It is fitting that LaVerne Betty Vesely Budilovsky be honored in the Carrie Chapman Catt Plaza of Heroines at Iowa State University for she is a heroine in her own day.
She is my mother and I am so proud of her. She is a person of compassion beyond belief, always having the time to take care of others with a gift a card, a visit, or a warm meal. She never, NEVER forgets a birthday, anniversary, graduation, or any other special occasion. To her, everyone is special and she goes out of her way to acknowledge it and to ensure that others are remembered, especially those who are ill aged or lonely. And she always makes a young child's eyes light up with gifts and treats no matter how small. Her generosity is abundant.
LaVerne has always held a belief that holidays and family times should be special. Each holiday is celebrated with decorations and terrific meals. As a child, I remember that there was always someone coming to our home for a holiday dinner or birthday celebration. And the table would be set with special treats and favors. Family would crowd around the dining room table and pass bowls of wonderful food until we couldn't move anymore -- and laughter abounded. We would play games or look at family albums and exchange wonderful stories. LaVerne enjoyed listening to the aunts tell stories as much as they enjoyed telling them. And if the gatherings were too big for the dining room, everyone would party in the basement or the backyard weather permitting, which would be decorated with ghosts or balloons or streamers. There were never too many people.
As an adult now I can truly appreciate what LaVerne did to keep our family together in everyday ways. Dinner was always on the table at 5:30, the house was always clean, the clothes were always washed and ironed, the refrigerator was always full, and desserts were almost always homemade! Yet after dinner she would stop her work and sit with me to watch TV (especially the new programs in the fall), and we would consume large quantities of peanut butter cups or chocolate stars and raisins together. Or we would sit at the chord organ and she would play while I practiced for my vocal lessons. Some nights I know it was the last thing she wanted to do, but still she was committed to helping me achieve my goals. My mother has always been there for me, and now my own family. I don't know what we would do without her. She's wonderful and we love her dearly.