Roger of A Screed in Time, our Fun Monday host for the month of May, has assigned an timely task for the day after Mother's Day. Roger is asking us to " share some memories of good ol' mom."
My mother, born Laura Gray in 1917 to John Milton Gray, a newspaper editor and Methodist minister, and Orpha Jane Gray, a former teacher. She was the youngest child of bright, aging, educated parents. When Laura was born, the Gray family lived in the little town of Allerton, Illinois. Laura's older sister, Ida, taught Laura to read before she entered the school of Allerton.
Always a bright student, Laura excelled in school. However, like many women of her age she graduated from high school, but she married soon after high school graduation, and did not attend college immediately. Nonetheless, Laura, a self-made and self-educated woman, was knowledgeable about a wide range of topics and specifically well-versed in literature and was a capable writer. Eventually, Laura was able to attend college and received both a bachelor's and a master's degree in English at Purdue University in the 1970's.
Although I do not remember Mom mentioning women's rights. she definitely was a feminist. She demonstrated her support of the rights of women with her positive life-style. My mom worked at a variety of jobs including nurse's aide, editor of a department store newsletter, and claims agent for the Lincoln Life Insurance Company. She was involved in a number of organizations and frequently would quickly assume a leadership position within each organization.
In addition to being intelligent and influential, Mom was kind and compassionate. She would have baby showers for unwed mothers, feed prisoners, visit the physically ill as well as the emotionally ill. After World War II, she sent clothes and other presents to a family in Holland until they regained economic independence.
Yes, my mother was a bright, gifted, charitable, woman, but she was a bit of a character too with a ribald sense of humor. This is evidenced in one of her favorite sayings, "You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think.
Of course, this is merely a glimpse at the life of a woman whose life impacted many. You can read about other moms by checking the Fun Monday list at Roger's blog, A Screed in Time.