Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Wild Child

Oh no!  Not this cute little child on the photographer's pony!  This picture was taken in Ohio, before the family moved to Texas.
That's my Mom, who was born 98 years ago, on February 15, 1913.  She's been gone for eight years now and sometimes, I still catch myself thinking that I need to ask Mom this, or that.

Mom was the eighth of nine children, born eight years after my Aunt Marie, and six years before my Aunt Dottie.  Named a very demure Marjorie Anna, she, apparently, didn't live up to that demure name at first.  Aunt Dottie told me stories, oh my!

  Like the time she got on the school bus and bopped all the boys, who had been bullying her younger nephew, on the head with a good, thick school book.  And, then, threatened them with much worse if they ever bothered him again.  Years and years later, when that nephew went back to visit the town in Texas where it happened, the men were still talking about "that spitfire Margie."

Or the fact that Aunt Dottie, whose bedroom was right next to my Grandparents, would often hear them talking, late at night, about what they were going to do about Margie and her escapades.  She, apparently, was quite hot stuff, and the boys knew it.
 But, it turned out, they should not have worried.  Because Mom had a core of steel, and, when the need arose, while she was still in high school, she stepped up and did what needed to be done.

Grandmother was diagnosed with cancer at that time, and, as she got sicker and sicker, Mom took over more and more of the responsibilities of the house.  Her Father and one of her older brothers were living there at that time, along with her young sister, a niece and a nephew, children of one of her older sisters, who was divorced and forced to be away trying to find work.  The wild child was now wild no more.  She had a family to care for, and no time for such nonsense.  I think that this is probably a picture of her when she graduated from high school.
Of the six girls in my Mother's family, five went to college.  Mom did not.  She graduated from high school just as the depression hit and there was no money to send her.  So, she stayed home and took care of the family until the farm was lost to foreclosure and the family was broken up.  Mom ended up, after a couple of years, in Rochester.  She came here because her older sister was living here at the time, and there were jobs to be had.

Mom was busy working during hard times.  She didn't make much money, lived at the YWCA, and struggled to support herself.  She didn't do much else, except go to the movies, which she loved, and, occasionally, went to a dance that was held every Saturday at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio.  It was there, when she was in her late '20's that she met my Father.  He was ten years older than Mom, and everyone had thought that he was a confirmed bachelor, but, Mom changed his ideas about marriage, apparently.
They were married in 1943, when she was 30, and Dad was 40.  This is her wedding picture.  Mom is in the middle with her best friend Gertrude on the left and Gertrude's Mother on the right.  No fancy white dress for Mom, she chose something more practical, that she could wear again.
They honeymooned in Niagara Falls.

Dad was drafted shortly thereafter and served a short stint in the Army.  In New Orleans no less.  But, because he was older, and because his company asked if he could be discharged because they needed him to support their war effort manufacturing, he soon came home.  They settled in with my Father's Mother and, in 1948 became a three generation in one house family, when I was born.
From then on, life was good for Mom.  She loved this house where I still live.  She relished being home and taking care of me, and Grandmother.  Her life revolved around her family.  She and my Dad were happily married, until he died in 1990, almost 50 years.
So, the child who had been such a worry to her parents all those years ago, became a model of propriety, a well loved wife and mother.  She died February 14, 2003, just hours before her 90th birthday, a spitfire to the end, but a very proper one. 

A good life, well lived.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

23 comments:

Tammy said...

What a beautiful tribute to your Mom and so well written, that I found myself wanting to know more about her! The things people of her generation went through always amaze me. Thanks for sharing.
Tammy

texwisgirl said...

Oh wow! To think of all the 'exciting adventures' she gave up to tend to her father and siblings; then later to her mother-in-law, husband and daughter. But it sounds like she had a wonderful life, filled with family and love. What a wonderful post, dear Louise. She must have been a wonderful woman.

Dreaming said...

Oh, wow! What a wonderful story. Your mom was such a hard worker and so dedicated to family. I love that you are in your original home.
I also catch myself wanting to ask my mom about things!

