Written Fall of 2014
I have always had a lot of respect for my mother and, truth be told, wanted to be exactly like her for most of my life. My mom is a nurturing, generous and gracious person that lavished me with motherly care and concern for as long as I can remember. But she was the kind of mom that empowered me to make my own decisions as well. Obviously, I still find it hard to say anything negative about my mother, so it came as a surprise to read the blurb about her in her high school yearbook that said she played the banjo and talked “especially in study periods with a certain Eve.” One of my mom’s gifts was talking? Wow, that doesn’t sound like the shy, studious person that I always thought she was. In fact, those same words could have been said about me since I have always enjoyed talking.
It also says she spent her time in Souderton and infers that she must have a special friend there. Mom did marry someone from Souderton, Merrill Benner, but she says “that was many years later.” Mom admits that what the authors are referring to is how she “spent a lot of time at the Souderton Train Station, which was a popular place for young people to gather.” Say what? My mom hung out at a train station? No way.
I thought I really knew my mom, but she also recently told me that she remembers playing the banjo at the Clemens Literary Society, which was a group that J.C. Clemens’ children formed and that met in a local hall. At the same time, her sister Grace played the piano and Jonas Mininger sang a solo. And get this, my mother sang a song about a lonely black boy without friends. So not only did my mom sing publically as she played the banjo but she sang a song of social justice. How did I not realize this part of my mom before?
It’s odd how you think you really know your parents and then all of a sudden a slice of their younger life rises up and hits you between the eyes. My mom was a very social person and loved music…wow, we’re more alike than I thought. I still have to work on the selfless nurturing part, but apparently, I’m halfway there.