S: Memories of Tracy
FC: Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever. - Unknown
2: Dear Nick, I wanted to write you a note about your mom. I know that all of us struggle at times to remember certain details about her. I know I do. You were always so special to her. I think it was because you were her first child. I will never forget that she preferred to call you Nicholas rather than Nick. I asked her one time why? She said it was because you were too cute and cuddly to be a Nick - your name to her was Nicholas. You probably were too young to remember, but your mom loved to pitch to you so you could practice your batting. How do you think you became such a good hitter? It was right in front of the house on Gregory Street. She would pitch to you and you would nail them with a plastic bat. Your mom always went all out for you, Ryan, Haley, and Connor. Remember Halloween, her favorite holiday of all. She handmade your costumes, took pictures of you four renegades, took you trick-or-treating, and then went through your candy with you (eating some herself along the way). At the same time, your mom united friends and family (half the world) over to enjoy the spectacle. Your mom especially loved watching you play baseball. She always
3: wanted me to coach you as much as possible which I loved to do. Your mom and I spent a lot of time talking about your tribulations on the field. I remember how much in awe she was when you hit a home run over the stadium wall at the all star game. She was always proud of you. What I remember most though is your mom hugging and kissing you - all the time. She loved to squeeze you, hold you, and love you. You were always her little boy. Her little Nicholas. I am sure your mom misses you each and every day, but is with us at every moment. She loved you with all of her heart and will carry on in our hearts. Love, Bob
4: Dear Nick, We proud of you for all that you have overcome and all that your are working for. I want to share with you a little bit about your mother and our family when we were growing up, I hope you will enjoy these memories . . . Our lives began in Elgin, Illnois. My sister, Tracy (Theresa), was the oldest daughter born to my parents, Patrick and Audrey Dougherty, in 1958. Bobbie (Barbara) came along a year later in 1959, I was born in 1962, and Kelly (Kathleen) in 1966. Mom and Dad lived in a trailer home with Tracy and Bobbie for a few years. They bought their first home on Hiawatha Drive in Elgin, and then had me and Kelly. I don't have many memories of life in Elgin, Illnois, but I do remember going to the "vacant lot" a few times with Tracy and Bobbie to play. It was a piece of land with overgrown grass, trees, and junk dumped there. We would play in the junk and look for "Indian gum" from the inside of dead tree branches and would chew it. Tracy and Bobbie went to Catholic grade school in Elgin. We moved from Elgin to DeKalb in 1967 or 1968. I have fond memories of DeKalb. We lived on Ball Avenue, and there were a lot of families with kids our age. We were a close-knit neighborhood, and we'd play a lot of games together, like kickball, dodge ball, and kick-the-can.
5: Lots of kids would come over in the summer and help my mom make her famous dill pickles. Everyone loved them. The Buckner's across the street from us became good friends with our family. They had four kids, one girl and three boys, all similar in age to us. Terry Buckner and Tracy became best friends and continued their friendship through adulthood. The Aagesen's on the other side of the block had four girls, and they were all close in age to us, too. Vicki Aagesen also became a good friend of Tracy's. My parents sent us to St. Mary's for grade school. Tracy and Bobbie went on to the public schools, Eisenhower Middle School and DeKalb High School, until we moved to Rockford in 1974. Tracy and Bobbie were only a year apart and grew up with many of the same friends. I was about 4 1/2 years younger than Tracy, and not allowed to tag along with them and their friends. Although they were close in age, they seemed to be at odds with each other sometimes. I remember Tracy thinking that Bobbie was Dad's "little pet". Tracy had quite a sense of humor and would draw cartoons of how she would get in trouble with Dad for something Bobbie did, but Bobbie would get praised for something Tracy did. The cartoons were very humorous. Tracy had a bit of a twisted and evil side, too. I recall her pulling the legs off a spider and watching the spider's legless body jump around . . . (maybe that explains why Nick used to be mean to frogs . . .). Sometime in her early teens, Tracy got hooked on Neil Diamond. She loved rocking in my Dad's green recliner-rocker and listening to Neil Diamond music. She would twirl her hair and rock in that green chair for hours. Somewhere around this
6: time, she began her pursuit of boys. She always had plenty of boys interested in her. My first memory of her attraction to boys was in DeKalb. Prior to driving, the boys would come by the house on their bikes after school. The one I remember the most was Randy Devine. After we moved from DeKalb to Rockford, I think Randy drove to Rockford to take Tracy to Homecoming or Prom in DeKalb. (I see many similarities between Haley and her mom when it comes to boys . . .). My mom became known in our DeKalb neighborhood as quite the crafty lady. She would invite the neighbor ladies over to give them craft lessons for various types of projects. She enjoyed making things, and she was and excellent seamstress. She made all of our clothes, the curtains in the house, and many other things. Tracy and Bobbie learned most of these skills from my mom. They both did a lot of sewing too. They would make Barbie clothes and as they grew older, made many of their own clothes. When Tracy had Nick, Haley, and Conner, she enjoyed making Halloween costumes for them. When Nick was about 4, she made him a Batman costume for Halloween. She told me that when Nick put the costume on, mask and all, he became a completely different person and would run down the sidewalk with the cape flying in the air, thinking he was Batman and having magical powers. When I was in college, she knitted me an afghan for Christmas my freshman year. I still have it on the couch in my living room. On weekends during the summers, Mom and Dad would haul us up to Pardeeville, WI in the Ford Station Wagon. We would fight in the back seat, as
