Tuesday, April 10, 2012

things my mother told me

There were no Christmas trees in her home when she was a little girl, because of her mother's extreme allergies and asthma...her mother died when she was eight years old [actually 5 days before my mother's nine birthday]...her father sent her to live with her Aunt Sue and cousins Mary Edna, Florence, and Herb Glenn who lived less than a half mile away...there were Christmas trees at Aunt Sue's...and fireworks at Christmas.

My mother felt unattractive, awkward, and an outsider in school...she tried to make friends with Negro children in the community and was taunted by white children with the classic "n...r lover"....she refused to say "colored" like most of the white people she knew growing up and she certainly wasn't going to say the "n word".

In the teacher program at Martha Washington College my mother was taught to play the piano, simple music to accompany children's singing...she learned a wide range of basic arts and crafts, none of which she was particular good at, so that she could help children develop their artistic talents...she learned lots of children's games like "Simon Says," "Red light, Green light," "Duck, Duck Goose," "Poor Pussy," and many others in college, none of which she had played herself as a child growing up until her mother died in a house full of brothers.

Virginia schools only paid teachers 9 months of the year. The other three months teachers had to fend for themselves...so that she wouldn't have to go back home she worked as a nurses aid in the state mental hospital...she lived in boarding houses with other unmarried working women...the last boarding house she lived at in Sandston, Virginia was next door to a boarding house for men...the owners of the two houses decided to introduce the women and the men and planned a Valentine's Day party...that's how she met my father.


Geraldine said...

thanks for sharing these memories Sue.

I miss my mom so much. memories can be so comforting though...

I enjoyed reading this.

Glenda said...

What wonderful stories your mother shared with you. To think how sad for a little 8 year old to lose her mother. It's so important for us to have those stories to hand down to our children.

Love hearing your stories!