In our last post, we described a most important person in Nancy’s life while she was growing up in Gettysburg, her mother, Grace Hartman Ogden. For our current post, we choose to comment on an important person in my life, my mother, Elizabeth Houck Westerdahl.
Mother was only three when she saw her own mother, Elsie Pearl Clopper Houck, buried in York, Pennsylvania. Her mother was descended from Cornelius Janzen Clopper who arrived in New Amsterdam (Manhattan) in 1630.
Elizabeth loved to cook for large family dinners and her expertise in the kitchen was admired and enjoyed by everyone. One of the secrets of her culinary skills was a generous amount of butter and cream in many of her dishes, but despite those risks to good health in her own diet, mother lived to be 101 aided by good genes by those who preceded her.
From her home on Lincoln Avenue in Gettysburg, mother walked to work at the Bookmart on Chambersburg Street every day for many years. What better place to be employed than a bookstore since reading was her life-long hobby and passion.
Throughout her life, Elizabeth was fastidious about her personal appearance and anxious about the image projected by her family. When in public, she was well groomed and well dressed, and she expected as much from her family.
Mother Westerdahl had a stroke in January of 2010. For the next five days, she smiled and laughed with those who loved her most, then she died quietly in her sleep, content that she had lived a long and satisfying life.