7: siblings do, and Dad would threaten to stop the car and teach us a lesson or two. We would stay at Grandma and Grandpa Rasmussen's on Park Lake, where we kept our little ski boat. We would go water skiing, fishing, swimming, and to church on Saturday nights. Tracy and Bobbie managed to meet the cute boys in our grandparent's neighborhood and hang out with them when they were in their teens. Every year, we would go to the Watermelon Eating and Seed Spitting Championship Festival at the park in Pardeeville and eat a lot watermelon. When we moved to Rockford, Tracy went to Guilford High School. She had a good friend named Mary Lou Schwab. Tracy and Mary Lou took a modeling class together. I can remember that she was always buying fancy make-up, new clothes, and I wished I could be more like her. Mary Lou had a boyfriend named Rick Bridegan, whom she later married. Tracy dated a guy named Mark Domino, who had a really cool Camaro. I think they double-dated a lot. Tracy and Mark dated for a while and exchanged class rings. When they split up, Tracy never got her ring back, and she was still angry about it 25 years later. After graduation from high school, Tracy moved to Madison, WI to go to Madison Business College for Court Reporting. While in school, she lived with my mom's sister - Aunt Lois Dewey her husband, Uncle Larry, and our cousins Mike and Jennifer. She would come home to Rockford on occasion, and it seemed she had a new boyfriend each time she came home. After graduating from College, she stayed in Madison to work. Eventually, she and a partner started their
8: own business called Madison Freelance Reporters. She was successful in her work and came to know many of the local attorneys, including Bob. Tracy was great at meeting people. When she and Bob bought the house on Landfall, she made it a point to go around the neighborhood and introduce herself. She made many friends. She loved entertaining and having guests over. Every Christmas, she and Bob would have a neighborhood Christmas party. Tracy was not only crafty, but she was handy, and could fix many things. She had a great eye for creativity and could turn a piece of junk into artwork. She would find furniture by the curb, ready for garbage truck and take them home and refinish and reupholster them. They would look brand new. She installed the wood flooring by herself at the cabin which was taken from an old JC Penny's store. She loved shopping for bargains and going to garage sales. She and a group of friends would go "garage sailing" every year to a certain neighborhood, and see if they could get there before the general public and get all the deals. She also loved helping people and volunteering for her kids' school and neighborhood events. She was a great mother and really loved spending time with her kids. She enjoyed family reunions and keeping in touch with distant relatives. She always knew the names of every relative and how we were related. She liked having old photographs of our relatives restored and framed. Your mom was a very talented, gifted, and loving person. She had many friends and enjoyed life, but she especially loved being a mom. Love Always, Aunt Shannon
10: I have many fond memories of your mother and one funny story in particular. Shortly after we moved into our home on Liberty St. in Poy Sippi, your mother and I were talking about shopping at thrift stores. She started to tell me that she took a walk down to the St. Vincent De Paul. I replied with, "You to a Wok down to St. Vinnies ... why didn't you tell me I just bought one the other day!" "No, no," she replied, "I was walking down to the St. Vinnies." We laughed for hours about that. Your mother used to like coming over to my house. She said I was always changing something in my home and it had a "homie feeling". She liked the small town feeling. One time she was here to pick up you and Connor and we were having a campfire in our backyard. She thought we were so lucky that Poy Sippi had such a safe atmosphere. One time she went to Menards to buy some paint for the cottage and picked up some bricks for me and brought them over with her van. I was going to put a patio in but, instead, made a sidewalk with the bricks. That was trade for the house work I used to do at the cottages. There was a time when I came to Madison and we went rummaging. Your uncle Tim babysat while your mom and I shopped. We both liked to rummage and go to flee markets. During another time, I was helping your mom clean the cottages and I had to help her go to the garbage dump. We were taking an old mattress there. When we got there we asked the guy to help us put it in the dumpster and he replied with, "No Mam, I can't on account of my heart." It was such a struggle for your
11: mom and I to lift up that mattress but we managed. We cursed under our breaths at the "fat dump guy" that could not help us ... what was he working at the dump for? Your mother and I could talk for hours on the phone and I remember she would have to go because Connor was climbing up the refrigerator, or brushing his teeth in the toilet. The night before he died he was jumping on the bed at the cottage saying, "momma momma momma." Tracy said that was the first time he had said her name in months. She asked your dad to watch Connor that night so she could get some sleep. Little did she know that would be the last night with him other than time spent in the hospital before his death. I remember your brother Ryan bringing flowers for Connor in the hospital and putting shells in the bottom of the mason jar of flowers. He said, "something pretty for Connor to look at." Who would have thought that Connor would never open those beautiful blue eyes again. Your mother never got over his passing. People say all things happen for a reason. With my aging I believe them. I miss your mother and one of the last conversations I had with her she told me she was going to Heaven to see Connor. I truly believe this is where she is. Nick, your life is what you make it. We cannot dwell on the past but must move forward and learn, always keeping our past memories close to our hearts. Lots of Love, Aunt Kelly
