This virtual memorial was made for our dearest Carmen,       
           who passed away unexpectedly, at her home in Southern California, 
     She was at her bed, surrounded by the cats she loved, and with her husband,
                            Horacio, who cared for her, until the very end.

                 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 :

                                      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
                                                             A.D. 2019

             - It would be impossible to forget you, as loving memory, is 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 faithful husband,                                    Horacio Ponce  (m.1990)     

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

And, true friends, who                                Joseph "Joe" Marino                                                    remember her fun loving spirit:                  André Barragán

And, in the hereafter, by:                           Thor Helseth  (m.1970)
                                                                     Paul A. Cook Sr.  (m.1959)
                                                                       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 Heavenly 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 a mother., who by that time, had become an absent figure, in her young life.

Then finally, her mother Christina sent for her, to live with her, and her husband, Walter Bade (and daughter Louisa) in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1955, when she was 17 years old.  That's where she attended Central High, and married her high school sweetheart, Paul.  After graduation, she went on to Art School in Chicago, while Paul joined the Marines.
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 epic song "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.
From Chicago, to Camp Lejeune, (where Maria and I were born).  Then New Orleans (where Michelle was born), then Houston (with stops in between, to see our grandparents in the Kentucky mountains).  And finally ending up with her mother again at Los Angeles, we stopped moving, and settled down into sunny Southern California, by the fall of 1972.
"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 mom surmised, that the factory for those cars, must be nearby.  Always the wisecracker, I said, "Yes mom, that car is made in Mexico, and so are you".  We all had a good laugh.  
We arrived late into downtown Monterrey, and starving to death.  But mom knew some people, and before long, one of those restaurants opened up, and we were eating the best chicken tostadas with the best mexican sour cream I ever had.  It was incredible.   Midnight... and the restaurant opened,  just for us.  It was like a scene out of Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks"... except infinitely more exciting, and welcoming.
In the morning, 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 began raising ther tents, while we were there.  It was as if they were celebrating her return.  Thor even started buying the admission for anyone, who couldn't afford it.
My God, there must have been 10,000 people, in attendance.  We soon discovered, after about four acts, of  "Aqui presentando Alejandro, throwing knives, ... y ... Acá 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 die.
But the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and sadly, she died instead, on December 15th, 2018.  
                                  I love you, mom.  We love you.  We always will.                                                                                                 XOXO                XOXO                XOXO

                                      Paul Allen Cook II,  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"

"(Chinese) Food is Love"

Shared by Paul Cook on October 11, 2020
We all know what Chinese food is... right?  With it's bean sprouts, water chestnuts, and fortune cookies.  Szechuan, Mandarin, or Cantonese, with number 6, you get egg roll.
Especially us, in Southern California, where our food is a cornucopia of different counries, and different cultures....all very authentic, where each cuisine, found at nearly every corner of the county (of Los Angeles), is made exactly like the province or state it comes from.  
We are all spoiled here, for the good food from home.
I was spoiled, too.. for the good food my mother made, in our home.
For example.  My mother would make a dish, she simply called "Chinese Food". It was ground beef, green beans, chopped onions, mushrooms and brown gravy, over a bed of white rice. A bottle of soy sauce was placed on the table, for affect. 
But it was the way she cooked it.... that made it so good.  I could never duplicate it.  There must have been secret ingredients, I don't know about,  I had 5 servings, every time we had it.  I ate everyone under the table, when I was a boy.
Thinking about the many wonderful dishes she made, I imagine, she was taught, by my mid-western Grandmother, how to run a household, when she married my father, back in Fort Wayne.  She was a young bride, and the family there must have embraced her, and showed her everything they knew.
I am sure, they had few Chinese restaurants in Michigan, and Indiana, in 1959, so they made due.... with green beans replacing bean sprouts, and other tricks, to add variety, spice, and flavor,  to kinds of dishes unavailable to them.
I can just see my young mother, in the kitchen, with my grandmother, showing her how to make chicken and dumplings.
My mother did the same thing.... making "Chilaquiles".  All they were, were crisped tortillias, fried with scrambled eggs.  But they were so good.  And you never knew how she did it.
This... and a thousand other things, I will miss..... about my mother.

--- Paul Allen Cook "Pablito", March 17, 2019

All Good things must come to an end                                                                                                                           - Geoffrey Chaucer

                                                                 - Page 0 of 6 -

"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 back home to Long Beach by 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 heinous, and 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 6-