South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

A time to celebrate mothers’ lessons

Healthy Living

My mother was a pioneer.

Not what you usually think of a woman leaving the comforts of a home on the eastern seaboard and traveling westward in a covered wagon. No, my mother set sail from the western shores and traveled more than three-quarters of a century ago to the territory of Alaska.

Accompanying her were her two children, one 8 and the other 10. They were to join her husband at a coal mining camp where he was cooking for the miners. This was a desolate existence. No shopping malls, no grocery chains, no churches, no theaters and the children were educated in a one-room schoolhouse.    

Our first house at the mining camp was a log cabin, heated in the harsh winter by a coal furnace. Cooking was done over a coal burning stove. There was no bathtub or shower. Bathing was done in a huge tub in the kitchen. It would grow so cold in the subzero winter that the back bedroom would be closed and sleeping done in the front room.    

Once a week, groceries would be brought by rail to the camp for weekly shopping. Most of the food came in cans. Milk was from cans, to be mixed with water. It was supposed to taste like fresh milk, but it never did.

This could have been a time of despair. However, with her positive attitude, mother turned this into a great adventure.

We spent four years at the mining camp. My youngest brother, almost 13 years younger, was born there. No medical staff to assist with the birth, only neighbors.

My mother treated our stay in the mining camp as an adventure. From this experience and her positive attitude, I learned that one should never say no to an adventure. An adventure is both a growing experience and a learning experience.

Mother also taught me about salt. The salt that is in tears and the salt that is in sweat. She taught me that it was okay as a man to show emotion and even to shed tears. And, she taught me that when one was hired for a job that he should give it his all and to sweat.

And, she taught me that one was never too old to try new adventures, and that one’s age was just a number. On my 70th birthday, I went sky diving. Something I always wanted to do. I was well into my 70s when I went parasailing.

Thank you mothers who have provided life, lifelong lessons and many words of wisdom.

Hopefully your special day this month was filled with much joy.

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