Sunday, May 13, 2012

Two Mothers

How lucky can one person be?

Mothers everywhere are being celebrated today. I still miss my beloved mother. She was Lois Robison Council, but I also had a sister, June, who was like a second mother. Today I want to celebrate Mother and my sister, the oldest of seven kids, who filled in when Mother was busy cooking, doing laundry and all the other chores. In recent months, talking with an older brother, Max, I heard how June watched the baby while Mother cooked meals, washed clothes and fed her chickens, and gathered eggs. Since June was the oldest, there was always a baby to rock.

I remember June reading to my little sister and me when she put us to bed. She taught us to say our prayers, and she took us to see The Yearling at the Clair Theater. A precious memory is her drawing paper dolls for me, more beautiful than the movie star cutouts I received for Christmas.

My second mother, my sister June when she was a  lovely teen  
Diary of a teenager
Recently, June let me read her diary she kept when she was sixteen or seventeen years old. Like any teenager, most of her days were uneventful. The most exciting happenings were meeting some new cadets, trainees at the local military base or the arrival of dear cousins from far away.
This journal tells the story of a young girl who grew up with a father who worked a day job and farmed on the side. She had a devoted mother and close relatives June visited or who visited our family almost every week. She writes of Aunt Bill, Uncle Rudolf, Aunt Sadie, Uncle Dewey and others with a deep love and appreciation. Her joy explodes on the page when cousins Muriel and Ginger come up from Florida to visit.
The girl in the diary appeared confident and happy although her clothes were mostly handmade, and she worked at Grant's or Kress   five and ten cent store to earn her spending money. On several pages of her diary, June sketched pictures of her new dresses with detailed description. She had an artist's eye.
Her classmates voted her into leadership positions in several honor societies and clubs. Her art teacher showered special love and attention on June, far more than one would expect. Mrs. V opened doors for her, presumably because she recognized an outstanding person, not an ordinary high school student. 

 On the days June worked, she pasted the invoice with her salary -- $1.21. I don't know if this was a day's wages or part of a day, and I can't imagine how long it took to earn enough money to buy her school ring, but she had to pay for it herself. Her father's wages were spent on  the necessities for raising a large family.

Movies and good books

She and her friends loved going to the movies downtown. June was an avid reader as she is today. On several pages she listed books and authors she had read. Most of the books were classics. Some of the titles were required reading for me when I went to college, but I think she read them because she enjoyed them.

June's generous and giving spirit shows throughout the year's notations. No complaining or feeling sorry for herself. She was thankful, grateful for her family. 
 "I took Rex to get his vaccination today, but we were supposed to be there yesterday." Rex was the little brother starting school that September. She took him downtown to the health department three times before he finally received the smallpox vaccine required before entering first grade. This is one of the ways she helped her mother. 

On one page in large letters -"WOW! Glenda walked today!"
June was my babysitter and my "other mother" when I was small, and as I grew up, she listened to me and advised me without being preachy. I admired her and tried to heed her words. Her photos from those days show a beautiful girl with long black hair and lovely smile. She is still striking today.
Although she is in the hospital today, she knows she is loved by her children and all her family, especially her "little sisters."

                       Happy Mother's Day, June.

Baby sister on left, June, the older sister, on the right.


DJan said...

Yes, Happy Mother's Day, June! You are an inspiration. Thank you for this, Glenda. :-)

Abbie Taylor said...

I also lost my mother. She died in December of 1999 from cancer. I never had an older sister to look after me. I was the oldest, and from time to time, especially when my parents weren't home, I had to look after my younger brother. I tried to be a second mother to him, but he wouldn't have any of that. He thwarted my love and authority at every opportunity he had, and until he got older, I dreaded being alone with him. Anyway, I liked this post.