Madeline Higgins (My mother)
(August 2, 1925 – April 22, 2008)
To exist is to change.
To change is to mature.
To mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.
Today, Mother’s Day, is a special day, as it should be. A day to spend time with, speak with, or remember Mothers, and their special role in our lives.
On this Mother’s Day, I honor my mother, who passed away a couple weeks ago, on April 22, 2008 at the age of 82. My thanks go out to all of you who heard the news and shared kind words of condolence. It reminded me yet again how fortunate we all are to have another family beyond our own, our fastpitch family. Listening to all of you over the years, I know that you share many special memories of your mothers, in life and in fastpitch.
When I began to play fastpitch at the age of 9, it was because my mother took me to the local park, and provided encouragement and support. She became the official transportation committee who drove my teams around the city of Long Beach in her station wagon, as we went from park to park to play our games. We lived just a few houses away from those ballfields at Cherry Park, so she would walk to our home games.
She continued that love and support throughout my playing days, including a cross-country trip to Kimberly, Wisconsin in 1989 when I pitched in my first ISC World Tournament. More frequently, she was in attendance at Joe Rodgers Field, or other parks, when my teams played in Long Beach. I recall times when we were the only team with clean uniforms on Sundays because she took them all home Saturday night and laundered them for us. Fittingly, when she was working at a local music store in Long Beach, her mailman was none other than Red Meairs, owner and manager of the Long Beach Nitehawks.
In her 70′s, she learned to use a computer, and with it, continued to follow the world of fastpitch on this website, and listened to the broadcasts on Ballparkradio. Mothers being mothers, she was my most loyal listener. Living in Long Beach for the past few years, when I would stop by to visit, and was getting ready for some Ballparkradio broadcasts, she would ask me to be sure everything on her computer was set up so she could listen to the games. It always made me smile when she would email me during the games to let me know she was listening, harkening back to that moment we all remember while playing, when we looked up into the stands and saw our mothers’ smiling face, and nod of approval.
In 2005, at the age of 80, she traveled to Portland, Oregon, to visit with Maddy and I, and watch me broadcast the Rose Cup tournament in person, driving down from the Seattle area with my youngest sister, Sheilagh and her young son, Ryan. The photo below, taken on that trip with her grandson Ryan, captures her youthful spirit, and the joy that her children, and grandchildren brought to her.
It was my mother who introduced me to the joy of listening to baseball games on radio, starting as a very young boy when I would fall asleep listening to Angel and Dodger games on a small transistor radio.
She remained a fan of the game her entire life, continuing to follow the day-to-day progress of her beloved Angels. I’m quite sure that she is listening to them still, and no doubt, in the company of many more.
(August 2, 1925-April 22, 2008)
Madeline Higgins was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1925 to Patrick Joseph Higgins and Beatrice La Rose. Madeline, known affectionately as Nory, was the third oldest of six children. As a young girl she loved to sing, ice skate and go to the movies. After graduation from St. Martin’s High School, she was employed at a loan company in downtown Detroit. She married Harry Flanagan in1950, and after several moves back and forth across the country, they settled in Long Beach, California in 1962. In the midst of raising seven children, she returned to work, first at Whittaker’s Music Store, then as an Assistant Administrator at Cerritos Manor Retirement Hotel. She enjoyed traveling, and often took trips to see her children who had moved to various parts of the country.
Madeline is survived by her seven children: Kathy Flanagan, Nancy Savan, James Flanagan, Bob Flanagan, Rick Flanagan, Sharyn Flanagan and Sheilagh Flanagan-Di Cicco; her eight grandchildren: Amy LeRoy, Amanda Savan, Matt Savan, Meghan Flanagan, Sean Flanagan, Riley Flanagan, Ryan Di Cicco, and Delaney Flanagan; and one great-grandchild, Arianna Owens.
She will be missed by all who ever had the pleasure of knowing her.