Because My Sister Asked

December 4, 2021…..
Remembering my mother, who came into this world 100 years ago today. 100% Sicilian, first generation American, she was born Serafina Crimando and called ‘Sarah’ in order to blend in, which was very important to my immigrant grandparents.
Sarah was a map-maker and a game-changer in her own right. First in her family lineage to graduate college and earn a master’s degree, she became a teacher for the Detroit Board of Education at the age of 20, after being double-promoted twice in her young years. Small in stature yet mighty in spirit, mom worked at some of the roughest inner city high schools and loved every minute of it. After many years of teaching she became a revered guidance counselor, later finishing her 45 year career as a director of a cutting edge vocational/technical center.
Sarah was a leader, a challenger, a woman of integrity who spoke her mind. She was a letter-to-the-editor kind of gal and a mighty advocate for justice and inclusion. She was a champion in every sense of the word, and generous to a fault. My mother came here to shine, to give and serve, and that she did. She also came to have a hell of a lot of fun and adventure….. she filled her 72 years to the brim and overflowing with passionate goodness and deep fulfillment.
I love this photo of her, taken at age 23…. before she met my father, the richest expressions of her futures tucked neatly in the private world of her dreams. I’m so happy for how I’ve come to know her, how we’ve grown closer in the 28 years since she passed. She’s with me in all of my moments, large and small, just a breath away.
In this moment, my heart swells yet again with admiration and gratitude for the amazing human that Serafina was, and all the ways her legacy lives on today. My sister by marriage, Ruth said it best this morning….. “Wife, mother, daughter, sister, grandmother, aunt, friend, neighbor, teacher, counselor, glass ceiling-breaker, wise, beautiful, missed, loved.”
Thanking my extremely lucky stars for you always, Mom.
© 2021 Gail Barrie

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