Mother's Day offers no rest for moms

May 09, 1994|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Sun Staff Writer

Bundled up in thermal underwear, a winter coat and gloves, Denise Franz kept vigil in front of a Towson parking lot yesterday to raise a few dollars for her son's soccer team.

It's the sort of thing a mother would do.

Even though it was Mother's Day, even though 16 people were coming over to her house for dinner, Mrs. Franz volunteered to spend the afternoon directing traffic into a gravel lot. Her goal was to entice people visiting Towson's annual spring festival into spending an extra buck to benefit the soccer team that's the love of her 10-year-old son's life.

Mothers everywhere were supposed to get a break yesterday, a breakfast in bed, a hand-picked bouquet, a card and a hug to remind them that they're appreciated. Yet even in their celebration, the supermoms of the '90s were busy.

At the Towsontown Spring Festival, mothers with weary feet stood at booths hawking jewelry, reading palms and arranging huge bouquets for a steady stream of customers. Other mothers were wheeling strollers, walking dogs, separating bickering children, wiping ice cream off sweat shirts and repeating, "No," for the fifth time to a plea for a heavy metal T-shirt.

"We've been coming here every year since we were little kids," said Marcia Medved, who sported a stylish pin made out of Styrofoam and construction paper that said, "Katie's Mom." Katie, her 3-year-old daughter, perched on her father's shoulders and munched french fries.

At the flea market, Kathi Hiltz, 41, browsed with her 14-year-old twin daughters, Kristi and Kasey. The teen-age girls gave her a dried flower wreath for Mother's Day that they'd purchased at the festival.

"They wanted to take me out, and this seemed like a fun thing to do," Ms. Hiltz said.

While last-minute shoppers searched for the perfect gift around the Baltimore region, better-prepared sons and daughters took their mothers to church and toasted them at champagne brunches.

Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke escorted his mother, Irene Reid, to Bethel A.M.E. Church in Upton, where his stepbrother, the Rev. Frank Madison Reid III, is minister. Mothers of every age, many wearing new suits and corsages, filled the pews.

Phone lines across the state were busy. By late afternoon yesterday, 3,000 more people than the average 65,000 had placed calls, according to Bell Atlantic Telephone Co.

At Greetings & Readings in Towson, a crush of guilty-looking shoppers surrounded the pink Mother's Day display in the card section.

Renee Tyler, 34, had her hands full with three balloons and a couple of cards from the much-picked-over rack. She was quick to point out that the gifts were for her sister, not her mother.

Jeff Burch, a 36-year-old finishing his degree in elementary education, cheerfully admitted being late again this year. "I'm just a procrastinator by nature," he said.

At her post at the Towson parking lot, Mrs. Franz remained upbeat despite the chilly weather and the dearth of customers.

"You know you're a mother when you're out here," said Mrs. Franz, who shivered through a steady drizzle the day before.

Yesterday, however, she was cheered by the thoughtful gifts from her children. Ten-year-old Seth showered her with plants and flowers, while 8-year-old Kara made her own perfume.

"I think I'm getting more presents when I come home," Mrs. Franz said, smiling.

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