Matt Linton’s Recollections on Mom

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Mom and Matt dancing together at Matt and Liz's wedding

Here’s the talk that my older brother, Matt Linton, gave at mom’s memorial service yesterday.

Matt Linton’s sharing about Marge Linton
8/6/2011 Tustin Presbyterian Church

I am going to share a few personal stories of my mom so that you can get a sense of who she was and what she meant to me.

My mother sacrificed for us. My mom loved all of us children equally all though we would often accuse her of loving Fletcher more. My mom would tease us and say I should have raised chinchillas.

My dad was a manic-depressive alcoholic. She thought that if she just loved my dad enough that he would change. Alas my father Peter did not change. She choose us children over her husband.

My mom protected us. My dad would come home drunk and want to watch TV. My mom would say let’s go for a ride in the car. I would say where are we going? She said we going for a ride.

It might seem like an easy decision to leave a manic-depressive alcoholic spouse but it was not that simple.

My mom showed a great deal of courage and perseverance to raise us children alone. She went back to school to finish her library science degree. She worked two or three jobs to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. Not an easy task with hungry four teenagers. We would call our Mom at work and get her in trouble with her boss. We would say “Joe’s acting like Hitler – he will not let us watch our favorite TV show.”

Forgive me mom for calling you at work; I am sorry. Joe is a great person now.

My lovely and caring wife is a great support to me and my family. I have two children and Lord knows they can test my patience. It must have been difficult to raise four of us on her own.  I am sure we gave her a few grey hairs along the way.  

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

My mother cared what we thought about what we filled our minds with. She limited TV viewing to one hour a week per person. She would not let us play with guns. She took us to plays, museums, parks. She enlightened us.

My mother raised us right; took us to this church. I do not think she was particular spiritual but she saw the value of us going to church. I think it is a great testament to her that we each grew up to be productive members of society. We each went to college. We love our brothers and sister. None of us ever spent time in jail, at least not for very long.

One of my moms proudest moments was when Fletcher graduated from college. After high school Fletcher bounced around from community college to community college kind of drifting. He moved up north an entered Cuesta College and then got accepted to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He made the honor roll at Cal Poly. He came home and said to my mom “You were right – all those things you told me are true! If you attend class, read the text-book, do your homework you can really learn and succeed.” 

It is probably against the law, but I want to sprinkle some of my mom’s ashes at the Huntington Library, specifically the cactus garden. She loved to visit the Huntington Library and tour the gardens. She loved to sit on a bench and admire God’s creation.

My mom is who I am today. Her legacy lives through us.
I believe that her good friend Michael and extended family and her grandchildren gave her a purpose to live.

My mom would come over to my house and give my wife and I a date night. I always thought it was a win-win proposition. Mom got to visit with he grandkids and we got a dinner and movie. My mom always told me how special my children are.

My mom had a quiet personal faith. She attended this church. She would say “I will pray for you. I believe in God and Jesus.” The older she got the more she warmed up to Christian  ideals.

When I was dating my wife I took her to Christmas at the Gastil [that’s our sister Liz Linton Gastil – note for the uninitiated – both our sister and Matt’s wife are named “Liz”] house. My wife was a little nervous about meeting the whole Linton Clan. My mom came up to my Liz and said, “Liz you are my Christmas present”. My wife melted and felt instantly connected and proud to be a part of the family.

So If you want to feel my mom’s presence

Take a courageous stand.

Go see a play.

Read a book.

Listen to some classical music.

Spend some time loving friends and family.

Love your children and grandchildren.

Have some tortilla soup at Rutabegorz.

Visit a garden, library or museum.

And if your really want to feel my mom’s spirit, wander off the path at the cactus garden in the Huntington Library and you might even take a little bit of my mom home with you.

We love you mom. May God bless you and keep you.

I will very briefly add that Matt’s actual speech was even better in person. He has a somewhat understated, warm and kind of dry, droll delivery. When he mentions nonchalantly depositing a bit of mom’s ashes at the Huntington Library cactus gardens, he gestured putting his hands in his pants pockets and shaking his pants a bit.

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One Response to “Matt Linton’s Recollections on Mom”

  1. Grace Gerhardt Says:

    Dear Matt and the entire Linton family,

    I am so sorry to learn of Marge’s passing. I will always remember her as a kind, loving person. Her family meant everything to her. Bill always looked forward to her visits. They would talk and laugh about all the good times they had growing up together.

    I know you will all miss her very much, but you have so many fond memories …treasure them.

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