Weezie Mott with a life story that rolls out like a first rate script ready for casting and filming is a marvel in our midst. At the first sight of her you see the bright blue eyes, red hair and an obvious blast of intelligence and energy that reaches across any room. Turns out it reaches across decades as well. She has traveled a path from love to love, from strength to strength and success to success. There is, even today a smile in her voice as she talks about the family she loves. Enthusiasm for life precedes every word she speaks, and gratitude follows.
Weezie “popped out”, as she puts it, when her mother was fifty. Her first visual memory, because they gave her a cup and saucer, is a joyful one of having tea at a department store with her mother, her sister older by twenty-two years, and her sister’s daughter. But she never got to know her mother who died when Weezie was five. Her response to that memory is one of loving thanks for her wonderful siblings she still speaks of with the most unconditional love and admiration. As one of her beloved brothers was the actor Tom Tully, you can see that captivating, insightful story-telling may be a genetic blessing shared by the two of them.
Weezie was only seven when her father sent her in a boarding school where she stayed until the 8th grade. She laughingly admits to hating it. The food was so horrible that she and a friend spit it into their hands to trash later, visits home were too rare, and the uniforms unattractive and dull. They told her they were training her to be a nun, which brought a resounding “No thank you!” from Weezie. She was thrilled to be home again when fate took another marvelously life-changing turn, when her oldest brother got permission from her father to take her to Panama with his family and put her in school there. Weezie knew right then at the age of 15 that instead of living in Colorado ever again she would live in the world. And, as no plan of Weezie's has ever been put on a back burner, she has lived in it ever since. She became a nurse. She joined the Navy because she wanted to serve her country, and serve it she did as part of a triage team in San Diego for wounded soldiers brought home from Southeast Asia.
She was a figure skater on her way to a competition in L.A. when, at a tea dance she reluctantly attended, she met the man who would be her husband for seventy-two years and the love of a lifetime. Her description of him, as does her love letter, defines not only an undying love that started with broken commitments to others, honorable conduct, and all of it a lesson in how life goes on its own perfect track if we can get out of our own way. Then it was motherhood, life in a variety of foreign countries where Weezie lived in each as a citizen, and learning languages and customs all of which gave her son the basis to become an international banker.
Weezie, with the delivery of a true comic, describes how “stupid our government is every now and then” when, on her marriage, they released her from the Navy. Her reply, long before mandatory equal rights, was, “Why don’t you kick my husband out? He’s married, too.” But this fell on deaf ears, and released she was so went on to the next wonderful job that paid her double what the Navy did. After that she taught nursing at Kaiser in Oakland. Next step, coming right up.
With her husband’s blessing and encouragement, on to France she went to become a Cordon Bleu Chef de Cuisine. After working in a couple of French kitchens and restaurants she came home to open her own cooking school, complete with one class a year for children, complete with major field trips to place we all know. For twenty years there were the kind of European culinary tours no travel agency could even offer - Motoring With the Motts. Oh, and somewhere in all that she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Education and Chemistry. Her cooking school is going strong. The woman was and still is unstoppable.
Weezie’s love letter, written in 1945 to her niece, a girl-to-girl confession of love and wedding plans, is a work of art, a work of historical significance and a tribute to a love that lasted a lifetime. She is still busy as ever at ninety-two and says with a burst of laughter, “I’ll always be a redhead!” Good thing, too, because that is as identifiable a part of her as everything else.
To listen to Weezie talk with candor, insight and wit about her past, present and future is to know how limitless life can be. To hear her talk about her family is a lesson on love’s triumphant power. Even though she knows she is lucky to be healthy, she says that her secret is “don’t just sit on your ass, get up and do something.” She is also lucky that she was born with an indomitable temperament, a talent for taking the gift of being clear and plain spoken to the level of high art, and an endless ability to laugh.
If it takes you more than one listening, as it well may, to absorb all that is Weezie, worry not, the re-runs are as good as the original screening.
From me to you with love in the air and gratitude to Weezie Mott for the endless lessons and unqualified fun,
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