Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

My Mother
On this Mother's Day my thoughts always go back to my mother and then to her mother. Both of these people are no longer with us, but are always in my heart and my thoughts.

My mother was born with the name of Orlien Mary Hiltz but was raised as Orlien Mary Hafenstein. She was born on May 2, 1927 to Katherine Hiltz. My grandmother was 19 when my mother was born, her own mother had died only 2 years prior to my mother's birth.

I know my grandmother's only regret is that she had to drop out of school during her mother's illness and never was able to go back. I think how brave my grandmother must have been to decide to keep her little fatherless daughter. I'm sure people told her that no one would want her now. Well she showed them all when in 1929 she married her husband and gave birth to two more daughters.

My Grandmother
My mother didn't find out that she was illegitimate until after her 18th birthday. My grandfather decided to legally adopt my mother so that she would not have to go through life presenting an illegitimate birth certificate. My mother never told any of her nine children about her illegitimate birth and thus I don't know how my mother handled the shock of it all. She was one of the strongest women I ever met. She too found her self "in trouble" before getting married, but the father of her child, loved her and made an honest women out of her. She moved around a lot during her short 8 year marriage. When she just found out she was pregnant with child number 6, her husband died as a result of a tragic work related accident. That only man she knew as her father had died 8 months prior that same year. So now, she lost the two most important men in her life.

She moved in with her mother and her sister, with her other sister and her husband living downstairs. My mother had to learn how to drive, to handle the finances, to get a job, to do all the things she didn't think she would be doing. She even gave birth to her 6th child on what would have been her ninth wedding anniversary.  

She married my father who was a co-worker of her brother-in-law two years after the birth her 6th child. She gave my father three children of her own, with me being the youngest. However, the other two were both born with learning disabilities. Therefore my mother had children living with her until she died in 2002 at the age of  75.

My mother taught me many things, such as being able to do anything I set my mind to. She also taught all her children there is no such thing as women or men's work. That if there is a chore to do, someone needs to do it. She taught all her children to how to cook, clean and to handle finances. She said when her first husband died, she felt loss because she didn't even now how to write a check or balance the checkbook. She did such a good job with the finances, that I had to show my father how my mother did things when she died. And to this day, I had all my family's finances the way my mother showed me.

I miss her as much today as I did the day my husband told me. The only difference is that I found the strength to get through each day. So to my mother and grandmother, Happy Mother's Day, you both have set the standards high and I hope I can be half the mother and grandmother you both were!

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