July 31'st 1928 / December 12'th, 2006

Barbara Joy Vargas, was born Barbara Joy Whiting in Marquette Michigan, on the thirty-first day of July - 1929 to Mr. and Mrs. Harold and Lydia Whiting.

It was there in Marquette, famous for it's breweries, churches, European ethnic heritages, and the University of Marquette, that Barbara Joy grew up and completed her education. 
Despite the hardships brought on by World War II and depression periods, her family remained strong and loving.

As Barbara grew into a young adult, her family and friends discovered she had quite a talent for singing along with radios and record albums. 
(remember record albums?) 
So with what amounted to allot of encouragement, Barbara began singing for some of the local big bands that were playing the bars and clubs of the area. 
It was during this time in her life while, taking a taxi from one of her performances,  Barbara met a young Puerto Rican immigrant student driving taxies in the evening to help pay for his attendance of the University of Marquette in the day. 
Love needed no more than that chance meeting. That same immigrant student would later graduate from Marquette University with an Engineering degree. He would then marry Barbara Joy and move out to California in 1954. 
Together beginning our family of seven (7) children. Four (4) girls and three (3) boys.

It's funny, but as I sit here today trying to express just what my mother means to me, and the aspects of my life she developed, the words come so fast I can't keep up with them. 
Think about it for just a moment. 
All the "things" that make up your "mother." 
The love (if you were as lucky as I was). 
The teaching of what was right and was wrong 
(if you were just lucky). 
The introduction and pathways steadily guiding to "who you are."
(Until you grew up and decided she no longer knew "who you were"). 
The pride she felt when you "did good", and the tears she never hid when you "did bad" 
(Oh, but how I tried to hide mine). 

How do you put into words, 
all that is your "mother". . .

Moments with my Mother:

When I was around 10 years of age, my father  
(an Electronic Engineer by profession) 
had ordered a "build it yourself", 21 inch, color TV-KIT. Every night after dinner, he would annex the kitchen table and work on the TV's construction until deep into the night. I can still smell the solder and plastic as he silently slaved away on the project. I can still hear the cursing when he fried one of the component tubes 
(remember tubes?) 
After two months of mental anguish, undocumented profanities and lots of tubes, the TV was at last completed! 
The whole family was called to the kitchen table for the unveiling. In those days, seven kids would spread out across the city. So it took time to gather everyone. Yet I was right there! Ready to glory vicariously in my father's accomplishment!
 With a pop and a fizzle, the TV came to life. 
(as to life as a pair of rabbit-ears will allow that is)
 My father was flush with pride in himself.
 My mother was equally pleased, though this was predicated more on the fact she would be getting her kitchen table back. 
We kids displayed our appreciation for his efforts by immediately arguing over who was going to get the TV in their room! (kids. . .)

The new TV was placed in the "play room" for all the kids to enjoy 
(this left the BIG TV available for private viewing by mom and dad. Hummmm.)

The one thing I loved most about that little TV, was that after everyone else had gone to bed, I could place it on a table at the foot of the couch and just tuck right in! 
I felt so special, to be able to lay down and just watch the TV! 
My father had walked into the play room late one night, and saw where I had placed the TV. He admonished me lightly, and explained that I should not treat the TV like that, because "something could happen." He asked me to put it back, and not move it again. 
(you can see where this is going can't you?)

About three weeks later, my father was sent away on a work related trip. The temptation to "enjoy" the little TV in the fashion I wanted was just to great. 
After everyone went to bed, I moved the little TV back onto the table at the foot of the couch once again. It was heaven revisited - until I fell asleep.
 The next thing I knew, I was awaked by a loud "CRASH" and "POP"! I sat up on the couch, startled. 
All my father's work! Smashed!
Pieces of the little TV were everywhere, even on the couch!

I began to script and replay my own execution over and over in my head. I'll never forget how I felt! 
Yes, I was scared. 
Yes, I was upset. 
Most of all however, I remember the feeling of disloyalty to my father. That I had stabbed him in the back. All his work was wasted. 
It was horrible, and one of the longest nights of my life 
(to that time - there have been some real due-zzies since then) 
There was only one thing left to do. 
Only one course of action that could stay my existence. 
"MOM!" . . .

After gently waking my mother, I tearfully recanted the whole story. I did the one thing she always told me to do when faced with such a frightening situation. 
I told her the truth. 
Now I want to let you, the reader, know right now. Capital punishment was practiced in our home! 
My mother is second only to Zorro in the use of a strap of leather. 
Yet were my father tended to be a bit "quick" with judgment, my mother was very slow. 
You actually had the time to "understand" why you should "get it" as you explained your side of the story to her.

My mother and I went back to the play room and began to clean up the mess. |
It was a miracle that none of my brothers or sisters were awakened by the incident. 
After the disaster was removed 
(only visually) 
my mother put me back in bed. Her last words of that early morning crashing louder in my head than  that of the little TV. 
"We will wait till your father gets home to talk about this." 

The next morning my mother explained to the kids, how she had "come into the playroom to check on me, and tripped on a toy. As she fell, she hit the little TV, knocking it to the floor." 
As the kids walked away form the announcement I can recall my sister saying "dad is going to be MAD!" 
I did not know what to say. My mother had just saved my life by doing the one thing she told me never to do at a time like that. 
Kind of confusing for a little guy, but that was her story, and she stuck to if for many years. 

How do you put into words, 
all that is your "mother". . .

One day, while the family was celebrating a holiday, 
(the exact one escapes me) 
my father and I were talking. Out of the blue he said to me, "Son. I need to know. What really happed to my TV?" 
All the feelings of that night came flooding back in waves. 
My eyes began to well up, and I know everything I was feeling was clearly visible on my face. 
As the silence stretched longer between us, I did the one thing I knew had to be done. 
Done for my mother, who bore the weight of my action, and for my father, who disserved an answer.
"Dad. Remember how you told me NOT to move the little TV to the foot of couch? 
Well. When you went on that trip, I moved it. 
As I slept I accidentally wiggled down to it, and kicked it over. It smashed into a mess of pieces.
 I am so sorry." 
I could see the hurt on his face. 
There was that disappointment that I knew my actions would cause. 
The silence stretched a bit longer, and then my father said, "I knew it. Deep inside, I knew it. 
I am not sure if I am more upset that your mother lied to me, 
(he had never asked ME about it until now) 
or if at myself for not being a person you could tell."
 That was the last ever mentioned about the little TV. But as I sat there, some four years after the actual incident, not only did I feel all the fear and disappointment of that night, but also all the LOVE and comfort I had received from my mother. 
That day I truly understood how much pain her lying to our family and our father actually brought upon her. 
Her sacrifice for me of that night. 

As it was so many years ago, 
it is still today writing about her.

How do you put into words, 
all that is your "mother". . .

Mom and I
on one of the happiest
days of my life.

My Mother's Obituary

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