One Less Reader

I’m back as promised (or threatened) after taking a few days off to mark the passing of my mother, who died on Saturday. She was 93 years, eight months and two weeks old. She never had cancer, heart disease or even a hint of dementia. Just the steady accumulation of stuff that goes wrong after awhile. She signed her own paper work on Thursday morning and she was gone by Saturday evening after spending a couple days surrounded by family. It’s possible she may have decided she just couldn’t take another day of family visits.

All-in-all, not a bad life or a bad way to go out. I’m more grateful than sad.

My Mom died where she lived her whole life, on the South Side of Milwaukee and West Allis, where I grew up. In fact, it’s that weird mashup — growing up among conservative Catholic Kennedy Democrats and then becoming enough of a liberal to get elected Mayor of Madison — that’s at the center of YSDA. I’ve never quite abandoned either the blue collar conservatives or the quiche-eating liberals. I’m somewhere in between.

My Mom and Dad in about 1949.

I have enough West Allis left in me to believe that if liberals would just drop the pretenses and the phony virtue signaling they could at least partially reconnect to the blue collar folks they say they want to help. But most importantly, they have to stop wanting to help them. If you don’t get that, you’re hopeless.

After all, these are the same kind of people who split their votes between George McGovern and George Wallace in 1972 and who voted for Barack Obama and then for Donald Trump. They’re less ideological than they are aware that the system was not set up to benefit them. They’ll respond to anybody who respects their values of hard-work and fairness and who doesn’t talk down to them.

Though there were times when she was plenty frustrated with liberals, I’m pretty sure that my Mom never missed an election and never voted for a Republican. One of my earliest memories (it was probably the 1962 mid-terms) is going into a voting booth with my mother where she allowed me to push the levers and then, with her help, push the big lever that snapped in the votes and magically opened the curtain. I’m sure she voted for McGovern in ’72 and if you could do that you could vote for any Democrat. She had her frustrations with the Catholic Church too, but she didn’t become a Unitarian either. It was the same thing.

And one last thing. My Mom was a faithful YSDA reader and, like you, she agreed with me “some of the time.” With her passing our ranks decline. Maybe you can suggest us to a new reader who can take the place of Deloris Cieslewicz. I know my Mom will bless you for helping out her son. God knows he needs it.

Have a good weekend.


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

12 thoughts on “One Less Reader

  1. Heartfelt. You are right to be proud of your heritage. My mother died when Number #1 son Max was only 4. He asked “Why did Grandma Helen die?” I responded that “I guess she just got old.” To which the little guy retorted, “HOW DID SHE GET OLD?” Figuring that everyone should have a mother, Max then got my mother in law to agree to become my mother, too.

    I’ll see if Max can get someone to become your reader.


  2. Dave,
    So sorry for the loss of your Mom. My sincere condolences. Take comfort in her ability to have an end of life experience on her terms surrounded by family. That’s the best end to life for anyone. Your message is convincing that Deloris had a significant influence on your life, and your own journey is a testament to that influence.
    Peace, Dave
    David Fodroczi


  3. So sorry for your loss, and even though your wonderful tribute made it clear that she had a long and productive life, it is still a loss. My mother is 90, and while I hope it’s still a few years off, if she were to transition from her earthly life surrounded by her family, that would make me feel content.

    PS: I’m sure you’ve heard from others how much you resemble your father.


  4. Sorry for your loss, she sounds like a lovely person. I recommend you to everyone who enjoys political writing.


  5. May God’s peace watch over your family, sorry for your loss. Mom sounds like a great woman and wonderful memories. May she rest in peace and keep an eye on us all !!


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