I wanted to break away from wishing a happy birthday on this Mother’s Day to recognize a woman, who should probably have her photo next to the word “Mom” in the dictionary. She was certainly one of the most remarkable Mom’s in the history of Amsterdam.
My first real exposure to her Mom skills occurred in the late 1970’s when I was still the father of only two and I used to walk them down to the playground equipment that was then located at the Sirchia Park on Guy Park Avenue. I’d be working up a sweat alternating between pushing my five year old on a swing and making sure my crazy three-year-old hung onto the merry-go-round-thing and suddenly her station wagon would pull up. Out would pop about eight or nine kids and Joanne Davey. It reminded me of a mini D-Day invasion. Each little Davey knew exactly where they were headed in the playground and which other little Davey they were responsible for, while Joanne would take a seat on a nearby bench, from where she’d supervise them all, perhaps holding an infant and every once in a while calling out some sort of warning or instruction. She never yelled in anger or seemed flustered in any way. When it was time to go, she’d give some sort of verbal signal and magically, they’d all stop what they were doing, run up the steps back to Guy Park Ave, get back in their station wagon and disappear.
By the time her family was complete, Joanne had given birth to sixteen children, and since my four kids went to the same schools as her’s, I got to see many of them grow up. Her parenting skills were legendary. I remember the daily morning pandemonium in our household, getting just four kids through the bathroom, dressing, breakfast, don’t forget your lunch, homework check and get to school routines. Yet each Davey child showed up for school every morning looking like they stepped out of a Gap for Kids catalog. If you asked any of their teachers what sorts of students they were, you’d always hear…
The rest of Joanne Davey’s Mothers’ Day post will be published in the second editionof A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays, which will be available for sale right after Thanksgiving. To make sure you get your hands on one of the first copies, join my mailing list here.
The first edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays, which features my birthday posts for 320 current or former Amsterdam residents, is currently being sold at Liberty Fresh Market, on Route 30 in Amsterdam. You can also purchase it online here.