can only identify my mother and her brothers, not sure who the rest in the picture is.

My Mom and brothers - love the outfits!

My daughter has the exact same expression at times, I love that they are similar. This is my Mom, brothers, and some woman 🙂

Not sure why Mom is smack dab in the middle, but something is sure going on in this picture!

Mom's report card from 6th grade.. I have all her report cards. Her teachers never said anything but nice things about her.

She looks so thoroughly delighted in this picture

Mom pregnant with my brother

I have absolutely NO idea what they were doing in this photo, but I have to laugh every time I see it. I suspect they were trying to make some face, but maybe this is just their picture face? In any event, this is more like I remember her looking in my childhood (minus the goofy look).