Sidney Cardel

Honoring my mother

After graduating from Florida State University in 1981 with degrees in Fashion Merchandising and Fashion Design, I told my mother I would one day have a store named after her. "Really?" she replied, "I would be honored."

Today, I'm the one who is honored.

Sylvia Sidney McCardel Thomasson was a woman of outstanding character who touched many lives throughout her own. A native Floridian, she was the youngest and only child of eight siblings to graduate high school where she was valedictorian. Continuing her education over the years the years, she received her Specialist, Master's and finally Doctorate of Education.

My mother did all of this while both working full-time in the education arena as the vice president of a college and raising her family with my father who managed a thoroughbred horse farm in a small, central Florida town.

Besides being an educator, she was an extraordinary writer and prolific artist -- and this is where she first used the pen name, 'Sidney Cardel.' I've always loved this name, and I am sure the creative gene I used in opening our store also came from her... so thank you, Mom!

Our father had a heart attack in July 1999. My siblings and I traveled to be with him and our mother around the clock for three consecutive days. We prayed and consoled one another, holding on with the last threads of hope. On the third day after his procedure, we were overjoyed to learn he would be okay. With great relief, we all went out to dinner to celebrate Dad's heart!

We awoke the next morning only to receive the devastating news that our precious mother had passed away that very evening from a massive heart attack. The irony of it all was surreal. While our father lived six more years, our lives indeed changed forever on that day.

I fulfilled my promise to my mother in 2011 when Sidney Cardel's opened its doors for the first time. My favorite photograph of my mom inspired our logo. My parents were on their honeymoon, and dad took a photo of my mother standing by a palm tree, looking so fabulous and happy.

I miss her every day and take comfort knowing that she and my father are together... happy and healthy. They are in good hands with our Heavenly Father, and I believe they are celebrating Sidney Cardel's for my daughter and me. I am most fortunate and blessed to have my daughter, Cara, working with me. I am so proud of Cara and know her Grandma and PaPa feel the same.

Thank you for allowing me to share our story. We welcome everyone and hope that when you visit us in our store, you feel the same positive and loving spirit from us as we felt from her... Sidney Cardel.

With much love and appreciation for your business,
Cathy Thomasson