It’s hard to write about my mom. I feel like words can’t even begin to describe how much of a good mother she was or how much I loved her!
But here I’ll try.
I remember my mom used to always say, “Pretty is as pretty does.” I was so young when she used to say this to me, I didn’t really understand what it meant.
My mom was born in Illinois in 1921 and was given the name of “Sarah Katherine” but at some point she changed the spelling to “Sara Kathryn.” Back then it was common to be born at home and so my grandmother gave birth to all four of her children at home. My mother, her second child, along with her sister and two brothers, grew up during the depression. She told me that they were so poor that for Christmas all they would get would be an orange and maybe a homemade toy or doll.
Mom with her baby sister, Naomi, and older brother David:
Mom with her sister, Naomi, and younger brother, Ralph, and their billy goat:
They moved to Indiana sometime during her childhood and she graduated from high school in 1938.
It was there at Cloverdale High School that she met my dad. They fell in love and got married in 1941, three years after they graduated from high school.
They had six kids, of which I was the 5th!
Mom and me, Easter 1956 🙂
Growing up I remember she babysat a lot of kids; some for weeks at a time! People would come pick their kids up and not even pay her because they didn’t have enough money. I remember one summer she watched 3 or 4 kids from one family for the whole summer and when the dad came to pick them up he only gave her $20.
My mom would kneel at her bed at night to pray and get up early in the morning to read her bible. I remember when we lived on Hickory Lane in Indianapolis and she would sit alone reading her Bible in our tiny kitchen nook just off the kitchen. I remember her sitting there in that little nook, with the yellow ruffled curtains, and the smell of black coffee. If any of us kids would get up too early she would tell us to go back to bed! I remember one morning in particular I stood there watching her and wanting her attention so I said something mean to try to get it. It worked but not in the way I had wanted. It would be years later until I would understand why she needed that quiet time with the Lord.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
My mom worked hard taking care of us and the all the kids she babysat. I remember piles of laundry in the basement and wondering how there could be so much of it! She’d be exhausted just from looking after all of us, let alone trying to keep the house clean and keeping up with the laundry. Once she sat down to watch TV or to rest she usually fell asleep from exhaustion. She used to say that her eyelids were attached to her knees so whenever she sat down her eyelids would close!
My mom took pride in making her dollar stretch. She’d buy a gallon of whole milk and then mix it with powdered milk to make two gallons. She’d also go to two or three different grocery stores each week just to get the best prices, using store coupons at each one.
She also was a great cook and could always find something in our pantry or in the freezer to put a meal together. My dad worked at White Castle as an office supervisor, and would bring home boxes of slightly outdated frozen White Castle hamburger patties. My mom would then make all sorts of different meals out of them; basically anything that called for ground beef. She could make something out of almost anything and it always tasted good! All except liver and onions! I’d skip that and settle for peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Actually one of my favorite snacks was one of my mom’s favorites, a banana with peanut butter.
My mom was a lot like her mom, my grandma. Some of my favorite memories were of us going to my grandma’s house to for family dinners. My grandma made the best rubarb pie in the world! My grandma used to tell me that she prayed for me, and I’m so thankful for her and her prayers. I loved her so much.
My mom had a natural love for her family but at the root of her love for us, was the love that she had for Jesus.
I wasn’t exactly the perfect child but she loved me unconditionally. There wasn’t anything I could do or say to make her not love me. She made a difference in my life and in the lives of many people she came in contact with.
She was always thinking of others first. She had compassion and love for hurting people, and for people in need. I remember her making sandwiches and handing them out to strangers in need. She treated them with love and respect. She had such a gentle, sweet and giving spirit. She had the love of Jesus in her heart and she made sure each one of us knew how much she loved us.
When we all grew up and had families of our own she made sure that each of her children and grandchildren knew how much she loved us. She was always looking forward to our next family get-together! She would do anything and everything she could for any one of us.
Mom in her basement on McFarland Rd with five of her grandkids Christmas 1986:
She lived the last 20 years of her life as a widow and spent most of the last 10 of those years suffering from the effects of early onset Alzheimer’s. She came to live with and near me for part of those latter years. Even though the disease affected her personality and her memory, just to just be near her and to spend time with her was special to me.
Here’s some pics from our last couple of family Christmas get-togethers:
Our last family get-together was in January of 1998 in Vincennes, Indiana. We took photos all together, one right after the next, in hopes of catching her old familiar smile. But the raveges of Alzheimer’s had taken it’s course and she could no longer smile; nor walk or talk. She was ready to go home. See passed from this life on earth to her heavenly home on September 15, 1998 at age 77. I was there, along with my sister and brother, and read some bible verses to her, prayed and held her hand as her soul passed to heaven to be with the Lord.
So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8
I’ll not post those photos from January of 1998. Instead I want to remember my mom the way she was for the greater part of her life here on earth. She was a pretty lady by any standards and even in today’s world where so much emphasis is put on outward appearance, but it was her beauty that radiated from within that will be her legacy. My mom lived her life, simply put, with love for God and her family. And while I didn’t understand it as a child, I eventually came to learn the meaning of “Pretty is as pretty does” because of my mom and the way she lived her life.
People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7