#84 Love & Devotion
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Leona L. DeSimone
May 26, 2016 — February 13, 2001
LEONA L. DE SIMONE
Beloved Wife, Mother and Grandmother
1916 – 2001
This piece was originally published in February 2017 for the anniversary of the passing of my mother on February 13, 2001. It’s the perfect piece to send again for Mother’s Day, for I’m proud to introduce you to this incredible woman who brought up four young kids on her own after our father’s early death. She was always smiling (except when I heard her secretly crying as she counted pennies to feed her children). Happy Mother’s Day to everyone, for you are either a mother or you’ve had one.
Before I release AmperArt #100 with a big celebration later this year, I wanted to include in the first 100, two specially-numbered pieces of my artwork to honor my mom and dad, from whom I inherited my talent:
My father, to whom I will pay tribute with AmperArt #62, died at 62 years old on March 29, 1962. It will be released in March.
My mother, to whom I pay tribute with AmperArt #84 (she died at 84 years old on February 13, 2001), which is the AmperArt I release today.
We had huge hydrangea bushes in our front yard, and I always associate those flowers with my mom. They are soft and pastel (ours were a mix of pink, blue, white and purple), and big and round and cushiony looking. I was very pleased to find this beautiful artwork which depicted the exact colors of Mom’s hydrangeas.
I always called them big bulbous old-lady flowers; today I discovered the proper term (thanks to my friend JoAnn — I thought they were azaleas). As for “old lady,” we kids were fortunate our mother lived to a wonderful 84 years old, in pretty good health, too, all the way up until almost the very end. For the last several weeks we took turns staying with her and nursing her. One thing I will always cherish is the honor, although it was very embarrassing to my mom, to change her diapers, for that is what she did for me a long, long time ago.
Mom’s favorite color was deep cobalt-navy-indigo blue, so I chose that as the background to this piece of art. The typestyle is soft and friendly, but also a timeless face which expresses solidity and integrity. That’s what my mom was — nurturing, always smiling, but stern enough to bring her kids up as decent human beings. Well, most of us; I’m the eccentric black sheep. In fact I actually hated my mother because she wouldn’t allow Daddy to spoil me all the time. After our dad died when I was 10 and my brothers and sister were even younger, it didn’t take long for me to realize who was really keeping the family in line. I loved my dad dearly, but when I realized that his generous and spoiling nature was tamed by my down-to-earth mom, I gained a true respect and admiration for her. A different kind of love, one that is based on sensibility, love and devotion to her children.
The peach color in the lettering is the color of roses we, specifically my sister Roslyn, chose for her funeral. We expected perhaps 50 – 75 people, and over 200 showed up to pay their respects. Our mother touched so many people with her smile and kindness, people we never even knew, that it blew us away. How proud I felt for having such as special person as a mother that spread so much joy to strangers (well, strangers to her kids).
Mom always sang a lullaby to us that is still one of my favorite melodies. We had it played on the organ at her funeral. All Through the Night (the Welsh lullaby, not the Cindi Lauper hit). You can listen to it here, sung by Perry Como and the Ray Charles Singers in a TV broadcast from 1958, just around the era Mom would be singing it to all us children. Apparently it struck something deep in Perry Como too, as you’ll notice he wasn’t able to finish the song.
My brother Rob took that spectacular photo of her gravestone. The reflection of the tree and branches are meaningful. They’re like the strength and endurance that mom always had to withstand some tough times, making sure we kids grew up in a nurturing and loving home.
You left us one day before Valentine’s Day, so it’s fitting that I simply say ♥♥♥Mom, I love you.♥♥♥
Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at DesimoneDesign.com, my commercial graphic design website. It’s mostly about design, typography, printing, publishing & marketing, but on occasion I’ll divert to a sideways topic that just can’t escape my ranting & raving.
Production notes for #84 Love & Devotion:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Program: Adobe Illustrator
Font: Goudy Oldstyle
Ampersand: Goudy Oldstyle
Mom’s gravestone: Robert DeSimone
All Through the Night: The Perry Como Show / YouTube
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