She was born in 1927 during the Great Depression ... grew up during World War II ... met and married a young sailor after the war ... and became a businesswoman in Richmond. She's my mom ... and she turned 80 years old today.
We took her on a journey to the small rural town outside Richmond where she was born ... where her family had arrived by train from a cabin in southwestern Virginia to find a better life and jobs. She was the last of 10 children, the one born in the flatlands instead of the mountains.
We all had lunch together and celebrated with cheese cake and strawberries, and with gifts. I had taken Warfel Chocolates from the Dayton Farmer's Market -- her favorites.
As we visited she recalled the story of her uncle who was the town cop way back when ... and how he had a shootout one night with a perpetrator ... they both were killed in the shooting. We drove by his house now owned by others, then went outside of town and looked for traces of the farm where she was born ... the house is gone but much still looks the same.
And we celebrated this woman who is in remarkably good health for someone her age who has worked hard all her life, who taught us to not whine about what we don't have but to instead work hard to achieve it, who instilled a strong work ethic in her three daughters ... my mom.
It was a good day with family. Happy birthday, Mom!