Oct 7, 2008


You've already met Dad. Here's Mom. Vaceila Helen Loukos Rich. Mom would have been 75 years old today. Seems impossible to imagine, since she was only 54 when she passed away.

Her "real" name was Sig. People who knew her never even realized that she had another name...she was Sig at work and at home and on her driver's license and checks. Chrissy and I never knew how she got that name until Uncle Connie told us that he was the one that gave it to her when he was little. (He's her baby brother). Apparently, he couldn't say Vaceila, so what came out was Sig. And Sig it was her whole life.

Mom was the middle girl in a family of three boys and three girls. She was born and raised in Lima, Ohio and according to her school yearbooks, was quite the girl about town. She graduated from high school and went to work for City Loan and Savings, and I think she was eventually Secretary to the President.

Mom had the uncanny ability to be the most elegant and classy lady in the room while keeping her warmth and great sense of humor. She could talk to anybody...from Westinghouse CEO's to the kid next door. She had a way of making you feel special and important and that you were the only thing that mattered to her at the moment.

She was smart and the most generous person you'd ever meet. She was fun and creative and organized and loving and careful with other people's hearts. She could be ornery too, and would sometimes put her hands on her hips and say "I's de boss and you's the bossie" whenever Chrissy or I would try her patience. She didn't yell, but she could pack a mean wooden spoon if she had to. The only time she ever "spanked" me was when I was seventeen years old and came home after curfew. She waited until I was at the top of the staircase to show me that I was never too big to be taught respect. I quickly found myself at the bottom of the staircase feeling like a schmuck for getting my butt kicked by a 5 foot 2 inch woman wearing a robe.

Mom grew Boston ferns on the front porch of our Lima house, and every year she gave them away to folks who had stopped by to admire them. She loved to work in the yard and always did so in jeans and a long sleeved shirt no matter how hot it was outside. She didn't like the sun and I don't think I ever saw her in a bathing suit (despite the fact that she had a great figure and "knockout" legs).

When Mom met Dad she said she knew that he was "the one" on the night of their first date. She said that she was looking out the window of the car thinking about what a nice guy he was and was wondering if he would ask her out again, when Dad said "Yes". "Yes what?" from Mom was answered by a "Yes, I'm going to ask you out again" from Dad and she figured he had read her mind.

She was an amazing wife and mother and homemaker and friend. She was also an artist and an avid needlepointer. Mom did needlepoint canvases on penelope canvas using the sewing method and every single stitch was perfect. Chrissy and I have most of her pieces and we look at them and treasure them every day. Mom may have been a beautiful stitcher, but she couldn't sew a button on to save her life. Both Chrissy and I remember Mom standing at the ironing table with our school uniforms and a roll of "stitch witch" cursing up a storm.

Mom could make a sandwich like nobody else, and she was famous for her Siggie Specials on Thanksgiving.....turkey, celery sticks, salt, pepper, and mayo on Pepperidge Farm white bread. No matter how stuffed you were after dinner, you just HAD to have a Siggie Special.

We moved a lot when we were kids, yet neither Chrissy nor I can ever remember a box or packing paper in a house for more and ten minutes after we arrived. Mom had a way of moving us into a new home in such a way that you thought you had lived there your whole life. There was never chaos or a mess, and by the time the truck had pulled out of the driveway the pictures were on the walls and the fridge was stocked.

Our beautiful, amazing, fantastic, funny, smart, generous Mom died on November 12, 1987 from colon cancer. She never complained or cried or bitched about the fact that she got it...she just put on her lipstick and got through it the best way she knew how.

Happy Birthday, our sweet Siggie. We miss you more than life itself and we want the world to know how special you were to everybody who knew you.


  1. What a lovely tribute to your Mother! There is a lot to be said of the women of the past generations...while some women of today beat their brains out trying to "level the playing field" it is great to hear stories of women who were real women and did spectacular jobs raising their families, keeping their homes and perhaps working outside the home too. The genteel ladies of the recent past are the ones I respect, admire and try to model myself after, because that is how I want to be remembered, just like you remember you Mom and her special sandwiches, her backbone, grace and sense of humor. She's smiling down on you today!
    Happy Birthday Sig! You raised a couple of wonderful daughters :O)

  2. That's such a great tribute to your mom! You can bet she'd be very, very proud of you. And how lucky you are to have had such a wonderful lady to call Mom.

  3. What a wonderful tribute to your Mom !

  4. What a beautiful tribute to your Mom. She sounds like a lady we all would have loved to have sat and stitched with and called friend. Hugs to you and Chrissy. :)

  5. AWWWWWWWWW...what a wonderful tribute to your mom...she sure sounds like she was an amazing woman!...and pretty to boot! My mom died in 1995 and I miss her everyday!
    you were blessed to have such wonderful parents!
    Happy stitching!

  6. Thank you for sharing your memories, they are wonderful!


  7. You obviously really loved your Mum and your touching tribute has brought a genuine tear to my eye.

    Happy Birthday Sig!

  8. What a loving and lovely tribute to your mum.

  9. A day late, but Happy Birthday to your mom! What a lovely post about her...she sounds like a wonderful lady.

  10. What a beautiful tribute to your mother! My jaded eyes are rarely misty, but this posting touched my heart. I buried my mother almost four years ago when she was only 51.