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THE GOODS

Mother's Wishes

May 06, 1997

Roses are red and violets are blue, but some Southern California moms would rather have a water pistol or some dirt to celebrate their loving years of hard labor on Sunday.

No shrinking violets, these moms. We asked momhood at large to tell us what the dream gifts would be on Mother's Day, and 850 mothers weighed in with the presents they would give themselves. Here are some of the surprising answers.

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What I want for Mother's Day is inexpensive, requiring only some time spent in careful shopping and evaluation. I want a small, discreet, plastic water gun. It must be leakproof and hold a fair amount of water. I intend to carry it with me wherever I go, and every time some 19-year-old clerk with black fingernails and purple eye shadow asks me if I want my senior discount, I intend to squirt her right in the face with it.

THELMA SANDERS

Lake Forest

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Send me for a week's vacation to the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla--to a spacious cage with a well-oiled exercise wheel and 24-hour room service. Like the institute's pampered mice, let my brain cells increase by 15%, restoring my pre-motherhood memory and mental agility.

JANE ULMAN

Sherman Oaks

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My dream gift for Mother's Day would simply be to have a child and to be a mother. Dale and I have been married for 10 years and we would love to be parents.

DENISE KUHN

Yucaipa

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I have a simple gift in mind: a hug and a "Happy Mother's Day!" You see, I'm a stepmother. We stepmoms kind of get forgotten on Mother's Day--but I have sung the children to sleep, made birthdays special, helped with homework, gone to the emergency room, laughed, cried and lived with two boys for almost their entire lives. I'd weep with joy if I got even a 1-ounce bottle of stinky cologne.

MELANIE GALUTEN

Santa Monica

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For Mother's Day, I can think of no better gift than to get all the turtles and tortoises in the world that are abandoned or in need of shelter.

SUSAN TELLEM

Los Angeles

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I want his birth, without pain; the day he got lost . . . and found, without terror; the day he moved out, without anger. I want the gift every mother wants: the wondrous joy without the inevitable loss. I want his sweet innocence forever, not just for the instant God gave me.

KATHLEEN VALLEE STEIN

Monrovia

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My wish for Mother's Day that is better than gold is to see my grandchildren cancel all credit cards with the exception of one major card.

DEMETREE WEATHERS

Beverly Hills

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For Mother's Day, I want a rose, a flower or a weed named after me. In all my 69 years that I've dug, pulled, sifted, pruned, got bitten and attacked by thorny plants, it would be wonderful for someone to say, "Come see what's in the garden. It's philomena."

PHILOMENA D. ROW

San Gabriel

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What I would like for Mother's Day is not something anyone can buy. In late February, our beautiful, bright, goofy daughter, Sunny, died unexpectedly. She was only 26 and was just finishing her photography degree. What I ask of her friends and our family is, do you have pictures of her? Is her voice on your answering machine tape somewhere? Do you have letters or poems she's written to you? Do you have any silly stories or recollections of her?

Since I can't have my daughter on Mother's Day, what I would cherish the most is memories of her.

SANDY SUDWEEKS

Costa Mesa

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I would welcome a chauffeur-cook for the remainder of my children's pre-college school days (five years). This dynamo would gladly assume my self-proclaimed nickname "Schlep and Wait," then run home at 5:45 nightly to prepare and serve an edible dinner by 6:20 without complaint. Gift-wrapping not necessary.

ELLEN SEIDEN

Los Angeles

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I am the mother of inquisitive 4-year-old twins. My perfect Mother's Day gift would be a mug without any pictures, words or artwork of any kind. Then, maybe, sometimes, I could drink my morning tea without answering, "What's that say?"

KAREN DANNENBAUM

Topanga

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Dirt!?!? Actually, dirt and a whiskey barrel.

My family was amazed (maybe worried) that my dream gift seemed odd. Redoing my garden is an obsession (no groceries, no laundry). I will be finished by Mother's Day and would enjoy the day planting my barrel.

MAUREEN GEBLEIN

Lake Forest

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What do I really want for Mother's Day? A realistic magazine about the life of part-time working mothers. Sample articles: "Am I Soccer Mom or a Lawyer Mom?" "The Day I Mixed Up My Son's Cleats and My Legal Briefs."

A first-time subscription comes with a pair of glasses with special powers. When worn by a mother, every model in a nationally circulated fashion magazine will automatically appear 40 pounds heavier. When worn by a teenage daughter, every boy with a prominent tattoo and/or at least two pierced body parts will no longer be considered a viable date.

JOAN WAGNER

Long Beach

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The gift I would really like is a call from UCLA's Kidney Transplant Unit. That call would give my only son a chance for a near-normal life off the dialysis machine that he is on more than three times a week.

ETHEL F. POLOS

Claremont

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