Quiet Strength - An Essay About My Mom

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
How my mother, working without much of anything, successfully raised and educated three children by herself, with a lot of help from God.

Submitted: August 14, 2012

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Submitted: August 14, 2012

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“Quiet Strength” – An Essay About My Mom

My Mother didn’t have much to work with except what Fred, my Dad, had arranged before he left us for good in September, 1949, but she managed to raise Patty, aged 7; Kitty, aged 4 and me, ten years old, to adulthood, saw to it that all three of us finished high school and attended the local Nazarene church on a fairly regular basis.  Dad had brought us from Arizona to my uncle Beryl’s little chicken farm in the semi-arid San Jacinto Valley and stayed with us long enough for him and Beryl, Mom’s oldest brother, to build the little stucco house which we would call home. That little homestead provided us with blessed sustenance until we each left in turn, I when I turned eighteen.

Even though we had only a small monthly check, Mom maintained a AAA+ credit rating at every place with which she had reason to do business; the bank, the grocery store and Dr. Mead the local GP.  If something was needed for which we couldn’t pay cash, and only then, she could take care of it with her simple promise to pay.  We paid Dr. Mead, for example, one dollar a month for as long as I can remember for the medical services he provided for her kids (I don’t remember her ever going to see him about herself.)

We wore hand-me-downs mainly, inherited from our two cousins, Beryl and Florence’s kids.  Mom had an old Singer which she played, it seemed to me, like a fine instrument when she modified and repaired those dresses and shirts for our use.  And one year, when pink and black were all the rage among my peers, she acquired some material and made three beautiful shirts for me.  She made a few dresses and things for herself also.  I don’t think she ever wore anything store-bought unless it was something that had been given to her by some kind soul.

Mom was born with an enlarged heart and lived in a physically weakened condition all her life.  She was always overweight and, perhaps because of that, had very weak and painful ankles.  But that didn’t prevent her from, when she could, walking the rural road for a quarter mile to catch the bus so she could work for a few hours as a housekeeper to earn a few dollars.

My Mother was very close to her Bible and spent a lot of time talking to God.  Knowing what her priorities were, I know the majority of her prayers were for me and my sisters.  Her two goals were to get all three of us as close to the Lord as possible, and to see that we all finished high school.  Through her very strong insistence, and with the help of a wonderful elderly couple, the Owenses, she was able to get us to Sunday school and church most Sundays.  And, largely through her insistence and prayers, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour when I was about fifteen years old.

Mom taught me and my sisters so many things by her example.  She set for us a beautiful example of love and loyalty, keeping an undying love for her absent husband in her heart until the day she died and making sure that we always held him in our hearts with love and respect.  She taught me how to maintain balance between being the “man of the house” and, simultaneously, her little boy, and made sure I was constantly aware of the value and preciousness of my little sisters (even though I didn’t always show it in ways they appreciated.)  She was soft-spoken, gentle and humble by nature, but she possessed a quiet inner strength that gave her the ability to guide and lead us kids in the way we should go.

After she had seen her children raised and on their own, and after hearing nothing from or about Dad for over twenty years, she took steps to become single again.  Not long after that she met a grand old widower who lived right next door to the little Baptist church where they met.  They were married in 1969 and I was able to visit and meet him just before their marriage, on my way back to Vietnam.  She and Will were able to provide a home there for her mother until she died.  After Will died at age 94 she sold the house and went to live with  Kitty.  They bought a house together and she lived there comfortably and well taken care of until she died at age 84.  Each and every one of those hours of comfort were very well deserved.  She was, and is still, a saint and one of my heroes.


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