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Mother's Day: The Fabulous Wilma Sturgeon

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 CBC community member Kim McLaughlin shares the story of her incredible mother, Wilma Sturgeon.

Earlier this month, we asked CBC Community members to help us celebrate Mother's Day 2012 by answering the question "Why is your mother special to you?"

We received a wealth of photos and stories from across the country, each of them unique and touching. Abbreviated versions of some can be found here, and even more in our Your News Mother's day photo gallery.

While all of the submissions we received were incredible, Kim McLaughlin's stood out among the pack.

We hope you enjoy reading about her mother, the fabulous Wilma Sturgeon as much as we did.

    "The Oxford Dictionary of Current English defines the word 'fabulous' as 'incredible, marvelous and legendary' and it's the word that best defines my mother, the fabulous Wilma Sturgeon.


    Wilma grew up in Scotland and she was stunning. And I don't mean stunning in a simple way, I'm talking five foot nothing, blond beehive and 42-27-36.

    She had a cheeky sense of humour, an unstoppable sense of adventure and she was utterly fearless.

    Case in point: At 21, Wilma decided to emigrate. She flipped a coin: Heads for Switzerland. Tails for Canada. The coin landed on tails so she purchased her ticket and packed two suitcases. The first filled with toothpaste and the second with blonde hair dye because you never know if you can get the right colour abroad and Wilma wasn't prepared to take chances.

    After a fond farewell to the UK (and many heartbroken soccer captains), she arrived in Toronto in the middle of a snowstorm.

    Her first week was an adventure. You see, with all the hair dye and toothpaste, she didn't have room to pack a winter coat or boots.

    It wasn't that she hadn't thought of it, she'd simply prioritized. Imagine my mum heading all the way to North York from downtown Toronto in two feet of snow with only her high-heels to help her over the snow banks.

    But beauty has no price. Did the fabulous Wilma buy a new coat or some boots? Of course not, she simply moved closer to work.

    Before long, she rented a small apartment with a few other girls who shared the same priorities.

    She often talks about the time the girls were desperate for groceries. After pooling their money, they realized they had enough for one week of food OR four fashionable wigs. The answer was obvious: Wigs were in, and a girl can't live on food alone.

    In 1969, my mum met my father at the Horseshoe Tavern.

    In typical Wilma-fashion, she had a choice between the lead singer of the Irish Rovers (playing that night) or a handsome young man from Miramichi who paid her five bucks to dance with him. Could'a been the whisky, might have been the gin, but after one dance, this young man was smitten and they didn't look back. Wasn't that a party!

    I won't say that my mum was always the most even-tempered and patient of mothers, but looking back, I can't help but think 'wasn't she glorious!'

    Looking at her now, I think 'Isn't she incredible, marvelous and legendary?' Here's a woman with the experience to determine a man's intentions in 0.2 seconds and, goodness knows, she speaks her mind.

    My mother is the original fabulous woman and I love her for it. "

    - Kim McLaughlin

Happy Mothers day to all!

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