14: Halloween: Tracy's favorite time of year was Halloween. I never really knew why other than she seemed to love scaring the daylights out of the little kids. Perhaps it was the look on their faces that made her laugh, or maybe she was just a natural born prankster. I remember when we were young and living in DeKalb, IL; Tracy got an idea to have a haunted house in our basement during the summer. Tracy got buy-in from her best friend Terry Buckner, and proceeded to build the haunted house in our basement on Ball Avenue. They hung sheets and used some of my mother's craft supplies to create make-shift spider webs. The most gruesome thing they thought of was to peel the skin off of green grapes and put them in a bowl of water. The slimy grapes were then supposed to mimic a bowl of human eyeballs. | The two pranksters then went out to comb the neighborhood for unsuspecting little children and lure several of them into the basement. I don't remember what they used to entice the little ones (probably candy), but no one resisted. One of the sought-after little children was a | neighborhood girl named Isadora Parini; whom for some reason was especially sensitive to anything and everything.
15: So Tracy and Terry had their following and lured them into the basement. Once they were all marching downstairs, the door behind them shut and the lights went out. From then on, all you heard was screaming and crying. Poor Isadora was traumatized for life I think, but Tracy and Terry will have that memory forever as one of their greatest feats as the neighborhood terrorists. I don't recall exactly, but I'm sure once the parents found out, there was some discipline going on. And Isadora would keep quite a distance from the Dougherty and Buckner houses after that. As a mom, Tracy always made sure that Halloween was a special time in her home. She would always have a costume for the kids, often home-made, as she was a great seamstress. She even made one for herself to wear when she handed out candy at the door. -Bobbie Dougherty
16: Tracy and I met when we were 9 years old, we had just moved to DeKalb, IL across the street from each other. That began a friendship that lasted from childhood through adulthood. We were inseparable when we lived on Ball Ave. Tracy was my best friend. She was smart, had a great sense of humor, beautiful on the inside as well as the outside and had a wonderful sense of adventure. She always had some scheme for us to do. All my great childhood memories involve things Tracy and I did together. We learned a lot together ... we would bake cakes from scratch - - but one day we forgot to put any sugar in it. I thought we should just throw it away, but Tracy decided we should invite the younger neighborhood kids over for a party and have cake. We put about an inch of frosting on top of our sugarless cake and served it. The kids thought it was great ... we had a laugh that we knew the real ingredients or lack of. We had a very close neighborhood and spent hours together playing Beep (hide and seek at night), dressing up the neighbor's big tomcat Charlie in baby clothes, playing kickball, having a pretend wedding for Kelly and my little brother, Brian, spying on neighbors, digging an underground fort, sleeping in the backyard in a tent. When we were sophomores
17: in high school, we both moved to different homes but still were extremely close and shared our lives with each other from first boyfriends (our first boyfriends were best friends too), getting married, to having a family. It was so nice to have someone to share all these moments in my life with and I miss her so much! Tracy will always be a part of me and have a special place in my heart! Love Always, Terry (Buckner) Morsch
18: I remember Tracy as a wonderful child who was always taking care of and watching out for her little sisters. I remember her parents, Audrey and Pat, as we would got to Madison to see Ron's Mother, and we would see many of the relatives from time to time. One time, Pat and Audrey and Ron and I went camping together with our darling little girls (Julie was born in 1959, and Joni was born in 1961, so all four girls were close in age). Pat kept sending them out to find sticks for our camp fires. Tracy was so watchful of her sisters so they wouldn't get lost. It was very sad when Audrey passed away. Tracy did such a good job trying to keep in touch with everyone. When Tracy and Bob married they each had a son and then little Haley came along. Tracy was so very proud of her and her son Nick. She was a great mother to all four of their children. And she had love for everyone she knew. When Tracy got ill it was very hard on her family but Tracy was very brave and fought her battle to the end. She kept busy giving her family memories to remember her by and is missed by MANY. Your mother (and grandmother) are watching over you and they are so very proud of you. Keep up the good work and keep on going. Fondly, Gwen Hansen (My husband, Ron, was a cousin to Tracy's) mom)
19: I have lived in Lake Havasu City, Arizona with my husband John for over 20 years. We moved out here to escape the cold Wisconsin winters. I remember our family getting together at Lois and Claire's for holidays with Tracy, her sisters, Pat and Audrey. We would watch slide shows after dinner, Lois always took lots of pictures, and they were always fun to see. I came to see Tracy with Maureen in June 2002. I had not seen her for a few years, we had a great visit. As Maureen and I were leaving that day, Tracy was standing in her yard and there was an angel statue next to her, that is what I remember. I have asked Maureen if she remembers that and she does not. Maureen asked Tracy's sisters and no one remembers an angel statue in her yard. I really believe there was an angel looking over her that day as we waived goodbye to her. I have angels in my yard now that make me think of her, she was an angel and will always be with us. Nick, come visit me in Lake Havasu City any time! Love Pat (Dougherty) Powers
