Now You Know

Great Moments in Seattle Mom History

Mother's Day is just around the corner.

By Matthew Halverson March 28, 2016 Published in the April 2016 issue of Seattle Met

On April 2 you can attend something in SeaTac called MommyCon, which promises to hold forth on everything you need to know about wearing your baby and potty training. Or you can stay home and study local maternal trivia to wow your guests at next month’s Mother’s Day brunch. Choose wisely.


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Mother of Invention

Magnolia stay-at-home mom Helen Malsed invented dozens of toys, often using her son as a one-person focus group. But it was her decision to frankenstein a (wooden) wiener dog with a wire coil that earned her the most fame. Malsed sold the idea for the Slinky Dog to James Industries in 1952—without which, it’s worth noting, Jim Varney may never have lent his voice to a Pixar film. 


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Oh, Mama

Ann Dunham, who one year earlier moved to Hawaii upon graduating from Mercer Island High School, returned to Seattle in 1961 with her newborn child—a bouncing baby boy named Barack, whose first rattle is rumored to have been shaped like the head of future GOP senator Mitch McConnell. 


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Swift Justice

Less than two years after her daughter was kidnapped and murdered by a felon out of prison on work release, Mercer Island’s Ida Ballasiotes successfully pushed for the Community Protection Act of 1990, which requires some “sexually violent predators” to remain in custody after their prison sentence ends. Before dying in 2014, Ballasiotes went on to serve five terms in the state legislature.


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Hey There

Brooklyn-based one-man indie-rock band Say Hi to Your Mom (Eric Elbogen) moved to Seattle in 2006. Two years later it/he shortened the name to Say Hi, because apparently it/he had become reacquainted with your mom.


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No More Cover-Ups

Cool: In 2012 the Seattle City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting businesses from asking breast-feeding moms to stop. Not cool: The council had to take that step because mothers continued to be harassed despite the existence of a state law allowing public nursing.


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After the Seahawks stumbled in the first game of 2015, Delisa Lynch—aka the woman who birthed Beast Mode—earned the adoration of 12s when she blasted Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on Facebook, calling him the “worst play caller ever.” Best mom ever.

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