Herald-Journal
Herald and Journal, Feb. 25, 2002

Remembering Yvonne Fink

By SUE FINK

My column today is about my mother-in-law, Yvonne Fink.

She died Jan. 23, 2002. I couldn't sleep the night after she died. I got up and wrote this because I was thinking about all the things Yvonne had left in her room downstairs.

Yvonne usually sat in her wheelchair in the kitchen area of her room at our house. Her kitchen table would be in front of her, and a cupboard with a refrigerator on top stood behind her.

This provided easy access to her refrigerator, and it also gave Yvonne a convenient place to display her favorite snapshots of her family. Her refrigerator door soon became a collage of smiling faces. A drawer in the cupboard behind her waited with toys for any visiting child.

Many times her table was used to play a game, make Play-Doh creations, or build a Lego tower with great-grandma. Although her health problems had limited her mobility, in her wheelchair Grandma was more accessible for big hugs from little arms.

Yvonne had three phones in her room, one by the kitchen table, one by her living room chair and one by her bed. She was often on the phone with her sister, Ardis, her kids, grandkids, or her nephew Jim. She enjoyed keeping up on their lives, and they often called to check on how she was doing or to ask advice about cooking or sewing.

The phone was also handy for her many conferences with Ardis about which word would fit best in the Sunday crossword puzzle. A standard dictionary and a crossword dictionary were always within reach.

When she was in her living room chair, Yvonne could lean back, relax, watch TV, or take a nap. Here too, she surrounded herself with reminders of her family.

The bookshelves on the left side of her chair were full of graduation and wedding pictures of her grandchildren. Lying on the shelf next to her would be a kit that was being stitched into a great-grandchild's Christmas stocking. To the right of the TV in front of her, the wall was filled with pictures of her great-grandchildren. There's no doubt the faces in these pictures brought her many hours of happiness.

Anyone who knew Yvonne was well aware that she was a great cook and seamstress. She enjoyed sewing, knitting and crocheting, and tried her hand at many crafts. She also created many beautiful birthday, wedding, and graduation cakes.

Though Yvonne's entertaining was done on a smaller scale later in her life, she still enjoyed "laying out a spread" for her guests from whatever she had on hand. She also kept drawers full of Disney videos to entertain the great-grandkids and she played a wide selection of CD's from Sinatra to country music on her CD player.

Over the years I often saw Yvonne reach to hold a baby at family get-togethers. She had a special knack for comforting babies and keeping them content. I especially remember one time a group of family was visiting when Don and Yvonne's trailer was parked at Lake Sarah near Rockford.

One relative was trying unsuccessfully to quiet a fussy baby. As always, Yvonne offered to hold the baby for a while. The young woman hesitated briefly until her mother advised, "Let Yvonne put her to sleep, she's a good baby tender."

Not only as Yvonne's daughter-in-law, but as a mother and grandmother myself, I can't think of a finer compliment.


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