Bill and Juanita, 1940
I know it's Mother's Day, but I can't remember one parent without the other. They are a matched set in my memory. They were both elegant as well as the salt of the earth. Graceful and full of fun. I will probably use these pictures again in June to honor my Dad.
Mother was stylish on a budget and made our clothes and we always looked good on Sunday at church or on the streetcar going downtown to shop. In my childhood I remember that she always wore a hat and gloves to complete her ensemble.
She was a Tennessee country girl who went to Detroit to earn enough money to send some back to her mom to support the younger brothers and sisters. There were 11 children in the family and Mother was the oldest daughter and the fourth child. She worked as a general maid and housekeeper for a well-to-do lawyer and his invalid wife. The lady keep a very elegant home and taught Mother how to manage and entertain in a fancier style than Mother had ever thought to imagine outside of novels and the movies. When Mother had her own home she always managed touches of elegance and refinement that she felt was appropriate for our lifestyle.
My whole life is defined by my mothers faith in God and her love of family. She read poetry to me and since she was so sentimental she would read poems of childhood such as Little Boy Blue, The Old Oaken Bucket, Rock Me to Sleep, Mother and so many other tearjerkers. She'd cry and so I would cry. We were a sight.! Today when I cry at a corny commercial on T.V. I invoke my mother's spirit and say Hello, Mother, come cry with me.
Mother had the knack for extending friendship. When she died at least five different women came to me and told me that Juanita had been her very best friend. I think my mother's finest attributes jumped a generation and her only granddaughter, my daughter "Aisling" has shown me the same lovely nature that I beheld in my mother.
Bill and Juanita, 1990
For other strolling stories visit The Quiet Country House.