Mother’s Day is on May 9 this year. Throughout the month, I plan to write blogs about our mothers and share stories we all have, each with our own versions.
Let’s start with how Mother’s Day came to be. The first Mother’s Day celebration took place at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, in 1908. Anna Jarvis organized the event, implementing an idea she received from her mother, Ann, who had passed away in 1905: to hold a memorial that honors mothers for their “matchless service [rendered] to humanity in every field of life.”
Anna’s friend and wealthy local businessman, John Wanamaker, helped her increase awareness about Mother’s Day. By 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making Mother’s Day a national holiday, celebrated on the second Sunday in May. Anna, who never married, grew angry about the way it became commercialized.
Interestingly, John Wanamaker is known for a number of firsts of his own—including owning one of the first department stores in the United States, creating the price tag, and establishing the money-back guarantee.
Mothers have many characteristics. In our home, growing up, we always called my mother “mama.” It was never mother, mom, Virginia, old lady or head lady. In the South, I think and feel that saying “mama” is like saying “I love and respect you.”I also know that after certain events took place, the mamas in my social circle got nicknames based on how they responded to the events.
Here is just one story, where I describe my mama as John Wayne.
My friends and I went to a party at Westside Country Club in Port Wentworth, Georgia. I was 18 years old, having a great time with my many friends. None of us was being an example to follow. I was an adult, by law, but in our house I was still under the law of my parents—especially my mama’s law. She was thetough sheriff in town.
My mama walked through the front door of that country club like cowboys did through the doors of saloons in old westerns. Everyone stopped breathing and started finding an exit. She wanted to know where her son and daughter were, and she meant right away!
My so-called “friends” gave up my and my sister’s locationsquicker than somebody robbing a bank. She got both of us and took us to the car and drove on down the road. I don’t know what happened to the rest of the people at that location, but what I did learn was that mamas can and will do anything to teach their children to do right.