Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Thoughts

(The aging washer is leaking,
The dryer is squeaking,
Mother would appreciate
the humor of this happening today.)

Mother, I wish you could experience the world today. You always said you had no fear of dying, but would be reluctant to go because you didn't want to miss anything. I have the same view for myself. You saw much change in your lifetime. I think of you and these thoughts of your first twenty-one years come readily to mind.

born in the nineteenth century
horse and buggy days
daughter of a prosperous farmer
fence lines clear of weeds
indicating a good farmer

father performed outdoor chores
matching work horse pair
plowing, harrowing, discing,
cultivating, planting
grain, corn and garden

threshing parties
sheaves of oats, barley and wheat,
corn shucking,
hay raking,
fork tossing hay in mow

raising chickens and ducks
roosters, hens, drakes
cows with calves
pigs with piglets
sheep with lambs

harvesting crops
root cellar storage
butchering and dressing meats
milking the cows
collecting honey, beeswax

pets and progeny
mares with foals
mouser cats with kittens
herder/guard dogs with puppies
chicks and ducklings

mothers work indoors
wood stove for cooking
baking bread
bearing and raising children
nursing the ill

food preservation and canning
apple, cherry, peach trees
blackberry, gooseberries
jams, jellies
herb collection like mint leaves

gathering eggs
cream separating
making cottage cheese
churning butter
making smearcase

sewing and mending
pattern and dress making
yarn for knitting, crocheting, tatting
quilting designs, stitching, needle point
hooking rugs

recitation of poetry
story telling using elocution skills
piano playing and singing
games, riddles, reading, writing
stereoscopes and pictures

candles to electricity
hand pump priming for well water
eventual party line phone
two longs and a short ring
outdoor plumbing - two or three holer

children's playhouse
curtains, tea set
miniature furniture
china head dolls
dressing cats and kittens

winter's heavy woolen clothes
dry cleaning non-existent
deodorant yet to be
large tubs, spit baths

playing church piano and organ
dating mostly for church social functions
breaking rules by sneaking off with date to go dancing
coming home snuggled under blankets in horse drawn buggy
horse required no guidance -- always knew the way home

family, friends, classmates,
boyfriends, neighbors die
Influenza Pandemic of World War I
Influenza Epidemic of 1918
World War I

automobiles and airplanes coming

passing the Boxwell proficiency exam
requirement for high school attendance
moving into town to live with a family providing
them household services in exchange for room and board
high school graduation

acceptance and enrollment in "Normal School"
graduation after two years
teaching in one room school house
women given the right to vote 1921
mother legal age that year -- always voted thereafter.

My mother knew from her own mother, my grandmother, who advocated in her farm community for women's rights, supported by my grandfather, the challenges to achieve Women's Suffrage (right to vote.)

The 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote was first introduced in the United States Congress in 1878, passed by both Houses in 1919 with that same wording -- 41 years later.

Progress can be slow.

She would have loved to have participated in the primary elections this year. She would be listening to the candidates words closely. She would be giving strong consideration to the state of our country internally, our status in the world. She would recognize the serious issues our nation faces -- that these problems must be resolved, such as health care, our infrastructure deterioration, domestic economic condition, the war(s) in which we're embroiled, the need to preserve each citizen's rights and freedoms, to name just a few matters.

She would be pleased when the focus stays on these campaign issues. She would be angered when efforts from any candidate, their supporters, or the media introduced misleading sound bites, negative innuendo into the dialogue. She would marvel at the unique combination of political party candidates from which we will choose our next President of the United States.


  1. Joared, I loved, loved, loved this post. What a beautiful picture you painted of your 19th century mother and her magnificent life. And what a perfect day to share it with us. Gorgeous!

  2. Wonderful! and I know you learned much from this amazing woman.

  3. Wow.

    "We've come a long way, Baby!"

    I imagine my own grandmother, who passed away in the 1950's at the age of 47, would be shocked, delighted, and awed simultaneously.

    Great Momma day post!

  4. I have thought of this also how much the world changed for my parents. It changed a lot in my lifetime but probably more in theirs. I wonder what the world will be like for the children being born today when they get old, what they will have seen in their lifetimes.

  5. It's so wonderful that you respected and appreciated this woman so much while she was alive. That means you could see how much she had achieved, even though you were young. I envy you that; I didn't see the strengths of my mother until after her life was over.

  6. Wonderful portrait of your Mother and her life and times. My Mother also taught in a one room school house and went from the horse and buggy to the airplane and a man on the moon in her lifetime. I remember her telling me about her first ride in an automobile. that new fangled contraption. The local doctor stopped and gave her a ride in his auto. She always said she only got in the contraption because he was a doctor and was therefore trustworthy.

  7. This is just a beautiful, fabulous post. Things have changed so much in just a couple of generations. What you've listed are skills that young women have lost, never learned or think are completely irrelevant.

    Your list covers so many things that brought pictures to my mind.

  8. Thanks to everyone for your comments though I delayed in expressing my appreciation here. Each of us has such unique and special memories of our mothers regardless of when we come to be able see their life from their perspective and more fully appreciate them.