Thursday, March 3, 2016

Momma Mia

January 15, 2016
Maria Herzig was born on December 30, 1929 in Shuen Ecken, Germany - a tiny village in the Eiffel Mountains. She immigrated to the USA as the bride of Willis Earl Alley, a farmer from Arkansas and a Corporal in the US Army.  Earl paid the Herzig family two cartons of cigarettes and a few pounds of coffee for the privilege of making Maria his wife. As a new bride Maria looked forward to a new life in America, away from the bloody mess of war and from the sadness and shame of being a fatherless child in the 1920's.  Her husband spoke German fluently and he was a communications expert during World War II. 
Earl typed military code at lightning speed, but his ability to decipher Maria's emotional needs was understandably lacking.
Arriving to the USA as a previous Hitler's youth to a southern gentry family with roots in Arkansas, Maria met with a lavish amount of disapproval. Brigham Young University analyzed massive data and concluded that social isolation was as deadly as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, or being an alcoholic. Isolation proved to be twice as harmful to a humans survival than obesity. A vast accumulation of research indicates that the root cause of heart disease and stress comes from feeling isolated.   "Fear of Intimacy" by
Maria Herzig age 7
Robert Firestone, PHD and Joyce Catlett reveals that emotional neglect in a person's childhood leads one to avoid becoming transparent in any loving relationship.  The sad, earnest seeker for connection is fully aware that life is precious, but they fear that the sting of abandonment is eminent, as death is inevitable. The lonely often display an intolerance of touchy, feely affection that is clinically noted in all family relationships.  Research confirms that the "seeker" of adoring attention maintains a negative self-portrait which is projected onto her family.  The connection Maria had to her core being accelerated in the
Maria age 17
latter years of her life.  Consequently, her lifelong quest to "feel" connected and loved by her children and others improved.  Maria came to accept the temporal nature of life and began to invest her passions fully at the end.   With a weak heart, Maria Crane suffered a stroke on March 2 and slipped away into an eternal slumber on March 3, 2016 .  Maria Crane was a well loved woman around the globe, even by people she never met face to face ---- because of her great compassion towards the broken-hearted, as a sensitive soul, Maria Crane poured out love in emails to people who shared her spiritual beliefs.  "Sensitive people are the most genuine and honest people you will ever meet. There is nothing they won't tell you about themselves if

