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HINSEY-BROWN FUNERAL SERVICE
Two locations: 7355 S. State Road 109, Knightstown (765-345-7400) and 3406 S. Memorial Dr. in New Castle (765-529-7100)
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CONDO & SON FUNERAL HOME
Funeral services, monument sales. 130 S. Main Street in Wilkinson. Call 765-781-2435.
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Ramblings by Rose Mary

Please refer to the Ramblings by Rose Mary main page for columns published in other issues.
Rose Mary can be contacted via e-mail at rwclarke@mibor.net.

 

 

 

 Mother Was a Liberating Angel

"Everything I am, I owe to my angel mother." - Abraham Lincoln

Mother's Day memories float to the surface of my internal being's pool of experience. My mother loved to hear the wrens, and one is singing as I write this. ...

Styles of mothering range from that of helicopter mothers who hover over and manage their children even into adulthood to hands-off. I was a stay-at-home mom, unlike Vicki, who has had to work. I asked her what was the best thing that she did for her sons.

"I never tried to run their lives or let them expect me to do everything for them. They learned to do laundry, cook and manage their schoolwork. This taught them to be independent and to be responsible for their lives." Remembering how I wasted time and energy trying to drag her through math, I realize that she was wiser than I.

"My children are my career," said Bill's sister, Pat, who raised six children. "They say that I have eyes in the back of my head. They don't know it, but actually I have very good hearing."

Pat's daughter-in-law, Mary Jo, wrote about her farmwife mother, "I don't know how Mom did it all with no modern conveniences, limited income, and the thought of cooking three large meals a day is hard for me to even comprehend. My dad worked very hard, but mom was on 24/7. He never got up with a sick child or stayed up late putting the hem in a “must-have, to-die for” dress to be worn the following day. After they lost their money, Bill's darling mother cut up her silk and satin evening gowns and made fancy lingerie for his sister.

I asked my friend Jean, who is over 10 years younger than I, about her mother, who came from a family of 13 (!) children. Jean choked up. "Oh. ... She sacrificed everything for me. She started working when she was so young that she lied about her age to get a job. My parents were working class people, and for me to go to college was a really big deal."

My own story parallels hers. My miserly grandfather told my mother that she'd have to quit school and earn her own living after eighth grade. She cleaned a Knightstown physician's house. Married at 16, she raised five children during the dire poverty of the Depression. After my father lost his sight, she became a floral designer at the greenhouse and augmented her meager income by babysitting in order to send me money for college.

Some mothers face unimaginable hardship. I remember well Mary Bundy of Knightstown who took care of two sons - Bob and my buddy, Jack - during the many years of their slow disintegration from muscular dystrophy. The best and bravest mother I know is a cheerful, 40-something, hard-working colleague and single mother of a teen-aged daughter who cannot talk, walk or take care of herself.

The lives of women like my mother and Jean's are more akin to those of my ancestresses whose graves Vicki and I visit in the old family cemetery near Michigantown than to those of women today. For many years, my mother cooked on a cast iron range, used a wringer washer, hung the laundry on a clothesline, baked the family's bread every day, wrung the necks of chickens and cleaned them, canned hundreds of quarts of vegetables and fruit, went down the path to the outhouse, took baths in a laundry tub and had few vacations. When I was a girl she wore a corset and cotton house dresses and had one good dress for church. "You've come a long way, baby, to get where you've got to today." Virginia Slims commercial.

Many younger women can't imagine the struggle that the suffragettes went through, including being reviled, spit upon, jailed and having their sanity examined for wanting to vote. Barbara Reuter, Jean's mother who is in frail health, told Jean, "I just hope I live long enough to vote for a woman for president!" Her dream came true when she cast her vote for Hilary Clinton in the primary. It's been a long time coming, baby!

What a difference a generation makes! As I write this, we're with Jean and her husband, Bill, at a lovely condo that overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. The affluence and, above all, the personal freedom that I enjoy were just a fantasy for our mothers. God bless America and my angel mother who made it possible!

 

 

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