I have been meaning to write an entry about my mother for quite awhile now. She isn't an easy person to write about. To me she is a multi-faceted person and very complex, and I say those things in a good way.
Her parents were two of the best people and most influential people I have ever known. I have written about my grandfather quite a bit and intend to write more about my grandmother in the future. While growing up she was the second of five children and the only girl in the group. Her brothers were onerous boys so she grew up knowing how to take care of herself and also grew up with a pretty good sense of humor. Like all of her brothers she is very intelligent and did well in school. She never went to college like her brothers did however there have been many times when I have caught myself wondering what difference a college education may have made in her life.
She learned a lot from my grandmother on how to keep house and how to cook and she learned these lessons very well. At the same time she was raised more strictly than her brothers were mainly from a religious point of view. She had to wear dresses all the time and stuff like that. As near as I can tell she never was the athletic type although she did love to watch sports, and still does to this day. She watches the Chiefs and the Royals with regularity. I am not sure but I think her favorite team of all time were the Cincinnati Reds "big red machine" that featured Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench and Pete Rose. It just seems to me like she really got into that World Series more than any of the others, excepting 1980 and 1985 when the Royals were in the Series.
She married my dad and followed him to El Paso, Texas where he was stationed with the Army. When dad went over seas, I think she came back to Kansas City. She bore four children starting a year after the marriage in 1950. Carol, Elaine, Myself and Bob were basically three years apart in our ages. Then came the ultimate test for any woman. Actually it was a test most women probably would have failed at doing.
One night dad suffered an aneurysm in his brain. The doctors told mom that there was very little chance of survival and even if he did survive, things would be rough. Dad survived and things were rough. She faced the daunting task of taking care of dad plus all four of us kids.
I know that the money was tight for a long time after dad came out of a coma and began to work his way back to normalcy, but it would be a long road for both of them. She would have to give dad shots to relieve the pain in his head and later on would drive him to the clinic to get the shots. Dad went and got a job at Rycom and did his best as a father to support his family. He did a marvelous job. Mom had the other side of raising the family to take care of. She believed that a mother should stay home and raise her kids. She began to take in baby sitting to make extra money for the family while taking care of her own four kids during the day and then dealing with dad in the evening and at night. It was not an easy thing to do and I think she deserves a lot of respect for all that she did for the family.
She did a lot for the family. I can remember several times when dad was unable to drive that she towed us kids around to different activities. She and dad made sure, with the help of Mr. Allard, that we all got the chance to play sports. Personally I can't remember her missing any of my baseball games during the summer. Games were usually played on Saturdays so she wasn't having to tend to her babysitting duties. She made sure all of us had the chance to learn music and to play piano. I think she likes music as long as it is the right kind. She went with us when dad dragged us out to Lake Jacomo to fish every summer which brings up one story that happened on one of those fishing trips. She never fished choosing instead to sit in a lawn chair and read a book. She had positioned her self behind me and with my wild casting, I manage to hook mom. Among the things we caught on those fishing trips other than fish were boots, tires, and mom.
I remember having a seventh grade band concert at school and dad was not feeling well enough to go. Mom took me to the concert and listened to it, which was sacrifice enough just listening to that band. She was terribly embarrassed when one time they stopped the baseball game because I was out in center-field dancing around with a full bladder, unable to concentrate on the game.
She took care of all of the finances and made sure the money was spread appropriately to get the family through from month to month. She more or less ran the family and I think she did a pretty good job of it.
How far would she go to make our lives as normal as possible with dad's illness was shown to me one dark February night. The school was having a dance and I had a date. Cindy was the first girl I had taken to a dance and probably one of my very first dates. She lived in a semi-rural area between Grandview and Martin City. It was a fair distance to her house and on the evening of the dance it began to snow. She decided she would give it a chance though and drove through all that snow to Cindy's house and back again after the dance. It was not an easy drive and I was really nervous as she drove through the storm. I was always nervous when she drove but that night in the snow was especially nerve wracking.
She supported her kids in all that we did but she also expected that if we were to have outside activities, then good grades must be kept up. I wasn't too good at keeping my grades up, especially after I started high school. She was patient with me though and I managed to finish High School and graduate early, mostly because of her pushing me to get better grades.
Once all of us kids were grown to the age of being able to take care of ourselves, she went to work outside the home as a tax consultant and book keeper. As intelligent as she was it did not take long for her to move up the ladder in the little office and before long she was towards the top in the small company where she worked.
She continued to work up until retirement age and now sits home with dad, both retired, enjoying life together.
Over the years I have distanced myself from a lot of my family. I am not sure why but I have. I have this wall around me that kind of keeps getting in the way. I am not as close to her and dad as my siblings are. There have been issues arise between me and my folks and I am not going to point the finger at them or me not do I think it would be of any use to bring up any issues here. That is not what this post is about.. Probably in reality isn't anybody's fault just the way emotions come out at times, especially my emotions.
I can say this however and I can say it proudly. She was and is a good mother. She spent a lot of her life going beyond the call of duty that the usual woman with four kids would face. She has faced these challenges most of her life with grace and dignity. It never stopped her from helping others out when help was needed. She got that from her parents. She has stood by my dad for over sixty years now, never wavering in her commitment to him.
There weren't many women with her skills, intelligence and strength back in the early sixties and certainly there aren't many women like that around today. She was given a challenge and took it and made the very best of it that she could and did a fine job of it when most women would have walked away from it.
So thanks mom for all that you did despite the road blocks thrown up in your way. You did a good job.