We lost my dear mother last week, unexpectedly but peacefully, just a few days shy of her 87th birthday. She wasn’t a Rice person especially, although she did enjoy a nice tale of academic futility and she once, hilariously, knitted me a blue and grey scarf for Christmas. For many years she owned a girl’s clothing store in the Chicago suburbs and working with her there provided me with my earliest lessons in human folly and how to meet it with a smile. (There’s nothing quite like managing a 13 year-old and her mother trying to choose a new fall wardrobe for insight into the dark struggles of humanity.)
Going through some of her things I was surprised to find a 1946 article from, I believe, the student newspaper of Nazareth Academy in La Grange, Illinois, where she attended high school. I’d never seen it before but in it I clearly recognized my own mom, the exact same person 70 years later:
To the very end, even with limited ability to talk, she had the nurses and doctors laughing. I will miss her terribly.
Norma Rae Flair. Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine on her.