My Mom

This is the anniversary of the passing of my Mother Elizabeth Anne Grout, known to her family and friends as Bette. Her maiden name was Bette Thoren. When my Dad married her they said he “got stuck on a thorn,” But more about that later.  I don’t mean for this to be a sad post but more as a celebration of her life. I admire both my parents. My Mom was born and raised in Missouri Valley, Iowa in the western part of the state not far from Omaha & Council Bluffs. My Mom was working for the local paper, The Missouri Valley Times, as World War 2 got started. It was rare, back then, that a woman would be editor of a local paper. However, the publisher of the paper was in a pinch as most of the guys who qualified for the job of editor were off to war. He knew my Mom was qualified for the job and put her to work as the first female editor of the paper. One of the stories she told me about being editor was that the Omaha World Herald wanted her to be a stringer once. This job entailed hiding in a barrel listening in to a private conversation for a story. My mom, being of high journalistic integrity refused to do that. She always felt that this kind of thing was not being a journalist but more like being a snoop. Plus she didn’t want to risk her reputation. My Mom met my Dad through the newspaper. She was to do a story about the new teachers coming to Missouri Valley. After they met, one thing led to another and the next thing you know, they were walking down the aisle. Later my Mom left the newspaper and moved with my Dad to Newton, as he had taken a position as a speech, debate and drama teacher. My Mom’s passion for “the news” never ended however. My Mom continued to write news stories and press releases for various clubs, groups and non-profit organizations including The local chapter of The American Red Cross. She also read The Des Moines Register & Tribune plus the Newton Daily News front to back every day. She also watched the TV news. Before the days of remote controls for TV set’s she would ask me to get up and change the channel to the news as “she had not see any news all day.” She just had to get her news fix. I must admit that she passed that passion for the news along to me as I always watch the morning network tv news and the local news before I get into the station in the morning and the local and network news at night. One closing thought about my Mom. She was my #1 cheerleader. She believed in me, sometimes, before I would believe in myself. I was up for a Program Directorship when I was working at a radio station in Waterloo. I wasn’t sure if I wanted the job. She said to me “if you don’t want the job because it’s a big hassle that’s fine, but don’t turn down the offer of a job because you don’t think you can do it, because I know you can.”