So I wanted to start back with the GeneaBloggers daily prompts today. Thomas can always get you in the mood for some fun and antics in genealogy, as well as inspire you to further your research!
Today I chose a dual subject for Monday. Both Matrilineal and Military. Why? Because I have not honored my Mom since her death on this blog. (Heck, I haven't written but once on the blog since her death!)
Lois Velleda Dreher was born in 1938 in Indiana and passed away in 2015 in West Virginia. On both occasions she was surrounded by those who loved her most. In between the two dates, she lived a life full of service to our country and to those who were in need. She never shirked her duty. At times to her children she had to be both Mother and Father, as her spouse was a military man. During those times, I am sure it was especially tough. But she never complained.
She was introduced to the man who would become her husband while she was in the Women's Army Corps (or more affectionately known as the WAC's). The friend who introduced her was also in the WAC's. The two women were friends until the very end.
Lois was a lovely woman. Although she'd never tell you she thought herself pretty or handsome. My memories of her will forever be tainted with the scent of her Tabu cologne. I pass someone in the market, and for a brief moment I look around and wonder where my Mother is hiding to jump out and make us both laugh!
I've seen her cut her grass in a sandy yard on the beach with a pair of sewing shears, and replace the carburetor in the car. And yet again, sit in the floor and play Barbie's with her two little girls who wanted Mommy to play with them. As well as read the family Bible and have prayer each evening; never forgetting to ask God to watch over Daddy who was away at sea. When I was older, she asked me what dress I wanted to wear to the spring prom, and I showed her a picture in a catalog for a dress I knew we didn't have the money for. Yet, when it came time for the dance, I wore that very dress. Only, Mommy had made it with her own two hands, without even a pattern to go by, just the photo in the catalog. My friends never knew it was a handmade a dress. That's how good of a seamstress she was. She taught herself to crochet, and she could make anything, simply by looking at a picture of it. Flowers, dolls, sweaters, afghans, and doilies.
As a teen I saw my Mom grow a garden and then can everything in it for winter. She put up thousands, and yes you read that right, thousands of quarts of vegetables every year. Going to the grocery store meant for disposable items like toilet paper, napkins, and dish soap. I've seen her churn butter and make cheese.
And I've seen her sit quietly by the side of the bed of someone dying. Holding their hand, or wiping their brow. Praying when they asked, aloud. And silently the whole while. I've seen her start a bus ministry from scratch, needing a 64 passenger bus in the end to transport the children and adults to church. I've seen her teach children's Bible scouts. Bible quizzing. Sunday school. And Bible school.
I've seen her spend years caring for the elderly in the community. Solving minor crises within the community. And offering transportation or counseling to those in need. More than once I've seen a troubled couple show up on the doorstep and ask for Mom and Dad's help when their marriage had hit hard times. Why? Were my parents any different than so many others? My parents had endured through a military marriage. They had to put Country ahead of Family. And they both knew that. The only difference was that they put God before either. And that made all the difference in the world. I've seen those same couples who came seeking help still together after many years.
My Mother left a legacy behind that few today can lay claim too. As she lay dying, all of her four children, were at the bedside around the clock. Her last few breaths were taken with the four of us and my Dad praying, our hands holding each others, over Mom. It was a somber time. And yet, we looked forward to Mommy's graduation day in Heaven! We knew when her last breath here was over, she'd be taking her first in Heaven, with purest of air! And we rejoiced that she would be the first to see our Savior!
Mommy entered the military in 1957. She married a handsome sailor in 1958. And she was discharged in early 1959, expecting her first child. Me.
My Mommy was my hero! She was not only my Mommy, I had the distinct honor, and privilege of calling her my teacher, my counselor, and my best friend.
On July 30, 2015 she stepped away from the mortal realm, and began her eternal walk with Jesus. I can only imagine that little has changed about her. She wasn't perfect by any means. But she was about as close to it as anyone I've ever known, and I am proud to be her daughter.
Lois Velleda Dreher Beane