22: My earliest memories of Tracy are from when we were young girls. Our parents would bring us to the Dougherty's house for a day or two, or her parents would bring their family to our house in Muscatine, Iowa. We would also meet up at family reunions in WI. Tracy and her sisters were our favorite cousins, and we loved getting together with them. Tracy's mom and my dad (Ron Hansen b:8-18-36;d3-24-95) were cousins. Tracy's grandmother Nellie was my grandmother Lillie's (Lillian Marie Kronke Hansen b:11-25-1898;d:3-3-84) twin sister. Tracy was the oldest of four girls, and I was the older of two girls. I think because of this we were both the "caretakers" and so when we played, we were always the "mothers". I think we might have also been a little bossy! We liked to dress up, play dolls, put on plays and play hide and seek in the house. There might have been some wrestling with the younger girls too. As we got older I think there were "hair and makeup" sessions. I remember lots of talking and lots of laughing. Tracy was a very happy person and she loved having fun. She had an infectious laugh, and she laughed a lot. She was not afraid to laugh at herself either. I don't remember tons of details from when we were little except that Tracy always looked beautiful (like a model) and she was always so much fun to be around! She was a fantastic story teller and she was also a good listener. Tracy was always interested in other people's lives, and she made a huge effort to stay in touch with family. It didn't matter if months or even years had passed; when you called her or got together it was as if she could just pick up where we had left off. She was comfortable with herself and she made everyone else comfortable too. We lost touch when we went to college and started our careers. She was much better about going to the family reunions. I remember my mom always telling me what was going on with Tracy. Tracy was so proud of her son, Nick. She was a great mother and she loved to talk about what Nick was doing. He was darling, and she loved every minute of being his mother. Tracy always had pictures of her children and she cherished every age they were going through. Nick was a good athlete and she loved watching him develop. Tracy never complained when she and Bud got divorced, she wanted to make things as easy for Nick as possible. Tracy felt such joy when she met Bob; her life had become another fun adventure. She
23: and Bob each had a son and the four of them were very happy. Tracy and Bob were avid Packers Fans and they loved to party around the games. I was always amazed that she worked so hard at her job, was a fantastic mom, and the social planner for all of their friends. Tracy was an incredible cook, and she always had the most delicious new recipes. I am sure my mom still has some of them. I remember when Tracy and Bob were about to have a baby. She was so excited. She was so in love with baby Haley. I remember Tracy having such a great time buying little girl things, lots of pink and purple. Then came little Connor and their family was complete. Scott and I brought our children to Tracy and Bob's house one time, it was so much fun with kids laughing and running around, toys everywhere, lots of delicious food. Shannon and Bobbie came over and we all enjoyed a lovely meal Tracy put together. Tracy loved decorating, and she loved all the holidays but I think she loved Christmas the most. Every December she wrote a beautiful Christmas letter that told the story of her family's year. I remember when Connor was diagnosed with Autism. I think this was a hard time for Tracy, but she had confidence that she and Bob would work with him and that things would work out. Tracy was always brave, patient and trusting. She had strong faith. When Connor died, this was another extremely difficult time for Tracy. There were few words, except that she felt so bad for Bob, Haley, and the boys. She wanted to make things better for all of them. When Tracy got sick, she was a fighter. She fought harder than anyone I have ever known. She wanted to live for Bob and her children. I remember talking to her throughout her treatments. She was hoping to stay alive but planning if she didn't. She told me about special letters she wrote to her children and Bob. She wanted them to feel OK and remember all the good times. Two or three months before Tracy died, she and Bob came for the weekend. At the time, I didn't know how sick Tracy was. Even though she seemed tired, she was positive, funny and joyful. She brought me a gift, which I will always cherish. It was a Radko clown ornament. She told me if I was sad she wanted me to always have happy thoughts of her when I looked at the clown ornament. Julie Hansen Gasway and family (Scott, Melissa 25, Brent 23, Joel 19, Lily 17)
