Thursday, January 26, 2017

She mothered eleven!

With apologies to poet Edgar Guest, "She mothered eleven! From her they learned that in the world outside are cruelty and vice and selfishness and pride. From her they learned the wrongs they ought to shun; what things to love; what work must still be done. Somewhere this mother toils and is alive, no more as one, but in the hearts of eleven." This describes Isabelle "Sis" Lennon, some of whose children sang on the weekly Lawrence Welk show for 13 years beginning in 1955. Just as they prepared to "graduate" from the Welk show to their own variety program, a delusional man who had stalked the family murdered their dad.  Their father was only 53, and all were crushed by his loss.

Later, they agreed that, in moments of total despair, their mother was the glue that held them all together. Eventually they returned to show business, touring the nation with Andy Williams, and a few Lennon Sisters (now grandmothers) are still singing today. What restored their faith and joy after their father's murder? They weren't sure until their mom passed away in 2005. After her funeral, all eleven children met to share recollections of her. Peggy, one of the original Lennon Sisters, said they discovered something very special that afternoon. "As we reminisced, we suddenly realized that each one of us assumed we were mom's favorite," she said. "That's how she made us all feel." Thank you, Sis Lennon, for your example of impartial, unwavering mother love.

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