Mom never went to high school; it was mostly for city kids back then. She grew up in the Missouri countryside, a long time before there were public school buses. The stock market crashed in 1929, when Mom was six years old; she lived through the great depression, likely affected only by the stories the old folks told.
Don’t know when she met Dad; they were married in 1943, when Mom was 20 and Dad was 32. Settling him down must have been a real chore, as Dad had been hunting, fishing and trapping all his life, and was likely quite set in his ways. Of course Mom’s interests were always the family, the house and the garden — and later, her “outside” job. My recollections of Mom center around the meals — wild game, fried chicken, meatloaf, home-made jam and bread. Also, she bought our clothes and taught us how to dress, and of course — how to act.
Mom delivered six kids, five when she was in her 20’s and early 30’s — and the last one was a surprise at age 42. To help make ends meet, for a family of eight, she started working outside the home as a
waitress in a small restaurant in Palmyra; she worked the 11-7 shift, as we only had one car and she needed to be home in the evening with the family. Apparently nursing paid more than waitressing, so she took a job as a nurse’s assistant at a hospital in Hannibal.
For reasons I’ll never know, she decided to study for and earn an LPN certificate, despite never having attended high school. Perhaps my ambition came from Mom’s genes, rather than Dads. She spent the rest of her career in health care and was the Administrator of the Maple Lawn Nursing Home in Palmyra, when she retired.
She lost Dad in 1989, after 45 years of marriage; and lived alone the next 23 years, surrounded of course by kids and grandkids. Mom understood the aging process, from her time at the nursing home, and never let it bother her. In her later years, she sold her house and moved into an old folks duplex and from there into a nursing home. She died of natural causes at age 89 and I still fondly remember that last “knowing” hug. We buried her beside Dad in Mount Vernon Cemetery. What great memories; what a great mother!