Canyon Girl said...

What a lovely tribute to your Mom. I love it that you live in their house and I can just imagine that you would ask her questions in your mind. I still do.

Madi and Mom said...

Louise what a beautiful story of your Mom. What a lovely couple you Mom and Dad were too!!! My Mother-in-law's name was Margie Alice. It is amazing how similar their stories are from looking after their families to moving to a big city to meet their older husbands. Margie always had a big smile on her face. I'm pretty sure I could not have endured all your Mom and my MIL did during their early lives. Good bless them for their love and loyalty to those they loved.
You had your Mom with you for along time.
On yesterday's post my father in law is the elderly gentleman standing on the right side of the church. He was 50 when my hubby was born and 54 when my bil was born.
Madi and Mom

Woodswalker said...

I was moved to tears by the love and admiration so evident in your story about your mom. How wonderful that you had the photos, too!

Sharon said...

A very loving tribute to your Mom! You are so fortunate to have heard the stories of her childhood on up and have those pictures!

Happy Birthday, Margie, you would have been 98 now!

Lori Skoog said...

Louise...I love this tribute! Of course my favorite photo is the first one! What a cutie...and her spunk made her my kind of woman!

Janet said...

Wonderful tribute-loved the photographs !

chook said...

wonderful post and pictures. she was quite a woman! it's almost like they made them different in the olden days.

Jim said...

A step back in time that looked so familiar.....so similar to my parent's early years. Louise, thanks for sharing this with us. You must really feel like 'part of the woodwork' in that house. Great post!

IsobelleGoLightly said...

How lovely, Auntie Louise!! That is a wonderful tribute to your mom! I love her bathing-beauty photograph! woo woo!

Sheri said...

Happy Birthday, Marjorie. What a wonderful post, Louise. I really enjoyed hearing about your Mom and it's so nice you have the photos. Priceless!

Vicki Lane said...

A great post, Louise! Thanks for sharing this wonderful story!

KB said...

You are a wonderful storyteller. I think that I would have liked your mom a great deal. A steel core... but a wonderful wife and mother. It's amazing that you live in the family house. That must give you a real sense of belonging and being home.

Happy Birthday to your mom. I'm glad that she was blessed with a long and happy life.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Hello Louise!! What a touching tribute with wonderful pictures as well!! I so love family history and it's posts like this that remind me of why I do! Thanks for sharing a part of your history with all of us today!

Terry said...

That was beautiful, Louise.

Dar said...

What a blessing, to be surrounded and reminded, daily, of your heritage. Your parents could have been mine. What a lovely tribute. Happy Birthday to your Mom, I'm sure she hears you.
BlessYourYearningHeartLouise

oh, I looked up the insect site, thanks for the link. It has not helped yet, but I will find our culprits. Thanks again

Kritter Keeper at Farm Tails said...

louise...this was superb! first of all, i love the fact that you choose to live in that house which tells me you are an old soul and cherish your past. it was very sad for me to read that despite her hard work that the farm went into foreclosure. it looked like her childhood home was beautiful and her clothing was very very nice which also tells me that having to give up that way of living would have been devasting! the poor thing! i am so glad life turned for the better and your dad was very handsome! thank you for sharing with us your beautiful mother's personality. she is an inspritation to me and like so many in her time she is to be revered and respected!

Tina said...

What a lovely entry! And indeed a life well lived and loved.

kattsby.com said...

Wow ... what a joy to read this story about your Mum! A wonderful life, and how great that you're still living in the house.
MY Mum was born the same year as yours, and they married the same year too. I wasn't born until fifty five though, my brother forty five.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Wonderful story of your Mom, sounds like you have many memories. I too was born in 48 but to a 17 year old Mom who was a child herself.

Gillian Barfoot said...

I loved this story so much I read it twice. I feel like I already know and love your mom -- what a survivor (and that swimsuit photo... oh my)! Thanks for sharing this.