The day set aside to honor mothers is almost here, and with it come the traditional offerings of flowers, cards and gifts to show appreciation for those who spend a good portion of their lives raising children. The day reserved for honoring mothers in the United States has its roots in the mid-1800s before the Civil War, when Ann Reeves Jarvis began groups that helped mothers care for their children. These were called Mothers’ Day Work Clubs. Eventually she coalesced the groups into a force for reconciliation between the country torn apart by the Civil War by founding Mothers’ Friendship Day in 1868, a day that was intended to facilitate healing after wartime.
“To revive the dormant filial love and gratitude we owe to those who gave us birth; to be a home tie for the absent; to obliterate family estrangement; to create a bond of brotherhood through the wearing of a floral badge; to make us better children by getting us closer to the hearts of our good mothers,” Jarvis said about the creation of that day.
After her death, her daughter, Anna Jarvis, took up the cause of honoring mothers for all they do, and urged children to wear white carnations in honor of their mothers.
It was on May 10, 1908, that Anna Jarvis saw her dream of a day to honor mothers become a reality at a service that was held at her mother’s Methodist Church in Grafton, W.V. That same Sunday, others attended the very first Mother’s Day event at a Wanamaker department store in Philadelphia, whose owner, John Wanamaker, financed that first celebration and others in several other cities and towns. It didn’t take long for the holiday that honors mothers to take hold across the United States.
“The white carnation of mother’s day breathes love and grateful appreciation,” wrote Pearl Saul in the June 1, 1912, edition of the San Francisco Call about the meaning of the flowers children were urged to wear.
By that year, many municipalities had declared the day a holiday, and Jarvis was well on her way to lobbying to make Mother’s Day a national holiday.
“Wear a carnation for Mother’s Day. At the solicitation of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the ministerial association of this city has voted to approve the observance of ‘Mother’s Day’ next Sunday. The white carnation is the ‘memory flower’ for the occasion, and everybody is asked to wear it at church and on the streets on that day. The day is now being generally observed in the East and in many European cities,” reported the Sacramento Union on May 11, 1911.
Eventually Jarvis’ efforts at national recognition took effect when President Woodrow Wilson signed the day into the calendar of nationally recognized holidays in 1914.
It didn’t take long before the holiday became a commercial success, as white carnations, candies and cards were sold to show mothers how much they were appreciated.
The greeting card giant, Hallmark, created and sold its first Mother’s Day cards in the early 1920s. Today, Mother’s Day cards are the company’s third-largest selling cards. Hallmark estimates that 118 million cards are exchanged for Mother’s Day each year.
Not only did cards sell well, but so did flowers and sweets, but that commercialization of the holiday didn’t sit well with Jarvis. She actively protested against the merchandizing until she died in 1948.
Despite its founder’s disdain for the product placement part of the day, Mother’s Day continued to be a boon for shops and it became a springboard for charities to raise funds for their causes.
“Through the efforts of the schoolchildren of this city, the Women’s Club and the schoolteachers, much money was raised for Mother’s Day by the sale of flowers, postal cards and Mother’s Day buttons. All of the workers entered into the spirit of the charity, and few of the townspeople escaped purchasing from the enthusiastic children,” reported the Los Angeles Herald on May 8, 1909.
Although the tradition of wearing white carnations to honor mothers seems to have gone by the wayside, flowers are still a big part of Mother’s Day celebrations.
“Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are our biggest holidays,” said Vicky McFall, founder and owner of Blooms and Things Florist in Angels Camp.
Flowers and gifts aren’t the only ways children recognize their mothers. Another way to celebrate is to take your mother on a special train ride. At Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, there are Mother’s Day train rides staged annually.
“We will be running trains on Mother’s Day at 10 a.m., noon, 1:30 and 3 p.m.,” said Karen Kling, an interpretive specialist. “We will have a special treat for Mothers (usually chocolate bars) until we run out.”
“We encourage families to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a day at the park,” Kling said of Mother’s Day opportunities at the park.
