This page last updated May 2005.
This is my feeble attempt at making a page for my mother, Anita Linnea Nellermoe-Matthews-VanBoven. She and her father are the two people that I respect most in the world. Mom was born July 25, 1937 and died January 7, 1992. She was truly one of the most remarkable people I've had the pleasure of knowing, and I'm not the only one who thought so highly of her. When my brother got married in Dallas, Texas in October 1999, his bestman gave a heartfelt toast about memories he had of my mother and what an influence she had been on so many people, even our friends.
Mom and Dad divorced when I was a toddler, sometime in 1970. My mother was left with two children under the age of 5, a house to pay for and keep up, and no source of income. But support us and take care of our house she did. She worked very hard, remarrying briefly when I was three or four to a man I don't even remember he was in our lives for so short a time. Other than that brief time, she raised us herself for close to sixteen years.
She worked in the wire and cable industry for close to 15 years, first working for Brand Rex and then Chester Cable. She worked her way from being a salesperson to a regional manager before retiring from the industry shortly after marrying my step-dad in 1986 to work with him in his printed circuit board business.
Whether it was my piano recitals, Bret's little league baseball games, my school talent shows and later when I was in band Mom was always there. I started taking piano when I was six years old, and the first recital of mine she ever missed was ten years later.
Mom provided a good example for both my brother and me when it came to working hard, morals, love, trust, and a religious foundation to base it all on. In fact, she used to bring me to her office on my day's off from school when I was about eight years old. I would type correspondence and envelopes for her as well as other general office tasks. She would order lunch from Don Moy's Chinese Restaurant and I would walk over to pick up the food. That restaurant no longer exists, the building is now a night club, a somewhat depressing thought when I drive by and remember all those trips across the parking lot.
Mom met Wayne VanBoven in September 1985, they had known one another for years through business but had never met socially until one evening she and I got into one of our infamous arguments and she went out for a while. She had been dating someone else at the time, but he was soon forgotten and Wayne became a permanent fixture around our house.
Our first Christmas with Wayne in our lives was a great one. Mom gained a fiancé, Bret and I gained a dad. Wayne never replaced our dad, but it was a different type of relationship. Wayne took us places and did things with us, something our father really didn't do. I have seen many Packers/Bears games over the years because of Wayne, as well as White Sox, Blackhawks and Bulls games. I learned how to snowmobile with him. He and Bret play racquetball and golf together. We couldn't have asked for a better gift.
On February 26, 1986, Mom became Mrs. Anita VanBoven. It was a small wedding at a Methodist Church in Itasca, Illinios with the six of us children, Wayne's mom and a few other people in attendance. Though Mom and Wayne had not quite six years together, I know that she finally had the life after 16 years of single parenthood she deserved. She was diagnosed with cancer in March of 1988 and Wayne had heart problems (including a heart attack in 1989 and bypass surgery in 1989 or 1991), but they had one another. I know that as much as Bret and I loved Mom it would have been difficult for either of us to care for her through her chemotherapy, radiation, and everything else she went through. So, I'm more than happy that Wayne was in our lives.
Mom has been dead for almost fifteen years now, and the adage of it getting better with time does not hold true. In fact, I believe I miss her more than I did then. The only thing that gets me through some days is knowing that she is up in heaven looking down on me and my children. She had 9-1/2 months with my daughter, Stephanie, and a more loved granddaughter I'm sure didn't exist. In fact, her last words to me were of Stephanie and how many teeth she had. I still meet and see people who talk about what a classy, upstanding person she was and it makes me proud that I'm her daughter. I know that I raise my children in the same fashion she raised us and I hope that my children will appreciate my efforts as much as I appreciate my mother's.
Our relationship most certainly wasn't peachy keen all the time. But who gets along with their parents every day? We had our share of problems when I was a teenager, but from the time I was dating Stephanie's father until she died our relationship had changed and when she died I considered her my friend. One of her good friends told me later that after Mom and I had had lunch one day she called Tad and told her that she finally had the relationship with me she had always wanted. I still cry when I think about those words, because they mean so much to me. I never had the chance to tell her how sorry I was for everything I did, but to know that she felt that makes me realize that she forgave me long before I was ready to forgive myself.
With the passing of Mother's Day 2005, I find myself grateful that my life was so positively influenced by the person I was lucky enough to call MOM. The fact that I am adopted makes me doubly grateful. I couldn't have handpicked a better mother for myself, and I told my biological mother that when we first started communicating a few years ago. I live too far away from where Mom was buried (north of Green Bay, Wisconsin), so I can no longer visit her gravesite and lay flowers on it like I used to. Stephanie and I used to make a day of the trip, drive up to Green Bay, have lunch, visit the Packers Hall of Fame, pick up flowers and visit the cemetery where Mom was laid to rest. Until I can get back there again, I just have my memories and my thoughts to cherish her with.
To see some pictures of Mom, please visit here.
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