Posted by: patwogan | September 2, 2008

My Mom

My Mom was possibly the most positive person I’ve ever known.  She had such a strong faith that we in the family always asked her to pray for us as she had a straight line to God.  That faith haed definitely been tested many times in her life.

Mom was born in 1907.  Her early years were spent in a small community north of Sycamore, Kansas, called Radical.  She had one brother at the time who was several years older.  When she was two years old, her baby brother Dale was born,  Her father was an alcoholic and her mother was a very young woman.  Mom always said her Dad was a mean man who apparently mistreated her mother.  Mom’s mother died when Mom was eight years old.  Mom later said she thinks her mother must have had a miscarriage and her father refused to get medical treatment for her.  I think she arrived at this conclusion by the fact that she remembered her Mom was pregnant when she died. 

After her mother’s death, a great deal of the care of her younger brother fell on Mom’s shoulders.  Her father’s mother also apparently helped with the care, although it is not clear whether she moved in with them or not.  Mother was always very close to her younger brother even after they were both adults.  She was always close to her older brother, too, as he had taken over a lot of the care of both of his younger siblings,  If I am correct in this, my Grandfather remarried a few years later.  The woman he married was only a few years older than Mom.  They had a baby boy when Mom was seventeen years old and she always referred to him as her baby brother.  The two of them were very close as adults.  His mother just disappeared when he was a young boy.  She was never heard from again.  Somewhat of a family mystery especially given my Grandfather’s history of alcoholic abuse.

Mom attended school at Radical until she completed eighth grade.  Her father thought that was enough education for her and refused to send her to the High School in Montgomery County.  Mom did not think she had enough education so she got a job keeping house and cooking for a family in Independence for board and room so she could continue her education.  I cannot imagine the courage and desire it must have taken to make that move.  I am sure she felt blessed that she had that family to care for and who must have cared for her.  She graduated from Montgomery County High School and attended the Junior College for a year.  Sometime during this time she met my father as they were both staying at the same boarding house.  I really don’t know why my father was staying there, and wish I knew more about this period in their lives. 

They were married when Mom was about twenty years old.  When she and Dad were married, she became very close to his parents and Grandma Hudiburg became more than a mother-in-law to Mom.  She was always very fond of Dad’s family as they were of her.  I think Grandma took the place of the mother she had lost so early.  At the time, my Grandparents were raising their Grandson whose Mother had died during childbirth.  Mother became a somewhat surrogate mother to him and both were very fond of each other.

After my Grandfather’s death, we moved to the farm across the road from Grandmother.  My Mom did not work outside the home, but worked very hard milking cows, raising chickens, taking care of the farm and making a home for us.  She killed and “dressed” chickens and sold them for extra money.  She also separated the milk and sold the cream for added income.  She always had a large garden and she and Grandmother canned vegetables and fruit for the family.  Dad worked in town in an office .  Life was good. 

We would attend an occasional movie and a night out consisted of going to Timmons’ restaurant in Independence for a bowl of chili or a hamburger.  Mom and Dad didn’t have much money, but I don’t think I really knew that.  We were happy…or at least I thought we were.

When my Mom was thirty-nine years old she and Dad got a divorce.  My Dad may have been going through a mid-life crisis, I really don’t know, but he had found someone else who apparently was more to his liking.  Not only did my Mom lose her husband in the divorce, she also lost his family.  From the perspective of adulthood, I think these people grew apart long before the divorce.  Mom was a very strong personality, and Dad needed someone who was more compliant.  I really don’t know and I am glad they did marry, but sorry the divorced.

After the divorce, my Mom had to find a job.  She had never been in the job market before, except for one year when she had worked at J.C. Penney during the Christmas holidays.  She had taken accounting in Junior College and got a job as a bookkeeper at a local nursery.  It paid very little but apparently was adequate with the supplement of child support which she received from my Dad.  We moved into town into a small house and started making a new life.   She took an accounting class at the Junior College and honed her skills.  We made it with a lot of help from God. 

After I had married and left home, Mom remarried a man who took wonderful care of her.  When I was twenty-one, they had a baby.  My baby sister was just what my Mom needed.  When Rose Mary was five years old, her Dad died, leaving Mom alone again with a young child.  I am so thankful she had Rose Mary who I know gave her a reason to go on.  After her marriage, my younger brother chose to go live with my father and I know this was a heart-breaker for her.  Later on, her younger brother, also an alcoholic, was killed in a tragic accident,

My Mom was probably the most generous person I have ever known.  She didn’t have much in the way of material things, but what little she did have, she was always willing to share with those who were less fortunate. 

Her faith, although tried in so many ways, remained strong until her death.  She also transmitted that faith to her family by the way she lived her life.  She was my hero!

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Responses

  1. She was a truly amazing woman. Remember how she used to always ask for toilet paper and paper towels for Christmas? How she, in her mid 80’s would visit the “old people” at the senior citizen home? I miss her tons!

  2. Pat,

    A very tender story. I had a little tear with my coffee this morning.

    Nella


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