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Willem Lange Remembers 'Mother'

Photograph courtesy of Willem Lange
via The Valley News
Ida Lange is pictured with the Langes' German shepherd, Hans, at the top of Three Brothers near Keene Valley, NY, in the summer of 1959.

VPR has learned of the passing of Ida Lange, wife of many years to long-time commentator Willem Lange, who’s written a remembrance of her that appears in today’s Valley News.

Listeners may remember that Ida made frequent appearances in Willem’s columns and commentaries, but never by her given name.

Somewhere in our archives, we have a commentary in which Willem explains that Ida forbade him to use her name in his public writing, offering him instead a choice between 'Her Majesty' and 'Mother.'

Willem chose the latter.

When some listeners complained that it sounded unenlightened and patriarchal, Willem defended it for its old-timey quality and implied respect for the challenge of raising children.

And besides, Willem said, it was according to her wishes.

Eventually, he more often simply wrote 'my wife and I...' but my best recollection is that Willem never broke that promise.

Ida Lange died on April 12 at age 78.