Christmas time with Mom

Christmas spectacular was just kind of “corny, musical” Mom loved and would drag me to, whenever she could. I would make excuses about there are no “blacks” in the show, but it didn’t matter to Mom. She loved everyone and all kinds of music. She had a love of life that impacted everyone around her. She started a daycare at 50 and a food program she managed until she was 82 years old.  She loved life and taught me well about having faith and always trusting in God.

Mom passed away on Christmas Eve 2008. She told me she was leaving and I didn’t believe her. She knew she was in too much pain with arthritis and heart failure to enjoy life, so she left. She had done so much for so many that she was given honors by every organization in Kansas. She was to receive a medal from Pres.Bush, but was too sick to travel. She started a federally funded food program to give children in home daycares nutritious programs.  She was active in the NAACP and once sued the federal company for discriminating against African Americans for failure to hire them on Schilling AFB, Salina, Kansas. She drove a food truck in bitter cold and scorching heat, when she should have been working in an office on base. She had attended community college and was very intelligent. I got a position years later with other African Americans, as clerk typist on Schilling AFB, as a result of her suit.

I was in college because she sacrificed to ensure that I attend college. ” too poor to have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of” she told me as I went out of state to attend a Historically Black University, Lincoln University of Missouri. It was a cultural shock to say the least, growing up in a predominantly white Kansas town. There were barely 300 African Americans in my hometown of 30,000. There were 4 of us in my graduating class in 1961.  My Mom drove me and a friend to college in the Fall of 1961 in raggedy, old station wagon. Many of my Lincoln classmates came from middle class families and they arrived in new cars with beautiful ship trunks that opened with hangers. Mine was an old trunk, I painted metallic gold. It was a different world and it changed my life forever.  Mom was not sure about how I changed but she always supported my desire to be a college graduate.

I thought I would major in journalism or English until I took a college English class. It was more than I wanted to do. I was an average writer, but I could be above average, if I was willing to work. I did enough to earn above average grades, but I didn’t major in either of my original careers.  I was recruited into education classes because there a big demand for teachers. Mom gave me the gift of believing I could teach. She had told me this every since I was a child.

Well I think Christmas is all about “giving” I will always believe Mom was the best “gift” of my life. She once brought a pink Smith Corona typewriter for me to write a book, I never did. I wrote biographies of African American women and dramatized them in schools, churches and Mom’s 80th birthday party. She taught me senior citizens loved to learn too. She attended all my graduations and encouraged me to complete my Doctorate, which I never did. I believe I was blessed to have my mother in my life. She was a gift from God.

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