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Aunt Eileen

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Jul. 30th, 2008 | 06:24 pm
location: Grand Junction, Colorado
music: Judy Collins, "Holly Ann"
posted by: laurielester in eileenpeterson

 We are so bummed and miss Eileen! We were hoping she would have a chance to come visit us after her surgery and see our new place, we know she would have loved it! And we really were hoping to make a trip out there to see her and get the "Eileen tour" of the East Coast some day, she would know all the best places to visit!!

Heather, your mom was so special, she was a kindred spirit to me! We had so many interests in common and I will never forget that she went out of her way to get signed Judy Collins CD's for me, she knew that Judy was an inspiration to me, and you know Eileen was an inspiration to so many people! She was just so loving and enthusiastic and caring and giving! I will always love her!

-Laurie (& David- your cousin...)

 

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heather_dusk

(no subject)

from: heather_dusk
date: Aug. 1st, 2008 02:27 am (UTC)
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"And we really were hoping to make a trip out there to see her and get the 'Eileen tour' of the East Coast some day, she would know all the best places to visit!!"

This undoubtedly would have been the case. :) She was always happy to show people round.

Thank you for coming by to post here. I hope that you and your family are doing well.

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Miss Eileen

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 5th, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
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I will always remember Eileen as "Miss Eileen", as will the hundreds of preschool children she cared for while working at Bright Beginnings (a family child care home for infants thru 5 located in Greenbelt) and at Kids' Club (a child care center for children 2 thru 12 years also located in Greenbelt.) I believe we worked together for 11 years.

I first met Miss Eileen while renting a video at the video store in the center of town. She was intelligent, kind, loved people and always had time to chat. I invited her to come work with me in my small, in home child care because I needed someone I could trust while I stepped away from my business from time to time. Before long she became a necessary "cog" in my life. When I went through a painful separation from my husband she was there to help me in so many ways. When I moved my home and business to Lastner Lane she joined the children and I there.

Ms. Eileen was a great storyteller and spent time each day singing and reading books to the children. She took them for walks in the neighborhood to explore old oak trees in the park, smell neighbors' flowers and to stop and talk with everyone they met along the way. These types of experiences don't happen enough in young children's lives and she always had time to slow down and enjoy the simple things with them.

I also remember Ms. Eileen's annual Halloween costumes! One year she came to the children's Halloween celebration dressed as a Christmas Tree! (I have pictures to prove it). She was comfortable being unique and encouraged others to laugh at themselves, follow their passions and never stop learning.

Ms. Eileen became active in the Prince George's Family Child Care Association and helped me produce a quarterly newsletter for the organization for many years. Her proof reading skills were fabulous.

When my husband and I opened a child care center on Lakecrest Circle in Greenbelt and later closed the family child care home Ms. Eileen agreed to take on the challenges of working in a new environment. As physical ailments began to make it difficult for her to do all the aspects of her job we found ways to continue she involvement in the center by having her work part time (always during story time).

When I moved to North Carolina in 2003 and sold the center in Greenbelt both she and her other coworker and friend, Ms. Catherine, continued to work at the center. I made many trips back to visit and always stopped in to check on both of them. When Ms. Eileen finally decided to retire from teaching I was happy to hear about her many activities during her "retirement". She kept me up-to-date about the happenings of Old Greenbelt and told me about her many chance meetings with boys and girls she had once taught in our child care centers. Whether we met for our stuffed potato and soup at Ruby Tuesdays or breakfast at Denny's she always loved to relive the many silly, loving and remarkable things the children had done.

I will miss her and hope my memories will help others see another side of Eileen they may not have been aware of. She was a world traveler and a college educated woman who chose to work with the young children of Greenbelt as her final career. Thank you for making that choice Ms. Eileen!

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heather_dusk

Re: Miss Eileen

from: heather_dusk
date: Aug. 17th, 2008 04:07 am (UTC)
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Thank you so much for giving such a full picture of my mother's work with you (and also for your e-mail, which I plan to respond to soon). I know that working in child care meant a lot to my mother, not only because she so often talked about how rewarding the work was, but also because I found so many child-care-related items amongst her papers.

I was amused by your account of my mother dressing up as a Christmas tree (she never told me about that) because, at my request, she helped me to make a number of eccentric costumes when I was young. One Halloween I was a television. Another year, I was supposed to take the role of some sort of flora or fauna in a school play. I stubbornly insisted that I must be a rainbow. My mother painstakingly cut out dozens of colored strips of paper and equally painstakingly glued them to a pantyhose background for me to wrap around my body. I found that costume among her belongings, shortly before her death.

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Fond memories from former neighbor

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 7th, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC)
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Heather,

I was really sorry to hear the news about your mom. You may remember that we lived just up the Court from you in #6, I think it was, and that your mom occasionally had me sit for you and your brother, an experience so…uh…remarkable, that I don't think I ever babysat for anyone else!

Anyway, your mom was quite a force of nature. She and another Greenbelt Democrat named Diane Crit played a huge part in moving me from being a teenage spectator of politics to actually volunteering for candidates. I remember being astonished in 1976 that she was a Carter supporter right from the outset, when every dyed-in-the-wool liberal I knew was for Mo Udall. She said to me, you know, I just think we need a change from all of this in-fighting and nastiness, and I think he's the guy. I couldn't quite bring myself to give up on Mo Udall in the primaries, but knowing that someone as smart and involved as your mom was OK with Carter made it a whole lot easier to close ranks that fall! And whatever else can be said about Carter, he did change the tone of politics, for a brief period.

Your mom and I stayed in touch a little over the years, and I saw her occasionally and talked to her on the phone every now and again. Always high energy, always into something surprising. She and my mom -- Elsie Freivogel was her name back when we were on Maplewood Court -- got together for lunch once a year or so, when my mother was back in town.

Your mom's determination to dive in and experience life was always inspiring, especially as she grew older. And I imagine you've heard from others that she was always bragging on you guys. I was very sorry to hear she's gone. I know this must be a hard time for you, and I hope you can take some comfort in knowing what an impact she had on life in Greenbelt and beyond.

Very fondly,

Matt Freeman

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heather_dusk

Re: Fond memories from former neighbor

from: heather_dusk
date: Aug. 17th, 2008 04:12 am (UTC)
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"your mom occasionally had me sit for you and your brother, an experience so…uh…remarkable, that I don't think I ever babysat for anyone else!"

Scarred you for life, did we? :)

Thank you for sharing your memories of my mother. I have only vague memories of her life in the 1970s; I knew that she was involved in Democratic activities, but that was about it.

I received your mother's note; if you read this before I get back to her, please do let her know that I'll be writing back soon.

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(no subject)

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 10th, 2008 06:03 pm (UTC)
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DEAR HEATHER AND DOUG,

KATHY INFORMED ME ABOUT YOUR MOTHER'S DEATH, HEATHER. I JUST WANTED TO SEND LOVE AND CONDOLENCES TO BOTH OF YOU. YOU ARE IN OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS. MAY GOD PUT HIS ARMS AROUND YOU AND GIVE YOU STRENGTH AND PEACE AT THIS SAD TIME.

LOVE!AUNT BARB AND UNCLE ART

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heather_dusk

(no subject)

from: heather_dusk
date: Aug. 17th, 2008 04:14 am (UTC)
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Doug and I would like to thank you so much for stopping by this blog. It's really kind of you to be thinking of us.

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