The last few weeks my thoughts have been about my Mom. Wishing she were here to give me her advise and wanting to just call her up on the phone like I always did. I often think about her determination and how when she set her mind to do something she always seemed to accomplish her goal. One story sticks in my mind that she told when I couldn’t see a way to do what I wanted. Her father was old school German and grew up in Germany where when you completed the 8th grade you were done with school. When my Mom completed the 8th grade she wanted to go on to high school and so the battle began. Grandpa couldn’t see the need for her to continue and she was needed at home to help take care of her little sisters and the endless chores on a farm. The high school was in Wilcox and not in walking distance. There was a bus but, you had to pay a fee to ride it and Grandpa refused partly because he couldn’t see the point and money was not available for it. She begged and pleaded with her Mother to try to convince her Father to let her go. Grandma’s response was that if she wanted it badly enough she would find a way to go and not let “no” get in her way.
When school started that fall she had not yet found a way for her to get to school and that’s when circumstances changed. She happened to meet the mailman out in front of their house one day and he asked her why she was not in school. She told him that she wanted to go but, had no way to get there. So he made a deal with her she was to meet him early in the morning when he was on his way into town to start work and she could ride with him and he would bring her home in the evening. It was an exciting day for her she had found a way. It was all good until one morning when she went out to meet him and he told her he could no longer give her a ride. Someone had reported him for taking her in the mail truck so she was left standing on the road devastated and heartbroken.
I think back on my own school years and how I dreaded going. I had all the opportunity in the world and really didn’t appreciate it, whereas, my Mom had to fight to go and loved every minute of it.
Not being able to ride with the mailman did not end her high school years. She later took a job with one of the school teachers who lived in town and rented rooms in her house. My Mom went to live with her and in exchange she helped with preparing meals and washed dishes. She would tell me how she would run home at lunchtime so she could wash the morning dishes and pots so they would be clean in time for the supper meal. Friday evenings she would ride the train from Wilcox to Hildreth where she would spend the night at the Ministers home and babysit their children. Saturday was spent all day attending Confirmation classes at St. Peters Lutheran Church. After class she would walk up the road to the Evers farm with George, who years later would become her husband. I asked if she had a crush on my Dad back then and she said – “heavens no!” He walked on one side of the road and she on the other. That still makes me giggle knowing how in love they were until the day she died.
Saturday was when everyone from the surrounding farms would go to town. That’s when they would bring their eggs and other items in to sell at the coop and buy supplies. It was also a time for people to socialize with their neighbors and have a little fun. Mom’s parents would pick her up and she would spend Sunday with her folks and after church she would ride the train back to Wilcox to start the week over again.
I wonder sometimes if I had been in her situation if I would have been as persistent in “finding a way” to not accept the “no”. I know I took my own education opportunities for granted – something at the age of 62 I regret. I gave up a lot of dreams I had because of it as well. At the same time I think even the poor choices we make when we are young set us on the journey we are suppose to take. I must say so far my journey, although not always easy, has been a good one and filled with blessings.
Well, if you managed to read this to the end – thank you for indulging me as I remember Momma. She was really something!
Ring, ring – is this heaven? May I speak to my Momma………