It's good to be a Foot (or related to one).
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Margreate Foot

Here are some stories of and about my mom --if anyone has something they want to add, just let me know!

two of a kind

Here's one of my favorite pictures of Mom.  She was having some fun with this fountain of Chief Seattle, who she jokingly said must be her relative since they looked so much alike.  A lot of people mistakenly thought she was native indian.  Mom did have a darker complexion and beautiful hazel eyes.  She grew up on the Flathead Indian Reservation too so I guess it was an honest mistake...Kind of.  Hey, not all Norwegians are blonde, as Mom explained many a time!

Uncle Bob

This is my mom's brother, Bob. He was the last one living of Oscar and Orpha's children. My mom and Uncle Bob used to have strange yet wonderful conversations about eating roadkill. I guess it was a depression-era thing. I am not convinced either of them really ever ate any road kill. My mom used to say they were so poor they used to make chicken soup from the shadow of a chicken.

"Aunt" Helen Tipton

This is my mom's "other" sister, her best friend Helen. She died this past year, and we will all miss her. Here's a few short memories:  We used to go huckleberrying in the woods with her. She could smell bears better than anyone. When Helen said to leave a particular area of forest, we left. All of us, including Helen, used to laugh at her antics. One time she drove right though a fire on both sides of the road without noticing it. Or how about that crazy time she drove the wrong way on I-15? In more recent years, both she and my mom were online. As my brother quipped, "With these two crazy ladies on the information superhighway, I want to get off!"

My mom used to call us for dinner the regular way, something like "Supper time!" or "Dinner's ready!".  She got tired of having to repeatedly call us to get our lazy butts to the table. She said, "What do I have to do? Send out an invitation?"....And so was born the Invitation to Supper.  You have to sing-song it LOUDLY and it goes a little something like this:

"You are inVITed

To a DIN-ner

It's Hash, salad and green beans and apple sauce.

It's delicous, nutricious and good for you too."


My brother invited me to his barbeque like that just the other day. Probably centuries from now, Foot descendants will be screeching out dinner invites, thanks to my innovative mom!          

I wrote this the year following my mom's death: It has been a strange year without my mom. I have been sick recently with some kind of strange sinus/cold thing. It just keeps coming back.  I wished my mom was here to give me some advice, but then I remembered that back on the farm in Montana where I grew up she would give us kids "Sponzes" when we were that sick. "Sponzes" or maybe "Spoanzes"? was this awful, tar-based horse medicine. It tasted like tar--it was very hard to swallow. You knew you were sick when you actually asked for "Sponzes".  My parents kept it safe out of reach way above the refrigerator--like that we were actually going to try to drink the loathed swill when no one was looking was going to be a problem! 

Today, my brother Harold and I both live here in Long Beach (Los Angeles area). I said, "Bro, I wish Mom were here to give me some Sponzes."  He replied, "Dammit Pook, I guess I will have to drive to Bakersfield* to get you some." I almost laughed myself better!  You just can't beat those old farm remedies...or can you?

* Bakersfield is the nearest "cow town" around here. It's about 130 miles away.  

A good trick I learned from my mom: 

Mom had a lot of "old friends" she would look in on from time to time - visit with them and make sure they were ok. Sometimes she and we kids would do chores around their place they were not able to do or bring them berries and the like from our garden. They'd try to pay but mom would ask for more coffee, they'd turn their backs and then she'd slip the money back to us so we could put it in their winter coat pockets. She said that way they'd think it was just money they forgot.  Mom was pretty sneaky!  I loved that about her!


Mom's thing was if you had made enough dough for the pie crusts you might as well fill 'em up!  I think it was impossible for her to make just 1 or 2 pies at a time.


Mom enjoyed telling this story:

After she graduated from high school, Mom worked up on Big Mountain in a ski resort.  One day some Norwegian skiiers came in, one was named Helgi.  "Have you ever heard of a name like that?" he asked. "Try sister," Mom replied.  Upon learning her Norwegian last name, he bust out laughing.  You see, Mom's name means "swamp" in Norwegian.  "Swamp Girl" became her nickname to these guys.  They had been drinking heavily and started singing,

"Here we are like birds in the wildnerness

Birds in the wildnerness

Here we are like birds in the wilderness

Waiting for Swamp Girl to serve us"

They were have a great time ribbing her.  They found out about Swamp Girl next morning at the crack of dawn when she took a big metal pot  and banged it up and down the hallway screaming, "BREAKFAST!!!!!!!".  Hangovers and loud noises don't mix so they were not very happy...but Mom was!

mom in high school

"Swamp Girl"


Mom liked music, but she was no diva. We used to say when Mom sang a song it was uniquely her own; the words were generally correct but the tune was largely unrecognizable. She used to say that she looked and sounded like Bob Dylan! She was kind of right, but the singer that always reminds me of mom is June Carter Cash. I thought it was just me, but then someone else was with me watching a video of Johnny and June and they mentioned that June reminded them of my mom!  It's not the way she sang, but something in the mannerisms, I guess.  She also had these round sunglasses she would put on and claim to be John Lennon. My mom was a lot of fun.

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