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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Outgoing (05/05/11)

TITLE: Mama and Her Girls
By Jackie Smithwick


She was mostly too busy to make many friends, so maybe you wouldn’t call her outgoing, but she was the most loving and giving person I have ever known. It wasn’t just me that thought so either. Once when I met someone she worked with, I was greeted with, “so you’re Kate’s daughter? You have a beautiful mother and everyone she works with holds her in very high regard.”

Born into a large family with eight siblings, Katie Watkins was 3rd from the baby, almost a middle child, like me. She started her very modest life in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains in a small home with a dirt floors, and of course, no indoor plumbing. Water was carried from the well and electricity, well that was a luxury she grew to appreciate only after her family moved south to work and live in the cotton mill town of Canton, GA.

She met a very handsome fellow in church one spring, and before the first winter freeze, was married and dreaming of a beautiful home and family. Traveling from town to town, to find work the two newlyweds made a home wherever they landed. The first of four girls came along before two years were up, and it was soon clear that the work efforts of this charming, good looking man was lacking in dedication, and consistency.

I often wonder when she realized it was an alcohol problem that held back her prince charming. As the years passed it became evident that there were problems in their marriage, problems fueled by alcohol and confrontations that more often than not, ended in his violent anger toward her.

After going without for so long, she found work. First in chicken plants where she always came home with a bloody apron from the chickens, and sometimes bloody cut up hands she received form cleaning the birds. Later a job with Bell Bomber plant was a welcomed opportunity, but cut short by end of the war lay offs. After the birth of her 4th daughter, she was once again employed at the same aircraft plant, only with the new name of Lockheed.

The new job and more money eased the pressures a bit, but the more frequent alcohol induced tirades caused her and the girls to flee to family and friends where they would stay until she was certain it was safe to return home. Then against the advice of her in-laws, and even her own girls, this strong woman did what was needed. She packed up her girls and moved to a new place. In this new place she would be closer to work, closer to the bustling city, but mostly closer to a quiet and calmer life.

A single parent family was not very common in the ‘50s, and truly this challenging new life may have been a little scary at times. She built a home full of love and taught her girls that faith, hard work and determination could accomplish almost anything.

She had some men callers, but mostly her weekend nights were spent taking us out for a hamburger or to visit family. She had a strong support system from her brothers and sisters, which gave her strength to go on, but I like to believe it was her faith that kept her going.

She sometimes took her girls to church, but wasn’t one to teach or preach. Anyone who knew her was aware of her beliefs, for her life was a testimony of God’s love. No I wouldn’t call her outgoing to strangers, but she was certainly known for going out of her way to help others in need, and to care for her girls.

Mama - maybe she is an outgoing helper in heaven. Maybe she is meeting and greeting people on the streets of gold. Maybe she is telling them about her girls. Maybe she is singing praises to our King, and maybe she is sitting at His feet just enjoying all His love and radiance. Whatever she is doing in heaven today, I hope she knows how much she is loved and remembered for the many sacrifices she made to better the lives of her girls.

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This article has been read 484 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Irene Patterson 05/12/11
When I started reading your story, I thought you were describing my own Mom. Gentle, patient, loving, hard working. The sadness that follows is only too common today. Good story. Good job.
Belinda Borradaile05/13/11
'Not outgoing but going out of her way' AWESOME! I lie this tale of Mama-I admire this Mama. Told very honestly whether the writers mama or not:)
diana kay05/14/11
great writing loved the way you topped and tailed it with the OUTGOING theme and the part in the middle was warm and engaging :-)
Bonnie Bowden 05/15/11
It is never an easy decision to uproot yourself and your children from an alcoholic household. I applaud this strong woman for being a real example of Christ's love and compassion.

Well written and engaging story.
Cheryl von Drehle05/17/11
I also liked the outgoing versus going out description. I'm sure this reflective reminiscence resonates with many daughters, especially as we consider our mothers in heaven.
Caitlin Dea05/17/11
Well written. Great content. It's one thing to write well, but to have a great story also... that makes you a winner :)

Keep writing:)