To all the mothers, Happy Mother's Day! And to all those (including mothers) who might feel that this day, one when flower sales and brunch reservations go through the roof, is way overly commercialized -- you will appreciate the informative story below titled Mother's Day founder Anna Jarvis opposed to holiday's commercialism. The story was written by John Horton in his Plain Dealer Reporter column in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer (the main daily in Cleveland, Ohio) and was spotted by Amoeba Marc:
"Anna Jarvis (left) mothered Mother's Day a century ago. To see what her baby grew into . .. oh, how it would break her heart. Jarvis despised attempts to commercialize the "holy day" that she launched in 1908
in memory of her mother, Ann. She fought tenaciously until her death to shield Mother's Day from "the hordes of money-schemers" that were hawking flowers, cards and candy.
She didn't exactly hold 'em off. Mother's Day spending on the 100th anniversary of the holiday is expected to reach $15.8 billion in the United States, according to the National Retail Federation. Consumers will spend an average of $138.63 doting on dear old mom during her special day.
Jarvis "is probably spinning in her grave," said Katharine Antolini, a board member and historian for the International Mother's Day Shrine, the church in Grafton, W.Va. That is where the first celebration took place. "What we have today," said Antolini, who grew up in Cuyahoga Falls, "is not what Anna wanted." Not even close. Jarvis envisioned a day marked by hymns and prayers. She called for intimate family gatherings to "revive the dormant love and filial gratitude we owe to those who gave us birth." She wanted the focus and attention on a mother's devotion and sacrifice. It didn't take long, however, before some merchant got the idea of tossing up a SALE sign. Cha-ching!
Jarvis seethed at what she perceived as corruption of the day. She was tenacious, if not "a little bizarre," in her efforts to ward off profiteers, Antolini said. In 1923, for instance, the New York Times reported that Jarvis crashed a confectioners' convention to issue demands. But, hard as she tried, she could not stop the cash registers from ringing. . . and ringing . . . and ringing. Jarvis -- who never had a child of her own -- died bitter and destitute in 1948, her last days spent in a sanitarium. Legend has it that florists, forever thankful for what Jarvis created, paid for her care. After all, one never forgets."
Again, thanks to Amoeba Marc for spotting this story written by John Horton in today's (5/11/08) Plain Dealer Reporter.