…….I knew when I learned of Dr. Mike Swan’s path to his current position of interim superintendent of schools that his story would be inspirational. I wasn’t disappointed. When I spoke to his Mom, Lynn, she commented that had they forced Mike to attend college right out of high school, he would have probably have dropped out.
…..Accessibility and affordability are part of the value of the community college. I’m a product of the community college so I speak from first-hand experience. I dropped out of college; married; and had a family. It wasn’t until I went back to work in my thirties that I realized in order to get where I wanted to go I needed a degree. I spent eight years working as the community relations coordinator at West Virginia Northern Community College and taking college classes at the same time. I remember complaining to then WVNCC President Dr. Barbara Guthrie-Morse about having to get the degree. “Why do I need it?” I whined. I She bluntly told me “Do you think I wanted to get my master’s and doctorate? But, I needed them to get where I wanted to be.” I was writing and publishing the union newspaper for Weirton Steel’s union at the time, so she said, “Think of it as your union card. You can’t get anywhere at a union shop without the union card,” When I graduated from West Liberty, Dr. Guthrie-Morse presented me with a framed certificate which said “Union dues paid in full.”
…..Mother’s Day will be here next weekend. It should be named Mom’s Day because who calls their Mom mother? If you’re really being accurate, however, I would go for the two- syllable version that my kids favor when exasperated with me, It’s “Moooo…..oooom!” with the exclamation point added for emphasis.
…..Mothers are nurturers, they are cookers, they are planners, but beyond anything, Mom’s are helpers, Just like Mr, Rogers said about disasters “look for the helpers” and where there are sons and daughters, Moms will always see themselves as the helpers. Sometimes it gets a little dicey though when the help is not quite welcomed. My Mom was a helper. She kept a very neat and tidy house and saw one of her goals as a mother as keeping me on the neat and tidy path. Timing is everything when it comes to help. Mom exercised her help every Sunday between first and second mass. Mom went to 8 a.m. mass only two blocks from my house on Second Avenue in New Cumberland. The kids and I went to 10 a.m. mass. Mom thought that hour in-between was the perfect time to drop by for a cup of coffee. At 9 a.m. Mom would arrive just as we were getting ready for church and use the restroom. Why would that be a problem, you ask? In my early Eighties decorating frenzy, I made the decorating mistake of my life when I choose the color of the bathroom sink. If the walls were sponge painted gold and the countertop was faux marble (no real stuff for me) a brown sink looked great right? Not really, but when you brushed your teeth the toothpaste made the sink look like a tutorial for the unhappy homemaker.
…..Exiting the bathroom Mom would yell “Where’s the Windex?” I would yell back “Leave it, Mom. I haven’t brushed my teeth.” I should note that we had a small house and the yelling was just for emphasis. She was determined to help. Her eyes darted about as she looked for a child. She grabbed Doug as he sprinted up the stairs to get dressed. He could honestly say he had no idea where the Windex was or even what it was. But, then she would spy Shannon. As Shannon saw my mother with the paper towel in hand, she backed away. Shannon did not like confrontation. She knew better than to tell my mother the Windex might be under the kitchen sink…or in the laundry room…..or in the linen closet….or even in the garage. My mother was a believer that everything had its place, but Shannon feared greatly that her grandma would open the cabinet under the sink where everything from dishwashing liquid to pledge to a cascade of aluminum foil, wax paper, plastic wrap would be unleashed and Gramma would know the truth about us. We were indiscriminate about where we kept our cleaning supplies.
…..My Mom would eventually locate the Windex and as she scrubbed that brown sink, she would say the same thing to me every Sunday, “You know Dear if you just kept a bottle of Windex and paper towels under your sink, you could clean this after you brush your teeth.”
…..We continue her tradition of moms helping daughters, but it’s gotten more complicated now that there are four generations of women. Shannon has moved into a new house and is converting a small bedroom to her new closet. I fall short in so many “Mom” things….cooking, wrapping presents, sewing….but I shine in closet organization. She has asked me to help her and I am eager to do so. The next day I buy fabric boxes for her shelves and shoe organizers for her door. I spent an afternoon at Target purchasing in an organizational frenzy. The next day I was ready and started calling so we could tackle our project the next morning, but she told me it was delayed because she had to go to daughter Abbi’s house and help her.
…….”Abbi wanted to take a shower, so I’m helping her with the baby,” said the text. “ But this is the time when I’m supposed to be helping you. I have four hours blocked to help you and you helping Abbi is cutting into my time to help you.” Shannon sent a picture of herself holding little Madilynn. Babies trump closets. Babies trump all!