My Mother

Gloria - Phoenix, Arizona
Entered on October 8, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: family, legacy

My mother, Mary Helen Duffy Kawecki, is strong, intelligent, stubborn- well, she’s Irish and that probably says it all!

Mum and Dad were married almost 58 years. My parents were married in 1949 and had 3 daughters by 1953, me being “the baby”. They struggled at times but, as children, we weren’t aware of that. We wore hand me down clothes (remember, I am daughter #3!) but everyone wore hand me downs, didn’t they? Mum did a great job of making a lot of our clothes. I can remember dresses she made and how proud I was to wear them. She permed our hair too. Does anyone remember the Toni perms? Well then, enough said. For Christmas we would always get a new pair of pajamas. We always had a new Easter outfit complete with hat, gloves and patent leather shoes. Birthdays were made special too. We got to choose our dinner, type of cake, and always seemed to get just what we wanted. My point is that we never felt deprived of anything, even though now I know it could not have been easy for them.

Mum could do anything, and she did.

Dad worked at a chemical plant. He got laid off. He would do any type of work to take care of his family. He unloaded produce from the railroad cars and would come home with what was discarded. I don’t remember this. I don’t remember because Mum did a great job of making everything seem okay to us kids- and to everyone else too. My parents spent a year apart. Not a separation of choice but of necessity. Dad went to look for work in the Maryland-DC area and Mum kept the home front going. How did she do that? Financially strapped, 3 children, working, her husband away for a year. Somehow she got us through without us kids realizing what a difficult time this must have been for her.

You do what you have to do. I learned from my mother that women can be tough when they need to be.

We did move to Maryland. Both Mum and Dad worked for the government. Dad had a couple of different government jobs before settling in with the U.S. Post Office. Mum went to work for N.S.A. The National Security Agency! MY mother? My mother learned Russian when I was in high school. I was, and still am, so impressed that MY MOTHER could do that!

You can do whatever you set your mind to. I learned from my mother that women are smart.

My parents were fortunate (read hard working and determined) enough to retire to Arizona. They enjoyed retirement, but mainly I think, they finally had the time to enjoy each other.

This I believe- I had a wonderful example for being not only a mother, but a strong, intelligent, stubborn Polish-Irish woman!