50 years ago God brought me in this world and saw that I needed some help.. He knew two of my mothers just could not, or would not, be what He needed them to be, for me. 1. BioMom. 2.Mom. So he gave me two more ‘Mom’s’ Mamie and Mamaw (my Mom’s mother)– This is the story of Mamie.
My dad was a football coach the first five years of my life, in De Leon. Dad retired coaching and went into his ‘masters’ and taught math and principled, and we left DeLeon. My mom taught grade school . I was pretty much ‘raised’ by others, except in the summers. I was adopted in April, and I believe my grandmother took care of me until the end of the school year in May, then we moved from Borger to DeLeon. Mom and Dad, had me my first summer of 63 ,and all the summers of my life. I think Mom may have had a perforated ulcer that summer, or maybe just before, so she was probably convalescing during that time and not doing a lot of ‘bonding’.
Mom was not the ‘motherly’ type, not the housewife type, not the submissive wife type. Mom did not cook breakfast, ever, that I recall. Lunch was sandwiches. Dinner was ‘Supper’ during the week, and it was probably out of a can, or a T.V dinner or another sandwich. We did have Sunday dinner, either canned ham, or meatloaf, or BBQ chicken(chicken with bbq sauce poured over it and put in oven) These meals are remembered AFTER De Leon. I honestly do not remember any meals in my De Leon home . Pretty sure I ate, but I can’t promise anything. I only have 3 real memories of myself in the house in DeLeon- Sitting in the sandbox outside, watching Dad pick peaches off of a tree. Being stuck to the carpet by a wire doll necklace that was piercing my finger, everyone had gone outside, I thought I would bleed to death ;). Sitting in the hall by the back door looking through my toy box for my favorite doll, and Mom telling me she threw it away, cause it was dirty.
Most of my first five years were spent at Mamie’s house. Mamie Wilkerson was my baby sitter, my care giver, my nearly Mom. I spent September through May, Monday through Friday, 7 AM to 5PM with her. When I was an infant I spent some Friday nights with her, while my Dad coached, my Mom supported, my Kirk ran the bleachers, and my Mike played the tuba. Mamie had me 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. I learned to walk with Mamie, learned to talk with Mamie. Mamie’s husband, ‘Pop’ died just after I turned 2, so I don’t remember him, Mamie said I would sit in his big chair with him and he would sing me songs and blow smoke rings and count them. Toddler antic stories of me are from Mamie. Pulling toilet paper through out the house, me in my walker.Going to help Mamie pull down the laundry ,in the snow, me putting on my own coat and zipping it up, but forgetting to put on my shoes. Mamie fed me breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner. Cooked eggs. Snapped green beans, made a pot for lunch. Mamie would make a batch of peanut brittle every week (De Leon is peanut country), grease up the linoleum table with butter and pour the hot liquid out onto it, and when it cooled would have DeWayne (her great-nephew, who some times stayed) and I break it up. Sometimes the sugar shards would poke my fingers and make them bleed. I learned to cook from Mamie. Mamie and I would walk downtown to the store for groceries. Mamie did not drive, but really did not need to. I learned to do, to make do, to do for yourself. If she needed to go further, she would call her daughter and she would take us. Mamie worked in the nursery at the Baptist church, sometimes I would go with her, if my parents had some school event or ?. In the front room of Mamie’s house was this picture.→It kind of scared me, the darkness and the children being alone, Mamie found me crying about them one afternoon at nap time. Mamie is who taught me no matter how dark things get, and they will get dark, or how alone I feel, I am protected, I am not alone, ever. My up to 5 memories are at Mamie’s with Mamie.
I have pictures of birthdays 1,2,3,4,5 , but the only birthday party I actually remember, prior to moving to Abilene is with Mamie. In her house. My family was invited ;). Bill, Mamies son, his wife Shirley, Mamie’s granddaughter DLana, and grandson , who was also Kirks best friend ,Marnie were there, and of course DWayne. I wore my favorite short suit, denim mid drift with red bandana ruffle and matching shorts. I remember swapping between Dad and ‘Uncle’ Bill’s laps and watching the water condense on the outside of the metal tea glasses, as everyone sat around and talked and laughed. I learned to be a hostess,and to enjoy family times.
I looked up Mamie on Find a Grave.com- I found some details I did not know about her. Mamie was 15 when she married to Riley, who was 30. I know now why he died, it was time for him. Mamie was 61, when she started caring for me, grandmother age, she kept me till she was 66. Details, that don’t change the impact she made on my life. Details that do show me education, money, genetics, prestige, refinement,age, those are not what matters. It is the heart, it is the soul, it is the want to love and care, and instill character for a child, even one that is not your own, that makes a mother. Everything I needed to know I learned before Kindergarten with Mamie. 😉