24: Writing about Tracy can be a difficult thing to do because she was such a unique, caring, special, and over all amazing person. There were not many people like Tracy. She was warm and loving to her family and I can remember having gatherings for birthdays, Christmas, and Easter. Tracy was a great host and would make dinner for all, it always seemed she really enjoyed being with family and entertaining. I remember Tracy actually being very funny too. There were many times her and Bob would go back and forth and she would say something that would make the people in the room laugh. Tracy was also a very hard worker, she definitely was not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get work done. She knew how to fix things and put things together. I remember my mother telling me stories of her taking something old and fixing it up to look new or of her prying out old boards with nails poking out to use at the cabin for flooring. Tracy was a very giving and generous person as well. If anyone needed anything, she would not hesitate to give them the shirt off her back. I can remember her and my mom exchanging angels for Christmas each year and how much my mother thought about Tracy. She still knows which angels are from her to this day. Tracy was very easy to like. A memory book was made for her at a party in her honor. An incredible amount of ladies from her community, neighborhood, and family submitted letters describing how she had touched their lives. Basically, I remember many things about Tracy, all positive and I really don't think you could find anyone who had anything negative to say. She was loved by so many and made such an impact on others. Tracy truly was one-of-a-kind. It saddens me to think that the world lost an angel way too soon. I believe she is in a better place and thinking of that and remembering her puts a smile on my face. Lovc, Brad Schwenn
25: Dear Nick, I am sure that you know many of the wonderful stories about your mom. I want to start by saying that I have many great memories of your mom and miss her very much. This story is from back when I was in about the 2nd grade. I had just had my first communion at church and we had a large get together over at my mom and dad's house. To my surprise, I received many gifts and also some money. At that age, I wasn't exactly super excited to receive money. I was just kind of learning how it worked, to buy things that you want. I remember Tracy sitting me down and looking through a Toys R Us advertisement with me. We picked out a cool scooter that I must have thought was awesome! My parents told me that maybe I could use some of the money to buy something but would have to wait until next weekend because it was Sunday and they had a house full of people. Being that I was 7-8 years old, I of course wanted something right then. Your mom talked my parents into letting her take me to Toys R Us to buy that scooter. Unfortunately, I recall that it was raining when we got back, so I could not even ride it until the next day. I recently found out that my parents still have that scooter somewhere. I will never forget the many stories like this one that I have heard and/or experienced about Tracy. I still think about her and you all the time. Love, Doug Schwenn
26: I remember tracy as a special person. she was my daughter abbee's sponsor for confirmation. nick came with her the day abbee was confirmed and hewould not leave her side. i remember she made me curtains for my kitchen window in new lisbon, they are just as beautiful as the day she came to help me put them up. I still have them even though i have replaced them with new ones. i remember all the fun times when we got together for family gatherings. i miss her a lot. Karen (dougherty) Harmer
27: I have many memories of Tracy. From her walking with us kids to the park in Lyndon Station to playing with us at our grandparent's house. She often visited my grandparent's house while we were there. My fondest memory of Tracy was when my grandma Bernie passed on. I had flown from Arizona to Wisconsin with my Aunt Pat and my daughter Desirea who was three years old at the time. I remember going to the funeral home in Mauston where there were so many people gathered to pay their respects to my family. After some time, Tracy came over to me and asked how I was doing. I told her I was having a hard time with grandma passing the way she had. She told me that although it is difficult to accept how she passed, comfort can be had in knowing she is in a better place. We sat for a long time talking about my grandma. We laughed and we cried. She was so proud to see Desirea and to tell me how beautiful she was. We talked about her family. I will never forget Tracy and I think of her often. Treasure every memory that you have of your mom. She was a wonderful woman and she is in a better place with my grandmother. Love, Santone and Abbee
28: DearNick, I learned that Sara and Bob were planning on putting together a book of memories of your mother for you, on the occasion of your 24th birthday. I did not your mother well --- we did not have frequent, close association but for many years I was in the orbit of her influence. She was truly a unique person who was talented in many realms. She was, as I recall, especially talented in things artistic, and she particularly liked home decoration, in that term's widest application. She had excellent taste and creativity. There were two other things that I remember of her. One was her intelligence - she could speak well about nearly anything. The other was that, more than any other person I have ever known, she was well liked. People loved Tracy. You were lucky to have her for a mother, as she was lucky to have you for a son. I think that I know some of the things
29: you may be going through as you think of her, because my daughter, Brigit, also lost her mother. I am sure that you will find remembering her a great source of happiness -- she was a wonderful person. And she would be proud of you. Bill Brown
30: Nick: I think of your mother Tracy almost everyday in some way. We were very close. We were always blabbing on the phone, solving all the problems of the world, or getting together at our house or yours for family gatherings or birthdays. She was so beautiful in so many ways. She made everyone feel special, always took the time to take an interest, ask how we were. I marveled at how talented she was, your home was beautifully decorated. She could make anything, if she didn't know how, she took a class. She could take a sheet and make beautiful curtains, recover a lamp shade, strip furniture or recover it. She recovered two chairs that belonged to Paul's grandma, they turned out beautifully and we still have them. She had your lake homes decorated so beautiful with just the right touch, like a professional decorator came in. She would rent them out, who wouldn't want to stay there? I also remember how she loved garage sales, bargains, and clipped coupons, she was quite thrifty. I remember one time there was a couch down the street from your house on the curb. She thought it
