Today is my mother’s birthday. Born on November 7, 1913, she would have been one hundred years old today. Sadly, Alzheimer’s Disease stole her away in 1989, but this morning, I’ll reminisce and tell you a little about my mom.
Faith Lucy was the middle child in her family. Her father, Fred Stockton, was a Baptist minister and administered outreach programs serving Native Americans in the Dakota Territories. Her mother, Lucy Swisher Stockton, was a dutiful pastor’s wife, carefully tending to her husband and her five daughters.
Mom’s oldest sister, Evelyn, was mentally disabled, probably due to a birth injury, and this affected all the family. Back in those days, mental illness was often hidden from others, but Evelyn’s parents still sent her to public school. Sometimes her actions embarrassed Mom and her sisters, but Evelyn actually did fairly well academically. As she entered her teens, it was more difficult to keep her safe from those who might take advantage of her. Mom said she remembered Evelyn arguing with their mother about why she couldn’t date boys like her younger sisters. One time when I was a child, Mom took my little sister and me to visit my Aunt Evelyn in North Dakota State Hospital. She played dolls with Cathy and me, and we had a great time.
Mom’s family loved music, and her parents paid for her violin lessons. Later, Mom gave up the violin for the piano, and I remember as a child listening to her practicing “Clair de Lune” over and over. Mom and Dad also provided piano lessons for Cathy and me as we were growing up.
Poetry was another love. As a young girl, Faith Lucy wrote and submitted a poem to her teacher who scolded her for copying a poem out of a book. She said her mother was furious that the teacher would accuse her daughter of plagiarism. She marched up to school and let that teacher know in no uncertain terms that Faith’s poem was not copied—it was her own!
Mom and Dad married in Fargo, North Dakota, in 1935. Dad was an executive secretary in the Y.M.C.A., and mother stayed at home with Cathy and me through all our growing up years. Money was tight during the War, so she often made us matching dresses from brightly printed flour sacks. Then she would sew little outfits for our dolls from the scraps.
Although she was a college graduate, Mom never had a career. After Cathy and I were married, she tried her hand at teaching in a small private school, but she discovered that her students’ parents often “ruled the roost” rather than the school administrator—he was afraid to lose their tuition money, she said. So she gave up teaching. Later, she enjoyed being a Tupperware distributor, and I’m still using some of her Tupperware samples. Mom also played an active role in her church, teaching classes and participating in Presbyterian Women.
Our children called her “Mamoo,” so today I’ll simply say “Happy Birthday, Mamoo. We all loved you very much!”