My Mother: With a Nickname Like “The Poofer…”

We're celebrating Mother's Day this year by honoring our own moms here at NBC10. This story in our My Mother series is from NBC10 Reporter Tim Furlong, whose mom a.k.a. Poof played "air piano" and impacted the lives of many in her years as a teacher.
Ya know how you only have those little "flash" type memories from when you were a really little kid? I'm talking like four or five years old. Every time I see my mom, a whole bunch of these little "flash memories" come flooding back.

I see the way she played "air piano" on the top of the steering wheel, tap-tap-tapping her fingers when she was driving and one of her songs came on the radio. I see my mom back when she was a school teacher, doing her "snow dance" with us, all of us bouncing around in our pajamas. It was my mom's superstitious way of somehow encouraging mother nature to give us a snow day at home together.

I remember my mom's eyes lighting up when Neil Diamond's song "America" came on and the way she had to drop whatever she was doing to dance and sing along. I also have more than a few memories of her warm hugs when I needed them.

Alise Furlong, aka "Poof," "the poofer," or "poofie" (long story on these nicknames -- suffice it to say they took root after an "interesting" trip to her hair stylist) had my sister Heather at 20, me at 23 and Greg came along 3 years later. She was a young mom and 39 years later, she and my dad are still chugging along together.
At 58, they are young grandparents to five very lucky kids who are now creating their own memories with my mom. As a dad myself, I know how hard it is to raise children and so I can imagine how tough it must have been to have them so young. I appreciate the enormous dedication it must have taken for my mom to essentially give up her early 20's to raise a family.

My sister was a bit of a surprise to my folks who were sophomores at Shippensburg State. My mom cut her college career short so my dad could finish his and start making some money to keep this young family afloat. I am so proud of my mom and dad for finding a way to make it all work and I am absolutely so proud of my mom for her commitment to our education and her own.

With three kids in tow, she would take us to Neuman College on summer days. We would play outside while my mom took education classes inside. It took a while, but my mom graduated college and went on to educate thousands and thousands of children in Delaware.

I run into people all the time who don't want to ask me about Hurricane's forecast or if "Vai-is-as-nice-as-he-seems-on-tv" (he is) -- they want to tell me stories about my mom and the way she impacted their lives.
My only regret is that, while fooling around at home on my mom's very first day teaching, I cracked my head open on the coffee table. Her celebration dinner ended up being fast food on the way home from the emergency room at Riddle Hospital.

I could go on and on about my mom. I hope she knows how much she means to her family. Her kids love and respect her, her grandkids adore her.

In fourth grade, I had to start at a new school after we moved from Wilmington to Glen Mills. I missed my old friends and every day I had a pit in my stomach and tears in my eyes as I left the house. One day my mom hugged me and told me to "think of her smiling face." Mom, I think about it every single day.


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