To My Mother

We stopped in Washington, D.C., on our trip south this year, and stayed at the historic Willard Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue (yup, right close to the White House). Every President since 1850 has stayed in the hotel or attended some function there. We spent the one full day we had tramping around the monuments (until we were exhausted, we ended up taking a cab back to our lodging). The picture above is of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. I had never visited the cemetery before, let alone the Women’s Memorial. This was an emotional day for me, not just because it’s Arlington, and because I’m a veteran, but because my mother served in the Waves in WWII, my father was also in the Navy then, and they met while serving in Norfolk. Mom traveled to Washington/Arlington for the dedication of the Women’s Memorial, and was very moved by it. I still have some of the memorabilia she received then. I might say more about visiting Arlington another day, but today I’m particularly thinking of my mother.

She was a farm girl from Illinois, the oldest of eight children. She actually had to run away from home, and board with a family and look after their kids, just to go to high school. Her father didn’t believe much in education, particularly of women. I remember him as a gruff man. He had served in the Navy in WWI. She was very shy, and had difficulty making friends. I try to picture her in Norfolk, this young woman who was to become the mother of six children (five are surviving), and to be twice a widow. I vaguely recall that someone fixed her up with my father-to-be. I know nothing of their dating and courtship days.

There was a particular picture of my mom I was going to post today, but I couldn’t locate it, but I did get a picture I was unaware of from my brother, showing my parents together as a young couple. Tomorrow would have been my mother’s 90th birthday. I was going to hold this post for then, but I’m thinking about all this now, so here it is.


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