May 9, 2021

HARRIETT AS A MOTHER

My mother Harriett lived until she was 94 years old—and her longest lasting relationship was as a mother!  She first became a mother at 21, when her son Glenn Hurst was born.  In the first photo she and her sister Della are posing with little Glenn.  I suppose she was already a widow—as Glenn’s father Robert died of tuberculosis in 1922.  It’s possible this was a year earlier—and they were sending the photo to Robert at the Texas sanitarium where he spent his last year.

Twice married—once at 20, and again at 39—she lived with a husband only 19 years in all.  She was a widow for 54 years! Both of her parents had died by the time she was 34, and her beloved elder brother Clifford died when she was 51. She was a grandmother for 40 years of her life. But motherhood was part of her life for 73 years!

The second photo shows me at about 2 years old with my mother Harriett—when she was about 43 years old.  There are several things I really love about the way she looks here.  Yes, she’s older—but she still has her smile! And her hair is still light brown.  Plus she’s wearing the metallic brooch her friend Ruby Young gave her—which appears in almost every photo we have of her.

I also love her stylish dress and shoes.  She loved nice clothes– and enjoyed keeping up with the latest fashions.  She liked to sew and made many of her “house dresses” but generally shopped carefully for her dressier outfits. She preferred tailored styles and subdued colors.  She wore lots of navy blue (as in this dress) and light pastels for summer. I remember these Adirondack lawn chairs we had at our house on Eaves Street.  

Her years as a mother weren’t all smooth sailing, of course.  With Glenn, she experienced the grief and loss of her husband and his father, great financial worries over the years, and later, she worried and waited anxiously during the four years he was an Army medic in the Pacific. Her greatest anguish and loss in her life was his death at age 40. She was also heartbroken when I was divorced—and for years, could not bring herself to mention that to many of her friends or even relatives. 

During her last few years, she reluctantly left her beloved home to live with us in South Carolina.  My friends all loved her and we did the best we could to care for her as she had so willingly cared for us for so long.  To her final breath, she was my strong and beautiful mother.

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