31: was a great bargain, it only needed recovering. So, she conned the neighborhood boys next door by saying she'd buy them a pizza if they would go down and get the couch, they did, and I'm sure they enjoyed the pizza. I think she embarrassed you a few times when she picked you up with a piece of furniture strapped to her car. She had a talent to bring people together and organize an event like the neighborhood Christmas party she did for several years. It was a lot of fun, a lot of work, but everyone so looked forward to it and it brought the neighbors together, more came every year. Tracy's dreams, I believe, were to see her children grow up and for them to remember her. I don't think anyone will ever forget her. She will always be with us, have a special place in our hearts, watching over us, wanting us to enjoy life, get our families together, make memories, and maybe take time to stop at a garage sale for a bargain. Nick, I wish you the very best and much happiness. Love Maureen
32: I knew I would be good friends with Tracy from the first time I met her. She was always a good listener, and a good hostess. We had such great visits to Madison. She loved to entertain. She liked to cook. I enjoyed spending time on the backyard patio with her, taking in the flower gardens she maintained, listening to the songbirds, and watching the kids play. Tracy had incredible energy! I was always amazed at her non-stop activities, be it a home remodeling project, an outing with the kids to the neighborhood pool, or the zoo, or elsewhere, or an art project of some sort. Things she could have easily hired out, like sanding and re-staining window frames for the house. She took great pride in doing these kinds of things for herself. I remember she was always working on something creative. She could take an old wooden chair or dresser and turn it into something beautiful. I also remember how much she liked garage sales and how much she loved finding bargains. I recall an old beat up chair that she either picked up at a garage sale or just saw abandoned at someone's curb for trash pick-up. She brought it home, re-upholstered it and it ended up in the family den, a very nice piece of furniture and a favorite chair. Love, Aunt Peg
33: My freshest memories of Tracy relate to a San Francisco trip. Bob, Tracy, Peg and I went to San Francisco for, I believe, her 40th birthday. The weather was dodgy, but we had a great time. First, we went to a restaurant owned by Francis Ford Coppola for dinner. The Rubicon. We had a nice red Bordeaux (I think a 1989 Grand Puy LaCoste which is a Paulliac). The dinner was excellent. Then, we used scalpers tickets to go to the NFC Conference Championship. The Green Bay Packers against the San Francisco 49ers. Bob was in heaven. He was wearing gear that scared everyone around him, including what looked like a Viking helmet (even though he was not a Viking fan). As luck would have it, we were sitting in the middle of 49er season ticket holders. They were polite, even friendly. Inside the building (e.g. near the restrooms), people were quite hostile to Green Bay fans. It was raining. It was cold. The game was over (with Green Bay winning), but Bob insisted on staying until the bitter, frozen end. We all froze our butts off, and then had to wait to catch a bus. We were all popsicles by the time we got back to the hotel. Tracy was the bravest of us all; I cried like a baby. That is how I remember Tracy: brave, tough, and resilient. Love, Uncle Tom
34: Memories of Tracy by Lois Dougherty: Elgin Memories: Bobbie had a tonsillectomy when the family was living in Elgin. She was scheduled to come home after it was determined that her condition was "stable". A stable condition meant that she could have Jello and ice cream. Maybe she was having some when her mom came to pick her up to go home. That sounded like a pretty good deal. So, Tracy decided to accompany Audrey and me to St. Joe's hospital in Elgin. As we got out of the car, Tracy suspected a conspiracy and refused to get out of the car. Her plan for this trip was to get Bobbie home - not to risk ANY time in the hospital where she could be next in line for a tonsillectomy. (This was not the plan, but Tracy always analyzed and acted upon any situation that she figured might put her in jeopardy.) When Bobbie got home she ate a large dish of Jello which made her sick. Tracy had been watching Bobbie closely and thought all the red Jello was blood. She ran to her folks and said, " Let' take her back to the hospital." Of course, it was not necessary for Bobbie to go to the hospital but Tracy knew that she had made the right decision by avoiding any contact with hospital personnel and letting her folks take care of the "stuff" (aka the blood). I am glad that it was never necessary for Tracy to have her tonsils out. | Pat and Audrey lived in a neighborhood where there where lots of kids and playing was the activity of the day. There were the usual skirmishes and injuries that were settled as they played. Tracy delighted in terrorizing the group when things were getting out of hand. Her weapon: a TOAD. She would go to the window well at their home, get the toad and say, "I kissed the toad" - then run after the rest of the kids and tell them to say, "kiss the toad". The group rapidly dispersed to the safety of their homes. However, there was one kid who called her bluff. He was known as the "hitting kid" and lived a couple of doors down the block from her. During one of these terrorizing adventures, he hit Tracy. Tracy and Bobbie came home to report this counter attack to Pat and Audrey. Pat said, "If he hits you, hit him back." All survived the attack and were back playing together the next day - friends forever.
