This virtual memorial was made for our dearest Carmen,       
           who passed away unexpectedly, at her home in Compton, California, 
     She was in her bed, surrounded by the cats she loved, and with her husband,
      Horacio, who cared for her till the end, so thusly, has my deepest gratitude.

                 We shall remember you always, in our hearts and in our minds. 
                                May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

                                            Cómo te extrañaremos
Posted by Celia Cook Shaneyfelt on April 12, 2020
Dear beautiful Carmen.
When I was a child you were the exotic beauty of our family and I wanted to grow up to be you. When I got to know you as an adult I saw that your true beauty was from the inside.
Posted by Paul Cook on September 8, 2019
All that I am, I owe to my mother.  She was everything to me. She is where I came from. She is who I am and will forever be.

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Celia Cook Shaneyfelt on April 12, 2020
Dear beautiful Carmen.
When I was a child you were the exotic beauty of our family and I wanted to grow up to be you. When I got to know you as an adult I saw that your true beauty was from the inside.
Posted by Paul Cook on September 8, 2019
All that I am, I owe to my mother.  She was everything to me. She is where I came from. She is who I am and will forever be.
her Life

Dedication :

                               Here with, is the only, and everlasting memorial of
                                                   - Carmen Maria Cook -   
                                     As created and remembered by her son,  
                                          And presented to the world entire,
                                      Upon the first anniversary of her passing. 
                                            The 15th of December, 2019  A.D.

           - It would be impossible to forget you, as memories, are all we have now -

Survived by :

Her loving son(s),                                           Paul Allen Cook
                                                             Armando "Mando" Cervantes          [by consent]
Her loving daughters,                                      Maria Allred             (and William Allred)
                                                                      Michelle Helseth         (and Juan Rodriguez)

Her loving husband,                                    Horacio Ponce (m.)     

Her cherished grand-son,                                 Xavier Allred
And cherished grand-daughter,                Luna (Clara) Rodriguez    (aka Moon Helseth)

And, in the hereafter, by:                            Thor Helseth (m.)
                                                                     Paul A. Cook Sr. (m.)
                                                                   Robert and Nellie Cook
                                                            Walter and Christina Tovias-Bade

 And:                                        Everyone, whose life she touched, and those, her.
      God Bless You  --------------   We Will Miss You Dearly  ---------------  Rest In Peace

In Memoriam :

It was the story, we always heard ...

She grew up in Monterrey, helped run a small neighborhood market with her grandmother, and celebrated her quinceañera, without her mother.

Then her mom "sent" for her, to live with her, and her husband, Walter Bade, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1955, when she was 17 years old.  That's where she went to Central High, and married her high school sweetheart, Paul.  She then went on to art school in Chicago, after her graduation.
Her all time favorite movie was "Grease", because she said that high school at Fort Wayne, "was exactly, like that movie".  When Don McLean's lyrical "American Pie" came out, she waited by the radio, to hear it again and again.  One day, she explained the whole song to us, and what it meant.
"You can't go home again", she began saying, after she returned to Monterrey in 1975 to settle her mother's estate.  Traveling across the country, I swear we heard the song "Eres tú", every hour, on the hour, on the car radio.  The minute we crossed the border at Laredo, we began seeing a lot of these fun-looking, open-air vehicles zipping around us on the highway. They were called, "the Thing".  It was a convertible Volkswagen jeep, and we surmised that it was made in Mexico.  When we arrived into Monterrey, mom saw that the city had changed so much,  Her childhood home was replaced by a high-rise.  However, we did happen to catch a traveling circus passing through her old neighborhood.  They had began setting up their show.  It was as if they were celebrating her return..  My God, there must have been 10,000 people, in attendance.  We soon discovered, after about four acts, of "Presentando Alejandro, throwing knives,...Y aquí presentando Alejandro, taming the tigers"... that it was practically a one man circus.  It was such a hoot.  We had the best time, ever.  Thor drove us back home to California, with some cajeta (mexican caramel mom couldn't find anywhere else), and she never went back to Mexico again.
She continued raising us, and caring for us, even as Maria left for the army, and Texas.  Even as Michelle broke out on her own, with a successful fashion shop and family.  Even as Mando and I left her Magnolia Apartments, finally cutting "the apron strings"--- God knows I did not want to.  I would have preferred to stay by her side, as her dutiful son, until the day I died.
But sadly, she died instead, on December 15th, 2018.  
                                  I love you, mom.  We love you.  We always will.                                                                                                 XOXO                XOXO                XOXO

--- Paul Allen Cook, and all family members.                                                                                                                March 17th, 2019
Recent stories

------------------------------- Eulogy and Remembrance ---------------------

Shared by Paul Cook on November 3, 2019
                                 "As long as you are spoken of,  you are with us"

"Henrietta and Georgina"

Shared by Paul Cook on September 23, 2019
It was September 11th, 2001.  Mom was babysitting a large gentle dog (named Diablo), that Michelle owned, while she traveled to Indonesia, to get objects d'art for her store.  Mom kept Diablo on the large loft, next to her laundry room, where she kept 2 chickens, Henrietta, and Georgina.  Mom had a big heart, and loved to keep those 2 chickens as pets, rather than see them on the dinner table.  They were sweet, and friendly.  The minute you went into the laundry room, they would come close to you, and stare at you.

Somehow, the dog got access to the laundry room, and began chasing the chickens, wanting to play.  The chickens panicked, and fluttered wildly.  They were half dead, when Mom discovered them in the laundry room, after about midnight.

She called me crying.... "Paul, I have an emergency, Can you find an all night vet, and take me there.--- right now?".  She had each chicken wrapped in a towel, comforting them ever so carefully.  I knew they were goners, they could not even keep their little heads up... they were dangling down, but their eyes were still open, and they were cooing.

