To those who knew her and loved her, Mary is most certainly unforgettable.
I wonder if, in my posts about her, I have glorified my 5’1″ mama. Made her bigger than life.
I hope not. I think not.
Warts and all, she impacted the lives of many in a positive, laughter-filled way.
A number of friends of mine have no such positive memories of their mothers or of their childhoods. I am amazed and impressed with the women they’ve become despite dealing with some pretty horrible childhood experiences.
My gratitude for being blessed with Mary’s spirit of joy, love and kindness will never go away.
On my good days as a mother, I am thankful for the example she gave me.
On the days I fail as a mother, I sometimes think “What would Mary do?”
Well, Mary would honest. Forthright. Firm, as needed. And when occasion called for it, apologetic.
Here are a number of ways that Mary Scott Gash Thornton is unforgettable to me:
- How she loved Watson and stood by her man no matter what. I never heard her disparage him or not support him. Any negative things she may have thought was expressed to him in private or in Japanese (which absolutely drove me crazy!)
- The way her voice lit up when heard me was on the phone. She made me feel like I was her favorite. I wasn’t. But she had a way of making each of us feel that way.
- Her commitment to keep in touch with friends, family and all those missionaries spread out around the world. This in an age before email and Skype. Long distance phone calls were rarely used. Letter writing was her mode of communication.
- Her love of reading. The Bible mostly. But also literature. She kept a log of the many books she read in her later years. It’s a treasure.
- Mama’s scrapbooks that could have been a goldmine for cultural anthropologists.
- She was the real thing. No pretense. I felt a sense of wholeness when i looked at her. She was who she was.
- Young people enjoyed her. Dad and Mom had “adopted” a dozen or so Japanese students at Southern Illinois University. The young people brought many friends with them week after week to my parent’s home for dinner, Bible study and conversation.
- Mama had a soft spot for dogs. She didn’t let on about it but many a morning I overheard her talking to my dog(s) while she scrambled an egg or two for them. “Don’t tell Watson,” I heard her say to my poodle, Edwin as she served him a hot breakfast. Later, I heard my dad say much the same to Sir Edwin. So I guess they did have secrets.
Mom’s sense of direction was terrible. Terrible. Mine isn’t much better so put the two of us together in a car without a map and it becomes a Laurel and Hardy show. One particular drive from Greenfield to Carterville takes four hours at the most for any of our family members. It took us eight. “Why is it taking us so long?” Mom asked before she burst out laughing. A mystery to this day.
All families have rich and ridiculous memories.
Most of mine revolve around my unforgettable, unabashedly reall mama.