Today would have been my mother’s ninety-first birthday. She suffered from a number of ailments at the end of her life—no one worse than another—until the collection of maladies claimed her in 2000.
The daughter of a carpenter, Mom grew up like a tomboy working beside her father, becoming as skilled at swinging a hammer as transcribing dictation, an occupation girls learned in the 30’s. She could nail two-by-fours with the best of them, yet was able to pause long enough to repair a ripped hem or make a pan of spaghetti for five. My earliest memory is one of her on a ladder at my grandparents’ home, painting the siding while I fell into the fishpond, a sputtering five-year-old who thought I’d drown in two feet of water.
A timid person, Mom met my dad on a blind date—he was a twenty-one-year-old man of the world, she was a recent high school grad. When World War II loomed and my father was drafted, he asked if she’d marry him. They wed November 8,1941, three weeks before Pearl Harbor.
Using her secretarial skills to find employment, Mom followed Dad from assignment to assignment, traveling the East Coast working for the Army as office clerical staff. When Dad’s infantry unit shipped overseas to Europe, Mom came home, commendations from her superior officer in her hand.
Together they reared three children to their teens before Dad left her a widow at age forty-six. Dusting off the rust from her clerical training, she surged forward, typing invoices for a local lumber mill. She poured herself into her children, finishing the job she and Dad began by making certain my younger siblings and I arrived on the threshold of adulthood intact.
Though she had opportunity she never remarried, a testimony to her love for my father, devotion she carried to her grave. Setting an example for us to follow, she taught us to work hard, respect others, and love unreservedly. Thanks, Mom. You are missed.
Proverbs 31:10 “For who can find a virtuous woman? Her price is far above rubies.”