35: One summer I drove down to Arkansas to visit friends and stopped in Elgin on my way home to visit Pat and Audrey. I got lost on my way back, so it was late at night when I got to Elgin. After explaining my terrifying experience to Pat and Audrey, I went to sleep in the their downstairs bedroom. I awakened in the morning to chatter of neighborhood children who were questioning the car in the driveway. I heard Tracy explain to the group, "That is my aunt's car - she is 40 years old and hasn't found ANYONE TO MARRY HER YET!" Tracy always had the right answers. | Tracy and Bobbie went to St. Mary's grade school in Elgin for a couple of years. Shortly after the school year began, one of the nuns who was at the school asked Audrey to come in and discuss what she believed to be a problem with Tracy. "Theresa does not respond when I call her name." Audrey explained that they used the nickname Tracy, and never called her Theresa. Problem solved and all were relieved that Tracy, well, knew her name.
36: (Lois Dougherty memories continued) Christmas in Elgin: We always visited the relatives before Christmas as they wanted to be at their own home for the holiday. Audrey was a very talented person and made many gifts for friends and family. We left our gifts and after Christmas, got a call from Audrey saying that Tracy and Bobbie got up early on this special day and opened up ALL of the gifts before everyone else got up. Any and all evidence of who was the Santa for each gift was irrelevant to them. It took a bit of thinking for Pat and Audrey to figure out how to direct their thank you notes/calls. But Audrey was something of a "miracle worker" and was able to cope with any situation. She and Pat never knew who planned this activity, but said, "What Tracy didn't think of, Bobbie did - they were in this together." Their activity was really quite normal for curious young people. | Church in Elgin: Claire and I were ready to go to mass with the family. Tracy was clutching her purse and we expected that she must have money for the offeratory at mass. Claire asked Tracy if she had a LOT of money to which she replied that she did not have ANY - just a mirror. She showed us the mirror which was about 1 inch square and explained that this mirror was used to "see what is going on in back of us because dad says I can't be looking around in church." (Tracy was simply demonstrating her usual ability to be resourceful in any situation.)
37: Stumbling up the steps: We always looked forward to family visits from Pat, Audrey and the "gals". On one occasion, Tracy, who was always ahead of the "pack", was running up the front steps at Grandmother Dougherty's home in the Dells. She fell and cut her forehead on the cement steps. Bleeding and crying, Pat and Audrey rushed her off to the local clinic. Dr. Houghton and nurse Ann Nate (a grade and high school classmate of Pat's) prepared for suture of the wound. At this point, Dr. Houghton looked up and saw Audrey - pale and about to collapse as she viewed her bleeding daughter. He immediately asked the nurse to "get Mrs. Dougherty out of the room", and proceeded with the suturing. I don't know how many stitches Tracy had, but she was rewarded for her bravery during this traumatic procedure - Dr. Houghton gave her a sucker which she readily accepted and then told him, "I have a sister at home." I am not sure if Bobbie ever got that sucker. It could also have been used to negotiate a "deal" with Bobbie - only she knows. But they were always looking out for each other.
38: (Lois Dougherty memories continued) A path through the house: A visit to the Dells always involved bringing a lot of "stuff" - dolls, blankets, sleeping bags, books, toys etc. And, cousin Tom had a lot of things that we could use too. All this needed to be piled in the living room so it was readily available. Claire was working at the Police Department so maintaining some semblance of order at 514 Bowman Road was my task. After trying to avoid hazardous trips through the house, I called Claire to tell her that I was exhausted with the effort to maintain safe travel through the house. To this, Aunt Claire replied, "Don't worry, just take a picture and show it to them 20 years from now. Then send them all down to the basement and have them grind corn for the birds." (The coffee grinder that the kids used to grind corn has been elevated to the kitchen and hangs there as a reminder of those happy times.) | Tracy's first job: Summer time in DeKalb provided a great opportunity for making money. Tracy, as well as many friends, were overjoyed with the prospect of having their own money. Illinois cornfields needed lots of young folks to detassel corn. The day started early - about 4 a.m. A large, open truck took all of the recruits to the field for a day of promoting DeKalb seed corn. Each person rode through the field in an elevated basket and detasseled row after row of corn with a knife like instrument. The cornfields were huge and the rows seemed to never end. But, late in the afternoon, the trucks came to bring all the workers back to their homes. There was little energy for anything but to get ready for the next day of the same activity. Tracy had earned her first real money. She had done a great job and the next summer was promoted to a better paying job in the detasseling project. So, Bobbie took her turn riding the elevated basket to learn the skill. One never forgets their first job and their first real money earned.