they trust your kindness. However, the moment you betray them, reject them or devalue them, they will end the friendship. They live with guilt and constant pain over unresolved situations and misunderstandings. They are tortured souls that are not able to live with being unwanted or being rejected. This type of person needs the most love anyone can give them because their soul has been constantly bruised by others. However, despite the tragedy of what they have to go through in life, they remain the most compassionate people worth knowing and the ones that often become activists for the broken-hearted,
forgotten and the misunderstood. They are angels with broken wings that only fly when loved." ― Shannon L. Alder -- An entire chapter in a book entitled "John of God and the Casa of Love" was dedicated to her work in Brazil.  She is survived by her son Ben Alley, daughters Mary Dinkel, and Barbara Hoyle.  Her grand children David Bartlett, Jason Newell, Blake Alley and Eric Alley.  Maria
Crane requested to be remembered for her service to God. "Stuff that needs to be said" is reflected in this piece shared among her children. It was written by John Pavolitz: "On the day I die, a lot will happen. A lot will change. The world will be busy.  On the day that I die, all the important appointments I made will be left unattended. The many plans I had yet to complete will remain forever undone.  The calendar that
ruled so many of my days will now be irrelevant to me. All the material things I so chased and guarded and treasured will be left in the hands of others to care for or to discard. The words of my critics which so burdened me will cease to sting or hurt me anymore. They will be unable to touch me. The arguments I believed I'd won here will not serve me or bring me any satisfaction or solace.  All my noisy incoming notifications and texts and calls will go unanswered. Their great urgency will be quieted.  My many nagging regrets will all be resigned to the past,
where they should have always been anyway.  Every superficial worry about my body that I ever labored over; about my waistline or hairline or frown lines, will fade away. My carefully crafted image, the one I worked so hard to shape for others here, will be left to them to complete anyway. The sterling reputation I once struggled so greatly to maintain will be of little concern for me anymore.  All the small and large
anxieties that stole sleep from me each night will be rendered powerless.  The deep and towering mysteries about life and death that so consumed my mind will finally be clarified in a way that they could never be before while I lived.  These things will certainly all be true on the day that I die.  Yet for as much as will happen on that day, one more thing that will happen. On the day I die, the few people who really know and truly love me will grieve deeply.  They will feel a void.  They will feel cheated.  They will not feel ready.  They will feel as though a part of them has died as well.  And on that day, more than anything in the world they will want more time with
me.  I know this from those I love and grieve over.  And so knowing this, while I am still alive I'll try to remember that my time with them is finite and fleeting and so very precious—and I'll do my best not to waste a second of it.  I'll try not to squander a priceless moment worrying about all the other things that will happen on the day I die, because many of those things are either not my concern or beyond my control.  Friends, listen to what the Spirit is saying! Those ridiculous worries about what others think keep us from truly living in the moment. Striving for attention, or competing for affections  rob us of the joy of this unrepeatable, uncontainable, ever-evaporating NOW!
Be alert, and pay attention to those God placed in your life and LOVE them. Love them face to face or from afar.  Don't miss the chance to dance and laugh with them in person, on the phone, or on Facebook! All communication speaks the truth, it says "I care, and I love you"  It's easy to waste so much daylight in the days before we die. What we think matters steals so much of our moments! On
the day we die,nothing at all will matter one bit!  Yes, you and I will die one day.  But before that day comes: let us choose to LIVE with wild abandon of any imaginations of a reputation ruined because of our expressed passion for one another!  Maria was the only child of Barbara Herzig who was unable to take care of her.  Maria was immediately adopted and raised by her three aunts in Shuen Ecken.  She worked in the family coffee shop and read books as they were made available.   From a very young age it was clear that Maria possessed a passion for learning.  As a child, Maria lived in a rural part of Germany. She was only ALLOWED to help at the family store when no customers were there. Sadly she remembered being hidden in a closet when the small village customers arrived as she was the shame of the Herzig family. 
During World War II, Maria was forced to march in Hitler’s youth and her job was to bury the dead horses.  Shortly after May 7, 1945 Maria married Willis Earl Alley, a US Army Intelligence Officer.  Her first born Joseph Bennett (Ben) Alley arrived in 1949, followed by her first daughter Maria Jeanette (Mary Jane) born in 1950, followed by her last child Barbara Sue born in 1951.  Maria spent much of her
married life in Stockton, California where she worked as a secretary for Alley Insurance.  She was able to travel back to Germany to visit family and friends often.   Her changed life as a mother and wife in the United States was noted by her peers and family in Germany. When she met her husband Earl, she hoped that her life would drastically improve, but moving to a new country proved to be stressful.  Maria divorced the father of her children and lived and worked as a secretary for many years in California before she returned to Europe to work in the library of the
America House in Brussels.  James Crane, the Director was persistent in his pursuit to date Maria.  She told us with a smile, "Jim stood on his head in front of my desk until I said I would go to dinner with him!" Jim quickly proposed and they traveled to Ireland and were married at Gretna Green. After many years travelling together, James and Maria settled in Santa Rosa, California.  Maria took up
painting and delighted in her new passion.  Maria took care of Jim while he lived with Parkinsonism.  Jim died in 2002 and in 2003 Maria traveled to Brazil to learn more about John of God. She moved to Brazil to work at The Casa De Dom Inacio as a healer.  Maria moved back to the USA and settled into the university town of Rohnert Park, California where she acquired many new friends.  In October 2014 Maria returned to the Casa for a short visit with her long time friend
Dick Selby.  Dick dedicated chapter 5 of his  book entitled “John of God and the Casa of Love” to our beloved mother.  Maria was predeceased by her mother Barbara Herzig, and both husbands Earl Alley and James Crane.  All her children shall forever treasure many fond memories of various adventures with their ever eccentric, but beloved Momma Mia!   She was affectionately referred to as “Momma Mia” because of her whimsical ways and because her German family called her “Mia”.  QUOTING MARIA “When I was 73 years old, I arrived at the Casa and John of God took my hand, looked into my eyes and said  ‘I want you to be a daughter of the Casa’. Later that same day John asked me to give a talk on love, which I did.”  Psalm 68:5 "A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling." Deuteronomy 10:18 "He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing." You are loved Momma Mia by our heavenly Father, and the kids you brought into this world, and so many more in Brazil, Germany, New York, Chicago and India.


  1. I was awakened this morning with many fond memories of special times with my mom. Vividly remembered my mom walking us down East Worth in Stockton to visit Mr Pusies, an old immigrant from Russia. We brought him sponge cakes for every Christmas. I remember having Christmas Eve dinner at Joe's Mexico Cafe in downtown Stockton. I remember giggling as I peeked through the keyhole at the age of five at my mom trying to plunge our pet spider monkey named "Sue" into the bath water at our home on El Dorado Street. I remember mom applauding that I hammered nails on the heels of my patent leather shoes so that I could tap, tap, tap like Shirley Temple on the fireplace hearth. I remember mom driving me at age 14 to San Francisco Haight the sixties, in the green see if hippies were all that bad. Momma Mia left the keys ontop of the car, we strolled the street window shopping, enjoyed a cup of coffee and a pastry, then returned to discovered that hippies were peaceful, honest people because the keys and car were still there. Remembering a road trip to Hollywood and we placed our hands in Shirley Temple's prints at the Chinese Theater. Remembering enjoying a two day Downtown Abbey fest with my mom as she recovered from a surgery. Remembering coffee and coohan in Trier, in Shuen Ecken, in Brussels, in Brazil, and in California with my beautiful mother. Remembering her saying Pupe, let's have some tea". I remember telling my mom "I love you just the way you are. Your unique ways have always included curiosity and adventure. Your uniqueness is my blessing, and I assure you Mom, I wouldn't ever have wanted to trade you in for a 'normal' mother....ever!" I will miss you Momma Mia.