Another wonderful Mother’s Day destination is the Shenandoah Valley in Amador County. With its many award-winning wineries and relaxed way of being, the beautiful valley is a treat to visit anytime of the year. It is also home to a unique museum in Amador County, and arguably anywhere nearby. At the far end of the vine-carpeted valley, the Sobon Estate is the home to the Shenandoah Valley Museum, that’s partially housed in what was once the family home of the notable D’Agostini family that planted vineyards and made wines back in the mid-1800s. Today the whole winery is a historical landmark.
The winery was purchased in 1989 by Leon and Shirley Sobon, a couple who had already started Shenandoah Vineyards. They decided to open the museum in 1989, and since then have put together a collection that reflects the history of winemaking in rural California.
Like others who live an agricultural lifestyle, winery families often start out living on their properties with their homes near their vineyards. The museum gives visitors an up-close-and-personal view of what life on the family winery would have been like, with barrels stored under the house and a barn-sized building loaded with artifacts from every aspect of rural life. Artifacts have been gathered from many sources to fill the space where visitors take free self-guided tours.
On a visit to the property you can not only take a step back in time, but you can also taste the award-winning wines the Sobon family makes. On your way, stop by other area wineries to sample the best Amador County vintners have to offer.
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In Calaveras County, mom might enjoy wine tasting, too. Calaveras winemakers have almost as long a history as their brothers and sisters in Amador and wine tasting is still a growing business. And while most new visitors to the Murphys area stop by Ironstone Vineyards to visit the Alhambra Ballroom and tour the grounds, smaller properties welcome wine lovers with samples of reds and whites that win awards all over the country.
Mother’s Day brunch has become a staple of the day. Some children and their fathers endeavor to create home-cooked meals for the mothers of their houses, but if cooking isn’t part of dads’ usual accomplishments on the home front, families might head to a restaurant for a beautiful brunch and many area restaurants roll out the red carpet for moms on their special day.
For families that have been there and done that, perhaps mom might appreciate visiting the lions, tigers, bears and pachyderms at the ARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas, but mom will have to get her gift with a voucher from the family. That’s because the Performing Animal Welfare Society throws open the sanctuary’s gates from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 14, the weekend after Mother’s Day. The open house finds guests parking out front for shuttle bus rides to the enclosures that house the animals cared for at the 2,300-acre sanctuary the nonprofit runs. Tickets for the fundraiser are $50 for adults and $25 for those ages 60 and older and 12 and younger at pawsweb.org or call 745-2606.
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Tuolumne County is home to many waterfalls, which could make for a nice wander in the woods for mom and the rest of the family. Many trails in Hetch Hetchy give amazing views of waterfalls. The Wapama Falls Trail not only takes hikers to the base of the Wapama Falls, but in the spring, the trail passes two other waterfalls and this is a great place to see spring flowers. And, if you proceed past Wapama Falls, hikers get to see Rancheria Falls, too.
When it comes to waterfalls, Yosemite National Park instantly comes to mind. A trip to the park may be a trip that mother would like to make with the whole family.
With the waterfalls’ flows peaking in May, a family adventure to Yosemite can make for a great day trip in the Mother Lode.
Yosemite Falls is one of the world’s tallest waterfalls; it’s actually made up of three separate falls that flow into one another and can be seen from many places in the Yosemite Valley. If you don’t want to take the mile-long trail to the base of the falls, you can see it from Yosemite Village.
Other falls that can be seen from the road in Yosemite include Ribbon Fall, Horsetail Fall – which appears to be on fire as the sun sets – and perhaps one of the most well-known falls in the park, Bridalveil Fall, because it’s often the first waterfall that guests can see as they come into Yosemite Valley.
Flowers, train rides, elephants, museums and waterfalls – Mother’s Day in the Mother Lode can be more than just a day to honor your mother. It’s a great time to spend time enjoying each other’s company.
“Gov. (James) Gillett has issued a proclamation making May 9, Mother’s Day, as follows: Noting with great pleasure a growing custom in many states to honor the name of mother by setting aside a special day to pay tribute to the kind and loving hand that always has and always will guide mankind in the paths of right and truth, I hereby desire to call the attention of the citizenship of our great state to the fact that while I have no authority to issue a proclamation setting apart a day for this purpose, I request that the second Sunday in May be observed in all the churches of the state as Mother’s Day.”
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