My birth mom was Mildred Mae Ollendorf until she married my Dad. Then she became Mildred Mae Nelson. She was born in Chicago Illinois near the end of W.W.I. Her mother was Welch and Danish, her father German. She had one sister. When she was young she studied nursing until she met my Dad.
After they were married he said he wanted a housewife and nothing more. So Mom agreed to be a housewife and never tried to work outside the house. After the birth of the first daughter they moved to Michigan and into a trailer on his uncle's farm. The trailer was cold and the baby got pneumonia and almost died. She was in a hospital for a while. It scared my Dad so much he said they would have a large family, and they did. (4 girls, then 3 boys, then a miscarriage which she told me she figured was her fourth son ,then another girl). After the baby got out of the hospital he bought his own farm so he would have his own house where it would be warm. He did not want anymore babies getting sick. Mom almost always went along with everything he wanted.
They moved back to Illinois to help his father when he had a heart attack. Then after his Mom died he moved his family to Redlands California to get away from the cold. Mom's whole life was her kids. She was very proud of her kids and told them often how proud she was. She was very proud her whole family grew up healthy and was not afraid to brag about her kids. Because of all the kids, she could not get into things (like scouts) with her kids, very much, but when she did she enjoyed it.
She loved to go off with my Dad on the weekends. We enjoyed it with the parents gone. Older kids watching younger ones. Always something going on. One of my parents biggest arguments was one time Dad wanted to take his whole family to Death Valley and Mom wanted to leave the kids at home like usual. Dad won and Mom was so mad she stay home alone and Dad took us to Death Valley. It was one of the few trips we took as a family and all the kids enjoyed it.
After that their marriage started deteriorating He would be gone for days at a time and no one had any idea where he went. Mom finally found out when I was in High School. They thought I was too young so I didn't find out until later what was going on. Mom and I used to watch TV in the evenings. Then suddenly she would go to her room and I could hear her crying. a little bit later she would come out and she would be alright again. This really tore me up. I wanted to do something to help Mom but there was nothing to do. I didn't even know what was wrong.
Through the years things got worse. All the kids were behind Mom and wanted only the best for her. Dad started pulling away from the family. I asked her once how come she didn't get a divorce. she said he promised to support me when we got married and he will support me until one of us dies. I never brought the topic up again.
One of the greatest times I had with Mom was when Dad had a stroke. One of my sisters called me and told me. I got thinking Mom is alone, she didn't drive and there was no family within about 40 miles. I did not like that one bit so I quit my job and drove from Oregon back to California and stayed with her for about 3 or 4 months until I knew Dad could take care of her again.
During that time we went to my little brother's wedding and went to the annual Christmas party at my sister's. but the best part was Sunday mornings. When I got up she would have the TV going and listening to some old shows that played religious music. We would sit there and sing along. neither of us had much of a singing voice,but we enjoyed singing. When it was time I went off to the church service (she refused to go with me) and when I came home I would take her to the hospital to see Dad.
In January he was strong enough to take over so I left and started my life again in Oregon. If I had known what would happen I never would have left. 1 year later I got another call from my sister. Mom was in the hospital dying of Cancer. They did not give her more then a couple of days. So my 2 Oregon sisters and I went down together we got there in time to say good bye. A few hours after we arrived she was gone.
What I remember most about Mom was that she was always there when I got home from school. She was always willing to talk when we needed someone to talk to. It didn't matter what time of day or how long it took she was there for us. I remember when I went in the USAF. I asked my Mom if she thought Dad would take me to the bus depot so I could catch a bus and go to L.A. for a physical and then the service. The day came and my Dad was there. He and Mom took me too the bus station. After I got on the bus I looked out the window and there were my parents standing together watching me go to who knows where. My oldest sister Sandy said it best. She said She was a good mommy.
You noticed I said Moms in the title and here is why. About 8 or nine years ago, after church, one of the older ladies in the church came up to me and said I am adopting you. You are my son now. I did not know her very well but I decided if it made her happy I would play along. As I got to know her better I saw what a really beautiful person she was and what a gift she gave me that day. She never gets tired of telling me how much she loves me and I never get tired of hearing it.. That is something I never heard much when I was growing up. It was hard for Mom to say those things. She also says how proud she is of me. She told me once I could just stand in front of the church and do nothing and she would still be just as proud of me.
Every Sunday morning she walks in the church and gives me a hug and a kiss. Then she asks how I am. I always say the same thing better now. Her hugs and kisses always make me feel better no matter how good or bad I felt. A couple of years ago I started calling her Mom. It just felt right so I started doing it. she loves it. Her husband is just as nice as she is. Maybe someday I will start calling him Dad I would like to but so far it has not felt right. I recently found out they adopted almost all the people in the church that are in my age group. God made some real jewels when he made Arlene and Gene Burroughs. They don't get any better then these two.