39: A gifted person: Tracy was a woman of many talents and enjoyed sharing them with others. She and her mother, Audrey, were able to decorate and sew almost anything needed for their homes. She also loved Halloween and made costumes for her children which were later passed to other children to enjoy. Scrapbooking was another of her talents. She would make a book and send a copy of the book to her in-laws in Alaska so they could keep abreast of the family in Madison. Grandmother Gingras, Jean, was very fond of Tracy and said, "She was not a daughter-in-law to us, she was a daughter." This was probably as great a tribute that any daughter-in-law could ever receive. The beauty of Tracy was that she did not struggle to impress people, she was a "natural".
40: (Lois Dougherty memories continued) Fun and Discipline (or lack thereof): One evening, I volunteered to baby sit the children while Aunt Claire and Tracy went to the Overture and Bob was out of town. I knew that the children were well behaved and I did not anticipate any problems. However, Ryan, Nick and Haley immediately saw this time as great for pillow fights and jumping on the beds. (This was not allowed when mom and dad were there so they did not want to miss any opportunity for fun.) As I was trying to save the house from destruction, I noted that Connor had disappeared. Frantically, I asked all three of them to come and help me find Connor. All three responded with a "nope". The outside doors were all closed so I went from room to room - - finally, ending up in Bob and Tracy's bedroom. There sitting on the vanity and with his feet in the bowl was Connor playing with the toothbrushes. He was a smart and resourceful little guy - had pulled open a lower drawer and climbed to this choice place for HIS fun time. I was so happy to see him and grabbed my camera to take a picture for future reference. About this time, Aunt Claire and Tracy returned and the activity abruptly stopped. They all were sent directly to bed.
41: Travel and Jewelry: One of the great joys of traveling is to shop for mementos that will last beyond the trip. My favorite shopping expeditions were for jewelry. Tracy knew of my love for jewelry and what she called "the nice things in life". I purchased a tanzanite ring on a cruise and showed it to Tracy. When she was on a cruise with Audrey, she saw a similar ring and called to ask if I thought it was something she should purchase. It was impossible for me to decide for her but we both thought about the "nice things in life" and she purchased the beautiful tanzanite ring. I later purchased earrings and a bracelet that she borrowed to wear to the Governor's Ball - another of the "nice things in life". Meanwhile, back in Madison, Bob was managing the many activities involved with child care, getting all of the children dressed, off to school, day care, meals etc. and, of course, he was working while the "girls" were cruising. His version of that week would probably be better than my recollection of the report. Perhaps you could ask him if he remembers the experience.
42: (Lois Dougherty memories continued) The Traveler: In September, 1985, Jane Brown, (Bill's mother), Tracy and I traveled to mainland China. Tracy was engaged to Bud Cook at the time and he brought her to the Madison Airport. We departed for an all night flight to Shanghai, China. There were about 200 of us on the tour from Shanghai to Nanking, Bejing, and later to Hong Kong. One of the many highlights of the tour was climbing a portion of the Great Wall of China. Tracy and I climbed both approaches and later joined Jane for shopping. I purchased a crocheted table cloth for $10 American dollars. It is still on my dining room table. Our guide helped us to travel by overcrowded busses to shop for oriental rugs which I still enjoy. (The guide received a portion of the purchase price for whatever we bought. He had been saving for a year to purchase a refrigerator for his home so we were happy to help him and his family.) Later, we all shopped in Hong Kong for dishes, linens etc. Of course, we had to carry everything back in our suitcases as it was uncertain that anything mailed from China would arrive in the U.S. We looked like pack horses as we approached customs and had to account for all that was in our luggage. We sent Tracy ahead of us to "condition" the customs attendant. That worked pretty well as we thought she charmed
43: the attendant. She was a great traveler and we shared many memories of that trip. I also have many pictures of that trip that I plan to share with you. With Love, Aunt Lois
44: Dear Nick, I never had the opportunity to know your mom personally, but it is clear that who she was lives on her children. You are a kind-hearted, smart, and strong young man. You have been through so many difficult points in your young life, but still figure out a way to rise above it and carry on. Your mom would be proud - she is proud! When Bob introduced me to you and the family, you never once made me feel unwelcome or unwanted. I marvel at that because most kids would go out of their way to make it miserable. This is where you embody the spirit of your mother. Her wide heart and her desire to let people in is the mark of a good person. You are a good person Nick and I am personally very proud of all that you have done. You have had made tough choices and those choices will continue to serve you in many positive ways.
45: Continue to make good choices and remember that your mother's love knows no boundaries. It transcends time. She walks with you every day offering her support and love. She is very much a part of this "blended" beautiful family we have. In fact, she is central. Just because I did not know her personally, I know that she is still apart of all that we do. Keep doing good for yourself and others. The payout is large and the personal growth is priceless. I know you will do great things, so does your mother. All my love and admiration, Sara
48: HAPPY BIRTHDAY
49: Happy Birthday Nick. From your family that loves you dearly!