  2. Communications from my soul mate amigas: My Dearest good sorry to hear about your mom. It is hard to watch our moms decline and wither from their full blossom. Your plate has been overflowing with dust under your lovely feet...and I believe a busy mind and hands are best. I update my mom's Online memorial daily with pictures and all comments put on Facebook. How others fondly know or remember our parents is great to read. Their role as mom is different than the character that they portray on the stage of life. We shared great moments all cuddled up in her bed in January... and I praise God for his mercy and grace on her soul. God has given me Peace about her final destination...and I too keep myself busy...the Frida Society meets for a fashion show on Monday, and I volunteer in the garden At the historical train station...fingers in the dirt, mind in heaven. Mom gave each of her kids a spirit of adventure and her absence made us independent...some times, too independent on ourselves and not God. The FINAL CRUISE of Sandi Patty...our room is midship...not ocean cabin number assigned. $500.00 deposit per person required....I am certain it will sell out quickly as many on her 2016 cruise are going on her last songbird sail. I hope you can come. Mike and I are in the midst of remodeling outside our Casa, new tiles, new paint, new plants, a home with all the standard USA home include majorly improved water pressure for our showers. All to be finished next week and Mike is taking me back to the beach in Manzanillo for a few days. Away from all electronics...with the fullest intention to allow the waves to crash and wash all my mind and soul chatter away. Ben, Mary and I will reunite to spread mom's ashes. No date or time picked just get...probably meetup in Phoenix. Take care my dear...and get your hands in your garden! Spring is about to be gloriously unleashed. Love and hugs, Barb --------------------------------------------------------------------Oh Barb, Thank you for the day brightener!! You are a gifted writer!! I am running out in the rain today to Sacto...I have 2 doctors speaking to a group of attorneys today at a lunch I am hosting. Hope to just veg ...this weekend!! I will have some time to think about the cruise and if that would work for me. and blessings...and prayers as you remember and memorialize your beloved Momma Mia! She certainly blessed you with an abundance of and adventuresome soul.......Much love to you and Mike! Diana ------------------------------------------------------Barbara, Thank you for the nice email. You learned many positive things from your mother and you are honoring her by sharing your lovely memories with us. Grieving must take place and going through pictures and "things" help that process. I still miss my special mother and look forward to being with her in heaven, as you look forward to being with your mother in heaven. God is good. It would be so much fun to cruise with you but February doesn't work for us to travel because of Ron's work schedule. Let's do something fun together this summer 2016. Have fun in Manzanillo. Love, Bobbi Wignall

  3. CHILDHOOD MEMORIES BY MY BROTHER "CAPTAIN BENITO" AKA "BENNY" The next few years were foggy because my sisters showed up. They got more attention, of course, but I would punish them on a regular basis. The family had moved to the San Joaquin Valley where Dad had found employment. Life in Stockton improved our family situation. Mom did some work in the carnival for a while...they would put her in a box and saw her in half. At four years old, this would freak me out a little. Dad drove a taxi. Dad's second job was selling stuffed animals door to door. Like I said, Mom, being European was always doing some strange things to us. The problem for me was that on a certain Christmas, a special outfit was presented to me. I was so excited thinking it was a brand new Cub Scout uniform. That wasn't it. Opening the present, in front of the whole family, to my horror appeared this forest green pair of German leather shorts with all the trimmings (Bavarian hat and knee socks). Dad just smiled, he wasn't going to wear it. I was "show and tell" at school for days. Classroom to classroom, they would march me around. Church on Sunday was real special. At least I got to take off the Robin Hood hat with the feather sticking out of it. I would drag my butt, on the sidewalk, on the way home just to wear a hole in the shorts, but I just managed to give the leather a good shine. We had some strange pets. I wanted a dog so, we got a monkey. Suzy, the spider monkey, was even more cunning than my sisters. This old circus performer could steal your cookies with her tail using her hands or teeth to distract you. Life was a little scary at our house. Mom would dress Suzy in a pink tutu and walk into Safeway. That was funny except I looked like the organ grinder next to her in my outfit. My sisters were angry little women with pigtails. I love them still. They were younger and made my life interesting. I continued to change from wanting to be cowboy to being a pirate and now I live in Mexico and enjoy the Sea of Cortez with family and friends. The Bean has not had the courage to visit…yet.

  4. My mother, a bohemian woman, a prolific thinker, an artist, a writer, a staunch Democrat who believed in peace. She stood knee deep in the bloody World War II - she was a survivor, and she possessed a wry wit through it all. She was considered an eccentric by all the standard conservative Stepford housewives of the 1950's. Her children mourn our tremendous mother and we take with us cherished individual memories of her fight not flight from what can be a cruel world. She was the first Beatnick to wear thigh high boots that were made for walking...and she dazzled in her duality as an American mom with a firm German heritage. Recounting her amazing struggle to "fit" in would be like trying to explain the intricacies of oil painting to a blind person. She was fierce in her political and spiritual beliefs, but diplomatically, she simply shrugged her elegant shoulders whenever people held opposing philosophies. It has been a week since she closed her eyes for the final rest...and this blog post is to honor my mother in a timeless, in a never to be ashamed of her ways. I love you Momma! Your youngest, Barbara Sue!