Helen M. Pohlit
Born 01/19/1927; Died 09/16/2011; Buried 09/19, 2011
We’re here to celebrate the life of Helen Pohlit…wife, mother, daughter, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend.
A lot of nice things have been said about mom, and rightfully so. She was very giving, had a good sense of humor, great baker and cook, loving wife.
But I’m here to tell you how mean she was, especially to me.
Click Here for Steve Pohlit’s presentation at mom’s funeral
For example, my mother was a slave driver. As many of you know she used to make her own candy, especially around Christmas and Easter…all kinds of chocolate covered goodies. She used to buy these 10 lb. slabs of Hershey’s chocolate that was the main ingredient for these confections she made. In order to do that, she had to melt the candy. In order to melt the candy, she needed it to be cut down into manageable pieces so she could melt them in her stove top cauldron. So what does she do? She MAKES ME cut the chocolate into manageable sized pieces so she could do her dirty work. I had to slave over mounds of chocolate many times as a young boy…what a slave driver she was…best darn job any kid could ever think of!!!!
Yeah, my mother was mean. She used to preach about “Broadening my Horizons”. I’m like, what does that even mean? For example, she made me try liver & onions. She made me give good effort to cleaning my plate at supper time…she made me think of all the starving kids in India & China. I hated those kids in India & China. It wasn’t my fault they were starving. As I grew up, I learned that those were lessons in what she would call “broadening my horizons”. You can’t talk about anything unless you have tried it first. I’ve learned that it was a good lesson. I’ve tried passing it on to our children.
My mother was mean. She made me do things I didn’t want to do. For example, when I was in high school at Bishop McCort, I got a part-time after-school and weekends job as a bagger and clerk at Quaker Market on Osbourne St., now Bi-Lo I believe. It was Ok as a job but it was clear to me pretty early on that this was not the job of all jobs. I got home from school one day and it happened to be my day off from work. The phone rang and it was my boss. She needed me to come in to work because somebody called in sick. I made something up and told her I had stuff to do and couldn’t work that day. She stressed that she needed me but I said no.
My mom asked who was on the phone. I told her the story. She said I should call back and tell them I’ll be there shortly. I told mom I didn’t want to work…I needed a break. She said employers are looking for people that are dependable and trustworthy and I could be that person. Mom won that battle and I did call back and went to work that evening. They were very happy to see me. Over time, I turned into one of their best workers, was given more responsibility and was one of the people they could always depend on in a crisis. Mom was mean. She taught me how to be dependable and hard working. I have never been able to work any other way and have tried passing that trait on to our children. As I look at my children, I believe we have succeeded in doing so, thanks to mom being the way she was.
My mother was mean. She used to embarrass me all the time. For example, she loved to sing and had a beautiful voice. She sang in this church choir for many years. But she loved standing in her kitchen cooking, cleaning, baking, whatever…and inevitably she would be singing. I don’t mean La, La, la. I mean top of your lungs, don’t miss a note, and carry it forever, beautiful singing! Why was that bad? Well, very often I would be outside hanging out with friends, doing what kids do outside, and we could hear mom singing. For God’s sake, all the neighbors far and wide could hear her! Couldn’t she keep it down? It was so embarrassing. My friends would joke a little and so would I. But as a lover of music myself, in the back of my mind, I thought it was beautiful. I thought she was good enough to have a record contract. But I never told her that and certainly never mentioned that to my friends. But one on one, we would go through some of her record albums and she turned me on to Nat King Cole, Jim Reeves, Phil Harris, Mario Lanza, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Andy Williams and others. I played those records when nobody was around and developed an appreciation for music that you could sing to. My mother embarrassed me that way. And now she is carrying on in the BIG choir, carrying a tune and you can pick out her voice above others as always. My sister Kathy is probably embarrassed right now, and so proud I am sure.
I could use one more loud, top of your lungs, don’t miss a note, carry it forever, song from mom. That will have to wait. Right now she is busy singing in the BIG choir, and they are not embarrassed at all.
I Love You Mom. Rest in Peace.
PS Click Here for Steve Pohlit’s presentation at mom’s funeral