I found an all night vet in Irvine, and we jumped in the car, and drove there.  It took hours to get there, find a sympathetic veterinarian to help us, and to admit them, while he told my mother that there was little he could do to save them.  Still, my mother insisted he treat them, the best he could, and to update us, when we got home.  That vet was very nice to my mother.  Of course he was.  I was there, to make sure.

We got home at 4:30 am.  Mom was still worried.  I told her, "Mom, at least they had someone to comfort them, I'm sure that if they die, they'll die happy".  I went to my apartment, down the hall, and went to bed.  I knew mom could not sleep.  I heard activity from her apartment.  She probably had her TV on, and was doing housework, until she got sleepy herself.

I was awaken an hour later, by her calling me on the phone..."Paul, the vet called.  He said Henrietta and Georgina died peacefully, without any pain".  I said "Oh, Mom, I'm so sorry".  Then she told me to turn on my TV, and look at what is happening,  World War Three has begun.  I said, "What?"  I turned on my TV in my bedroom.  I saw the New York skyline, and the Twin Towers.  It was daylight in New York.  

Then I saw a jet plane, deliberately hit one of the towers.  It was surreal.  Was I watching a movie?  But from the commentary by the newscasters, I knew.  I knew with a sickening certainty, that it was all too real.

I had turned on the TV, in time to catch the second plane, hit the other tower.  My mother was right.  It was World War III.  Or so it seemed.  They say war is hell.  Well, what I witnessed, was hell on earth, that morning.  To see it, was the worst day of my life.  First, my mother's heart was broken, by her chickens dying.  And then, the most tragic event America ever experienced, occurs.

I thank God that I was with my mother, when those things happened, and I am very glad to have been by her side, during that terrible day. 

--- Paul Allen Cook "Pablito",  September 23rd, 2019                                                                                   

And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died
                         -Don McLean, American Pie

                                                                     -1 of 5-

"Looks like we made it"

Shared by Paul Cook on September 29, 2019
December 31st.  Nineteen ninety-nine.  I found myself alone in my apartment on New Year's Eve, for some reason.  My mother lives down the hall, and I happen to know that she will be watching Dick Clark, and not going anywhere. We just got back from Costco, and she bought champagne for the evening along with 2000 lbs of cat food. Typical.  Use me, to shop at a warehouse, and lug heavy bags upstairs.  She of course, gave me a couple of bottles of champagne.  After all, she had 40 bottles.
My best friend Gus called me later.  He said he was coming over.  So, we were going out and do the town.  I thought, "Great, now I have somebody to go party with, at the Los Angeles Y2K New Year celebration, publicized as the party of the century, and akin to the Ball Drop at Times Square... but here, at the west coast, where I live".
I couldn't wait.
He arrived, but with his wife, and kids.  It wasn't going to be the hell raising boys night out I had imagined.  I said, "Fine, that's so nice, that you're with your family... because I'm bringing my mother, also".  I poured them some champagne, and ran down the hall, and asked my mother if she wanted to go to the party of the century.  She did.
So, we all left, in my car, to go to LACELEBRATION2000.ORG.  I knew it was on 5th and Grand, and I filled the tank off Willow, before getting on the 710. My muffler on the car was rattling for a week, and it decided to fall down, just as I left the gas station.  There was this amazing shower of orange sparks, as I went down the street.... There were a lot of people out, and they were cheering as I went by..... they thought we were celebrating the New year, already.  Gus was a mechanic, and we stopped before the on-ramp, and he re-attached the muffler with a coat hanger, and we continued on our way.
At the crowded festival, the kids went one way, and Gus and his wife went the other,  I was a little disappointed, as I thought that we were all going to enjoy the New Year's together.  At least, I was with my mother, and I was having a good time.  So, my mother and I went straight down the thoroughfare, to get closer to the center stage,  Various bands were playing.  Shania Twain was one of the headliners
The countdown came.  The band stopped playing.  It suddenly became quiet, except for everybody in unison, counting down from 10.  We were all surrounded by skyscrapers.  You could hear the countdown being echoed so distinctly.  You could only see glass towers, and dark sky, when you looked up.
Midnight.  They played a recording of Auld Lang Syne. The stage was dark.  Suddenly, there were fireworks.  Everywhere.  Made even more intense, by their reflection, from all the buildings.  Night was turned into day.  It was spectacular.  And everyone was hugging and kissing and embracing each other. I hadn't hugged my mother, and wished her a Happy New Year yet.  It didn't occur to me, at the moment, to do so.  But before I knew it, she said "Come here, Pablito", and hugged me hard, and wished me a Happy New Year.
I was always shy, and reserved, around people. I didn't show my emotions.  I was always "the new kid in town", growing up, and I didn't have many friends, and I became a book worm.  I realized, at that moment, that Mom was different.  I had discovered something about her,  She was no stick in the mud.  She was a happy soul, and knew how to have fun.  She would say, many times.... Don't be a kill-joy.  She was my mother, but she was also her own person, full of life, and wasn't afraid to show it.  I see that many times, in photographs she has, taken before I was born.
I said "Happy New Year" to her.  The fireworks stopped, Auld Lang Syne ended, and there was complete silence, and darkness.  Then we heard a booming voice, that started singing....LOOKS LIKE WE MADE IT...LOOK HOW FAR WE'VE COME NOW, BABY... a spotlight came on stage, and she continued singing.  Applause came from us.  Loud applause.  Applause that seemed to last forever.  But Mom and I continued to embrace.
It was my mother, who was always there, at every milestone of my life.  And I can still feel her hugging me.

--- Paul Allen Cook "Pablito", September 29th, 2019

                                                                        -2 of 5-