Share your memories of Mary Ann by Marcia

My mother, Mary Ann Harrison, was so many extraordinary things - loving mother and grandmother, devoted daughter, sister, cousin, friend, Dental Care provider, political activist and fundraiser, party planner and caterer, golfer, antique collector, community volunteer, traveler. bridge player, and hostess...She lived her life with gusto and glee, leaving her indelible mark everywhere she went. She was also a lover of stories and conversation; there was never a moment that couldn’t be made better with a good, long talk. She was the gregarious center of attention, and people were drawn to her in a very special way. Perfect strangers would tell “Big Red” their life’s stories, and she relished every detail. She also loved to tell tales from her own life. I learned the names of her childhood haunts and friends, ex boyfriends, old teachers and former colleagues as if they were characters in a favorite book. For my mother, sharing stories was a way of building community, confirming values, and laying the groundwork for life change.
I truly believe that someone, somewhere needs to hear your story to effect change in their life. Isak Dineson once said, “to be a person is to have a story to tell”. I hope that many of you, her family and friends, will use this blog to share stories and the memories you have of my mother.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Memories of Maryann by Sue Lemon


Years before I met Mary Ann, I had heard about her...about the wonderful golf tournaments she organized and and put on for the Sun Lakes Women’s Golf Club. We met several years later and judging from her stature and red hair, I asked if she might be the infamous “Big Red”. She said, “One in the same, but please just call me Mary Ann.” We soon became friends when she invited me to work on an election project for our mutual friend. Campaign manager was just one of her many hats, and one she enjoyed with skill and enthusiasm.

We spent many hours getting to know each other in the following years meeting over a meal or a milk shake just “wisiting” as she would say. I came to know Mary Ann’s most fascinating and full life and about her many interests and aptitudes. She was a wonderful friend, and there was never a dull moment while in her company. Her many stories were truly animate and entertaining.

Her love of antiquing took us to interesting places including a large antique store in Riverside and since the famous Mission Inn was just across the street, we could not pass the opportunity to lunch at their wonderful buffet. With her knowledge of the catering business, Mary Ann couldn’t resist the urge to critique their layout of food...and judged it to be an A. I think she enjoyed the experience.

The game of golf was an interest we both had in common. We sometimes played together and with my encouragement, she always seemed delighted to give me tips and show me specifics that worked for her. She insisted I try one of her “favorite irons” for chipping, and she was right, it worked for me, too. She was a great mentor and teacher, and needless to say, a much better golfer than I.

She had many personal attributes. She loved people and being social and enjoyed being involved. She always did good things for the community in which she lived, was an in charge person, and a wonderful leader and organizer. Because of her diverse experiences, she always offered good ideas. She spoke her truth which wasn’t always popular, but she always listened to other’s opinions. She said, “I may not agree with what a person says, but I will defend their right to say it.” Voltaire, I believe.

I loved Mary Ann for many reasons but especially for her sense of humor and her inner spirit and strength. Sometimes she would call and say, “Lets go rob a bank” which meant she was bored and wanted to do something exciting. She had that never-give-up fighting spirit and the ability to adjust and make the best of all situations.

Mary Ann leaves behind a legacy of love, family, and friends and while I will dearly miss her, I know she is safely in Heaven greeting old friends and making new ones. Perhaps one day she will welcome me, too.

Lovingly, Sue Lemon

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