Today is my mom's birthday. She was born on June 10, 1919 and died on December 19, 2002. What a lady! She was adopted at age three, but didn't find out about it until after she was married when her mother-in-law let the cat out of the bag. What a thing to learn from your mother-in-law, eh? The relationship between them was always, I think, grace-filled because of my mom who was a peacemaker. I rarely heard her say an unkind word about anyone and she always had a smile on her face. She gave us all the gift of cheerfulness.
Mom was quite a blonde beauty as a young woman, but had a brain to match. No blonde jokes about her. She started college at sixteen (Trinity in Washington, D.C. which was a faithful Catholic school at the time but disintegrated later and now is simply scandalous). During her college years she trained for the Catholic Evidence Guild which defended the faith in parks and on street corners. Frank Sheed of Sheed and Ward Publishing who visited Trinity and heard her defend the faith described her as "damn good!" She was always proud and somewhat amused by that fact. She didn't know he was in the audience.
After finishing at Trinity (1939), Mom went on to Western Reserve University law school (now Case Western Reserve) and completed two years as the only woman in the class before leaving to marry my dad, a young ensign in the Navy.
She was on the island of Oahu when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and was evacuated to the mainland shortly after, pregnant with her first child, my oldest brother. She often talked about that terrible crossing suffering from morning/sea sickness.
Mom went on to raise ten children, fight sex ed, work tirelessly in the pro-life movement, get a masters degree in education, subsitute teach for years, and be a great-grandmother (G.G.) to almost 40 young ones before she died.
During her final illness when she was in the hospital for surgery we had a little contest going with her, my sister, and I taking turns reciting poetry. Susie and I were reduced to nursery rhymes while mother was still quoting Tennyson, Shakespeare, Kipling, and other masters. She had forgotten more than I ever learned as an English major.
What a lady! I wish I were half as smart and half as kind as she was. Happy Birthday, Mom. We will not see your like again.