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Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 02:56 am

ESTRELLA NINA CELORIO LONG

Nov. 8, 1930 – Feb. 2, 2012

My mother was born in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba, and came to the United States in her early teens. She immediately fell in love with America, and was determined to make a better life for herself here. She met my father, married and was on her way to raising three children.

The family moved often, searching for and one might argue finding the American dream. Success was abundant, and so were the challenges. Mom was in charge of locating the best churches, schools and community resources in each new town, and getting to know the neighbors in her own special way, usually involving baked goods and her trademark Cuban dinners.

She earned her master’s degree, and began substitute teaching. She became an official American citizen. She enrolled her children in piano classes, swimming lessons and sports. She hosted birthday parties. She became a den mother. She became an officer and president of such groups as the PEO, Garden Club and Book Club.

She believed in helping those “less fortunate than us” even if it was inconvenient. She showed us how to deal with people who didn’t like her with grace, charm and dignity. “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” she would say. She was unflappable in a crisis, and would not tolerate self-pity or whining in her children. She taught us how to survive.

I learned a lot from her, especially after I had my son seven years ago. Suddenly I understood ... “I’m so sorry, Mom,” I said to her. She simply smiled, laughed (a little too long and loud I thought) and said, “Now you will know both the joy and the pain of being a parent.” I miss her dearly. I love you Mom!
–Carl Long, son
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