Sat10252014

News

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

A flyer is being distributed across Los Altos that looks like it is from the Los Altos Town Crier but was neither created nor distributed by the community’s weekly newspaper. The flyer, pictured at right, is being distributed by workers from Pyrami...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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With all my heart

“I don’t care who started it!” my mother screamed at her four arguing children. “Don’t make me come in there.”

During my childhood, my mom had a litany of one-liners she’d yell at us to get her point across. There was, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride,” “Eat everything on your plate – children are starving in China” and, of course, her tried-and-true explanation for everything, “I just want the best for you.” But my favorite was, “I love you with all my heart.”

In the 1950s, I found her statement odd. What did love have to do with a fist-sized muscular organ responsible for pumping blood? Equating that mushy thing beating in her chest with how she felt about me was a little unsettling. Nonetheless, those words were etched into my mind and somehow made me feel safe.

As we became teenagers and young adults, the last thing she wrote on every card or said as we walked out the door was, “Remember, I love you with all my heart.” Not a day went by that I didn’t hear those endearing words.

Years passed. I too became a mother of four. I tried to follow her example of what it meant to be a good, moral woman. And just like her, I found myself repeating such “mommyisms” as “Life is unfair,” “Because I said so” and “One day you’ll thank me.” Strangely enough, I steered clear of her signature trademark.

Was I too cool to be so sappy? God knows I adore my children and gush over them ad nauseam. Perhaps I felt the words were a bit old-fashioned for this hip mom to say. But one moment changed everything.

From the time my mom turned 57, she suffered one excruciating ailment after another. Over the next 30 years, she survived on an arsenal of narcotics as each limb and organ disintegrated. Outside help was unheard of in the Madden family, so I was placed in charge of her medical care. There was nothing I could do to alleviate the constant pain of the most important woman in my life.

One day, in 2003, as she lay writhing in pain, I bent over to gently kiss her and fluff her pillow. I’m sure that my teary eyes made my inner sadness evident to her. Besides knowing our time was limited, my personal life was in ruins as I struggled through my divorce. My entire world was crumbling and she could see it.

Being the quintessential lioness whose first instinct is to protect her cub, she put her own pain aside. Pulling my 51-year-old body into her bed, she held me close, trying to soothe my aching heart.

“Jackie,” she whispered into my ear, “always remember, I love you with all my heart.”

In that moment, the intensity of those words reverberated in my soul. It suddenly became crystal clear: No matter how old we become, nothing in this world will ever compare to the love a mother has for her child.

A week later she was gone. Standing by her bed, holding her hand as she slipped away, I knew I’d never be loved again to the depth she had for me, and I wondered if my children really knew how much I loved them.

Now, when I bid my adult babies adieu, I lovingly call the same words my mother made so rich with meaning. I’m sure they think I’m weird, but I don’t worry. When they are parents, they will understand what it means to love with their whole heart – beautiful, unconditional and eternal.

Jackie Madden Haugh is a Los Altos resident.

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