Mom always helped others
The early years of the 1900’s were hard, Depression, times. But the people who came from that era learned how to handle almost anything.
My mom was born in 1918 to a poor family that had five other siblings. Mom’s parents had to move a lot trying to find work just to stay alive. Moving so often caused her to go to 11 different schools. But she loved school and dreamed of going to college. She graduated from high school as valedictorian. Her college hopes faded because there was no money.
Mom married my daddy right out of school. She had three children, and for years made all their clothes on an old Singer foot-petal sewing machine.
When my dad died in 1952 at age 51, she worked at the Bleachery to support the family. After a few years she married my stepdad and moved out to the country, where they started caring for foster children. We lost count of how many kids learned to call her Mama.
She learned that a leader was needed for the Betty Smith Kindergarten in Rock Hill. This was a kindergarten for mentally handicapped kids, most born with Down syndrome. This was a hard job, but it was made easier for my mom because she had a young sister who was born with Down syndrome. She had seen her mother taking care of her most of the time.
After Winthrop University took over the handicapped kindergarten, Mom looked for other ways to help less fortunate children. She and stepdad Edd McClain took jobs at the Hughes Memorial School in Danville, Va. They moved into a home with 21 little boys, most of them social orphans.
They worked there for a while and later at Thornwell Orphanage in Clinton. When my grandparents became too old to care for themselves and Carolyn, her handicapped sister, mother and Edd decided to retire to Rock Hill. She gave them the biggest room in the house until they both passed away. Still looking for ways to help others, she and Edd delivered Meals on Wheels during the day; at night she taught adults to read. She received joy when several of the men learned to read enough to get their driver’s licenses.
After my stepfather died she was without a way to get around, but she prayed for many people. Her prayer life started each morning on her knees beside her bed on her prayer pillow.
As her hearing became too bad to use the phone and she couldn’t get around anymore, she told me God must be finished with her.
On Nov. 20 she quietly slipped away to her reward. Hundreds had called her Mama, and she loved them all.
Cecil, Frank, and Sandra Pruette were blessed to have such a Godly woman for a mother.