My Mother passed away 6 years ago today. She was 86. She was an All-American Leo, born 19 August 1918. Mom was popular AND kind. She was head cheerleader in high school, something I didn’t learn until she was 80; a woman came up to her in a restaurant and thanked her for being so nice to her in high school. The woman said she lived on a farm out of town and that Mom was the only girl who would talk with her. Mom attended Texas Tech in 1936, when there was only a men’s dorm and a women’s dorm--and a tunnel between the two, but the Dust Bowl drove her out of Lubbock. She married my Dad in 1939 and I was born in May of 1941. Six months later, Dad went overseas, ended up in Africa with malaria, and didn’t return until 1945. We lived during those years with my great-grandmother, Martha Washington Pouncey Post, at 1205 East Main Street in Gatesville, Texas. I used to sit in the swing on the side porch while my Mom curled my long blonde hair into long ringlets. But I also remember sitting in the window seat and watching the convoys of soldiers stream down Main in endless ribbons of khaki.
Mom’s sisters and her brother lived a few blocks down with my grandmother, as their husbands were also overseas; my uncle was still in junior high. We were truly a society of women--Southern women--who held it all together during those tough times
Mother was a lover of poetry, so part of my fondness for poetry stems from having heard her all my life reciting various passages of poetry as she went about her daily routine. Her favorite poem was “Maude Muller.” She knew The Bible and was readily equipped with a verse for any occasion. She was also an accomplished pianist, and as part of my reward for dusting the piano each Saturday morning--besides my 50-cent-a-week allowance--she would sit down and play my favorite Chopin or Beethoven. While Mother could read music and took lessons for many years, she could also play by ear and played all of the standards from the War Years as well as a mean boogie-woogie. She also loved the music we were growing up with--Elvis, Santana, Led Zeppelin. Her first concert was a Santana extravaganza. My Mother’s love and support for me--in the midst of my triumphs or defeats, joy or despair--never flagged. She never judged...She simply observed. Not a day passes that I don’t miss her, but she seems to know when things get tough, and she makes her presence known in some way. She was and is the Best Mother in the world.