My Mother

Today is my mother’s birthday. I have thought of her all day. I am not sad, but I do miss her presence. My mother would be 96 if she were still with us. Below is an excerpt of a story I wrote about her. She is still loved and remembered by her eight children.

          My mother was the kind of woman who did not change her mind once she committed her mind to what she wanted to accomplish. She did not have much in the way of clothes, but she dressed the best she could and took care of herself and us. The neighbors thought she was self-important when she enrolled herself in night school. Some said she felt she was better than they were because the Housing Authority offered her a part-time job working in the toy loan center. What little money they paid her decreased what she owed for rent.

          My mother did not concern herself with what others said about her. She told me they were jealous because she was trying to make something of herself.

          My Uncle Jesse and Aunt Lee, and our sister, who they had adopted as a baby, came to see us often and brought groceries. Sometimes Uncle Jesse would come to pick us up and take us back to his house to spend the weekend with his family. He had a cousin, also named Jesse, and sometimes he would help with groceries. He was the one who told my mother she should check out books from the library on taking the post office exam.

That is the only time I can remember my mother ever being interested in reading. She poured over those manuals, and later I read the test questions to her, and she answered. Soon Cousin Jesse informed my mother where to go for the post office exam. My mother dressed in her best and went to take the test. We were all anxious for a month while waiting for the results. My mother was hurt and disappointed when they came, but she did not let that stop her. In the beginning, her scores were below 50%, but she kept taking those tests, and her scores kept improving. Finally, the day came when she scored 100% and went on standby lists all over the Los Angeles area. She continued to take tests, waiting for the day they called her to work.

While she waited on the post office, my mother worked as a security guard. The job helped her get off the welfare system and move out of the projects. In the meantime, three of us had grown up and moved out. We did not want to hurt her feelings, but we had long since thought she might be wasting her time.

My brother, who is also a Jesse, went into the Marines and helped my mother get her first car. Tears of happiness rolled down her face. That seemed to be the trigger for change. Two years later, the post office called my mother to work. She did not care that she worked the graveyard shift—she was ecstatic. Each payday, she set money aside for a house.

Three years later, my mother moved into her first never-been-lived-in-before home in a new suburb of Compton, California. My mother was now riding high. She had her car, job at the post office, a brand new house, and money in the bank. It took years, and even her children had given up on achieving her dream, but she achieved her four goals. Now she could gloat. She often said that while we and everyone else had given up, God never did. She trusted He would keep His Word if she remained faithful and believed.

God not only helped my mother with the house in Compton but when she retired eleven years later, she was able to sell that house and buy another never-been-lived-in-before home in the Antelope area of Sacramento, California. My mother never doubted that God would help her fulfill her dreams, and He did that and much more because my mother was patient, and she kept the faith.

My was a determined woman. She never gave up on her dreams. She was two months short of being 90 when she went home to be with our Heavenly Father. She often said she wanted to go in her sleep, and that is how she went.

Rest in peace, Mom. I hope you have received the answers to all your questions.

Until tomorrow, please stay safe, and keep the faith.