RECOLLECTIONS -- If I could have lunch with a person who would that be?
The first person to come to mind that I would want to have lunch with would be my lovely mother. Not only because she was my mother, but for the person she was to everyone she met. Maybe I should explain.
Mom grew up in a family of five children working extremely hard to make ends meet. When Mom married my father in 1929, the Depression was making it harder for middle class folks. The thing I remember about Mom is the unfailing way she gave herself. She worked a terrible job at the International Shoe Factory during the day, but had to come home to the rigors of being a wife and mother, She was artistically inclined and was able to fashion clothes for the family without a pattern. She created her own patterns. I don't think I appreciated the hours she worked making special dresses and formals for the school prom. I can still hear that Singer sewing machine humming away late into the night that finally put me to sleep. Then I remember the unselfish ways she welcomed our friends to our home and made everyone feel honored to be there. I was so proud of my mother then, that I wanted friends to come and have a taste of what a true mother I possessed.
As time went on, I grew up and married. I longed for time to spend with my mother, but I was busy with my own family of five children. By then my folks had moved miles from Marshall and I was not able to see my parents as often. Letters were my only means of keeping in touch, as phone calls were rather pricy. I still have many of those letters today as I clean out boxes and shelves.
My father passed away at a young age, leaving Mom alone in Washington, Mo. She continued to work in the shoe business and walked a long distance across town to her job in all kinds of weather. She never complained as she said it was good exercise. She was very frugal, learning that from a young age. I know now that trying to make ends meet after my father died must have been hard. She always had gifts for our kids and when we would visit, she cooked the most delicious meals.
One day my father's cousin saw Mom at church and told her who he was. He asked her to to a movie. A friendship developed. The two had a lot in common, thus they enjoyed each other's company. Wedding bells rang and they enjoyed 15 years together until my stepfather died from a stroke. Mom was left alone again. She never complained, and kept up her canning, embroidery and quilt making. I always enjoyed going to see Mom and spending a few hours that were never enough.
Finally Mom had to give up housekeeping. We had lived in various cities around the state of Missouri and had come back to Marshall. Mom never expressed any desires as to where she wanted to live when she couldn't live alone. I think about the many places we moved her to and yet she never complained. I was still working, so seeing Mom was hard to do. She lived with us for a while, but we always had to move her to respite when my husband had open heart surgery, or some other crisis. Mom never complained. She accepted what had to be, but always said I never stayed long enough to visit with her. She was now 97 years old. I never had any idea she would not be with me in the next year. She had survived so many crises. She was a strong woman, never complaining.
A call came early in the morning. "Your mom needs to go to the hospital, as it is her heart," said the caller. We placed her in a wheelchair and gave her oxygen to help her breathe. I called our pastor, who came and anointed her. I sat in her room all day, never speaking, as I didn't want her to try to talk since she was having difficulty breathing. Had I known that this was the last time I would be able to tell my mother how much I loved her and to thank her for all she had done for her family, I know I would not have hesitated. Since that day there have been so may times when I wanted to have a chat with my dear mother. Mom was buried on her birthday, Aug. 5, 2011. She would have been 98 years old.