Today, October 3rd, is my mother’s birthday. She passed away in 2010. She suffered from hearing loss than Alzheimer’s for 10 years. I was not able to have conversations with her. That is what I miss the most.
Mom was born at the beginning of the depression and spent her early childhood in rural Pennsylvania. Her family later moved to Massillon, Ohio. At 5 foot 1 1/2 with long flowing brunette hair, she was described in the Massillon Tiger yearbook as “petite and the definition of modern class.”
My dad met Mom in Jun of 1954. My dad was home from college for the summer. They started dating and fell in love. They became engaged when Dad went back to school in the fall. They married the following April.
My mom got a job at Coca-Cola and was the breadwinner of the family while Dad finished school in the next two years. When I was born, Mom stopped working and became a stay-at-home mom. She did not go back to work until my brother and I were in high school. Her children were her life and she was always there for them.
She was involved in our education and became a lifetime member of the Parent’s Teacher Association. I can still remember my petite little mother telling a rather large gruff teacher that “I can’t find you a home room mother because you scare them all off!” When I was in first grade when the norm was to make every child write right-handed, she told my teacher that I was left-handed and to let me write left-handed. Educational research as proved her right, and her very right-brained daughter thanks her.
She loved color-tried her hand at painting but her fulltime hobby became ceramics. She taught ceramics finishing at the Irving Senior Citizen Center for years. She was also an expert seamstress and made clothes for herself, her daughter, and her granddaughter. She made Leighanne (my daughter) a beautiful baptismal gown.
Leola loved her family and lived life the way it should be lived.
My mother was the backbone of our little family. She was my dad’s support and held things together. She loved and defended her children. Her life revolved around family. To me she gave a strong sense of the value of a good education and a desire to try my best. She gave me a toughness that has served me well in life’s circumstances. She herself persevered to the end. To my brother she gave the gift of creativity and artistic sensitivity that is evident in his work.
Although she did not see Leighanne much, she loved her. A fond memory I have of my mother is when Leighanne was three. She was playing with Leighanne as she ran through the water sprinkler.
She was always a little lady and expected the same of me- I didn’t know another kid that was expected to eat French fries with a fork.
I do not doubt that my mother is with the Lord. One of the last words I remember saying was “Jesus my Lord” when my husband was praying for her. What makes this a miracle is that she was barely speaking and nothing she was saying was coherent.
I am sure that now my mom is free and her mind is sharper than ever.