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Her name is Marie and she is my mother. Marie is a very warm and caring soul. She is always there for her family, freely giving us love and support. She bore six children but when I came along she willingly embraced me as her own and I became number seven. I am her first grandchild, she has cared for me from birth, and this is why I call her Mom.
Marie was born in the thirty’s to very poor and uneducated parents. Other children made fun of her as a child because of the clothes she wore and the work her parents did following the harvests and picking fruit. Mom said people labeled them “Dust bowl Okie’s”, “Fruit Tramps”, and “poor white trash.” She still remembers the pain. She vowed that would never happen to her children! She wanted them to have all the advantages she never had and this wish became the driving force in her life.
Marie was married at 15 but the marriage did not work out. She had unknowingly married a very troubled man, and for the safety and well-being of her family, she was forced to end the marriage, and face the world alone with her small brethren. This was in 1961 and she was 27 years old. The world was a different place in 1961. These were not easy times for women, especially ones with 6 children to support. Mom never seemed to recognize this. She always said, “It’s a good thing no one told me I couldn’t do this or I might have got discouraged.” She got her first job and went to work determined to care for her family. It was the beginning of a lifetime of self-sacrifice and hard work. Sometimes she had to work two jobs, to pay for school clothes or dental work, but she always said, “It was no big deal, I just did what I had to”. Did I mention she was humble and unselfish? I never heard her say “why me?” Instead she would say “Life’s fair it breaks everyone’s heart.” She worked hard and made her dream come true.
She bought a home, raised her family and when I was born in 1967 I became part of the family and was loved and cared for by them all.
Mom worked at the Airport by then and she had great flight benefits. This allowed her to literally, “give the world to her children.” We were able to travel all over the world and do things that she had never had the opportunity to do as a child. This was very important to Mom and sharing this with us was a great joy to her.
Four of her six children were girls. When they had decided to marry, she insisted on providing them with the wedding that they dreamed of having and happily threw her-self into the preparations. Being able to make this a special time was very important to her. However, it was not just about things, Mom was also concerned about our spiritual needs. We learned how to work. She taught us values, respect, and honesty. She had a home bible study with all of us and encouraged us to apply these principles in our lives.
She wanted us to be kind, giving people.
Mom has so many wonderful traits, but the one that I find to be the most outstanding is how unselfish she is. In the world that we live in we are surrounded by selfishness, you see it all around you. I have never seen this in her.
Marie has retired from her job. She thought that this would be her time to travel and do the things that she would want to do and have some time for her. But this is not the case. Instead, Mom chose to move to Salem to care for her mother who is 97 years old and allow her to remain in her home. Her value for her family and the responsibility she feels has shined again. I have so much love and respect for her and I wanted you to know what a special person she is. The most Special Person I know.
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