In Memoriam Margaret Shirley Collins
Today, in addition to being Mothers Day, would have been my Mother's 84th birthday.
She was an overwhelming personality who did not suffer fools gladly. She was smart, and witty, and capable. She was a community leader, a political junkie, someone who never forgot her roots nor grew out of her compassion for others.
She adored Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley, Jr. She served in the WACs in New Guinea during WW II. She was a Staff Sgt. in Military Intelligence. She was a patriot, an anti-communist, someone who might have enjoyed discussing religion with Ben Franklin. She respected authority and also constantly challenged it.
Though she didn't finish her degree following WW II, she was the standard against which I measured myself in terms of history and literature. She played the organ some. She could sew anything. The dinner jacket, tweed pants, etc., that the teddy bear in one of my user pics is wearing she made without a pattern. (That's my
bear, "Joe" by name -- now retired, hence the rocking chair.)
We were very much alike, which meant that I always valued her opinion, but I was also always fighting for breathing space between us. I used to call her "Ford," because she "always had a better idea." I wanted to dedicate my dissertation to her and my Dad, but was told that "dissertations don't have dedications." So I snuck it into the acknowledgements section, together with a quote from Isaiah (51:1cd): . . . look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were digged."
She died of a series of strokes following arterial surgery in 1987, on the last day of Scout Camp (I was the Director). My staff lowered the flag to half mast that morning (Mother would have appreciated the honor). It took me two years to stop saying to myself, "I've got to tell Mother that."