Mother was up early and studied and wrote. She wrote a novel. After one rejection she dared to show it to her sister, an English teacher, for comments. She sent her revision to a publisher and when it was rejected again, she destroyed it, so I was only able to read pieces of it while it was a work in progress, and I was a child for whom reading the entire novel would have been too much.
She also wrote poetry, but when she knew she was terminally ill, she culled her poems and saved only those that she was willing for others to see. I do still have those, along with poems that other family members wrote.
Somewhere along the line I learned that Mother had told a preacher that she wanted to be a preacher. Apparently he told her mother. That’s all I know about that.
Mother had breast cancer and was treated with surgery, where she got hepatitis from a blood transfusion, and cobalt radiation. About ten years later it had metastized to her bones and she died at 56.
In the May 1974 Women’s Caucus Newsletter of the Southern New England Conference of the United Methodist Church, I wrote the following:
Anger, guilt, self-doubt,
strength and determination;
Struggle against ancient concepts of woman’s place
and family comments of “She’s the odd one.”
The fight is lost in bits and pieces:
She cooks and cleans and loves her man;
She types and smiles,
Soothes crazy patients,
and rears a daughter to avenge her.
And then she dies at fifty-six,
of internalized rage
and cancer of the bone.