|Honored by:||Sharon A. Baade|
|Brick location:||B:1 map|
I owe credit for my sound education to two institutions: one is Iowa State University and the other is my mother. Laura Kahlstorf Baade grew up the second of eight children in a loving, religious, farm family in northern Iowa. My grandparents were wealthy in the ways that matter: they loved God, raised gentle, intelligent children, and were respected by their friends and neighbors. My mother followed her heart and chose wisely, marrying my father Bill and together they began a life and family in Britt, Iowa.
Laura could have become anything. She chose to become an exceptional mother. With my father she knew the strength of a love that endured losing three of their five children.
Quiet, intelligent, and strong, my mother was a natural teacher. She taught my older sister and me to immerse ourselves in life by filling our childhood with simple adventures. Picnics in the woods were times to discover the names of birds and their calls. She propped us in front of the window to watch summer storms unfold. She surrounded us with aunts, uncles, and cousins who cushioned us in unconditional love. She taught us to be kind hearted by feeding hobos and winter birds. We learned by watching her lead Girl Scout troops, organize bake sales, and teach Sunday School that the most rewarding jobs are those with no salary.
From her we learned patience as she bandaged endless tomboy knees and endured our attempts at gardening in our very own plots ... mine always full of weeds, my sister's in neat rows. We learned to be creative by watching her turn bits of colored yarn into doll clothes and brown paper bags into magical Halloween costumes. We saw her pray at the beginning and end of each day, and knew the comfort of being included in her whispered conversations with God.
When she had raised us to adolescence, she went to work for the Hancock County Memorial Hospital. There she turned her greatest skill into a career, and for 22 years she cared for hundreds of newborns who spent their first days in her arms. Laura never traveled to Europe, graduated from college, authored a Broadway play, or joined the country club. She is special in the overwhelming success of her life and takes her rightful place among the other women heroines whose names surround us. Her achievement is that she bore two little girls and inspired them to become women of conviction, committed to their communities, and living lives that are testimony to her work. I feel truly blessed that she is my mother and that I have had this opportunity to share her with you.
Sharon A. Baade 7/1/96