My mom celebrates another birthday today. She is so active and spirited that it has kept her youthful and vibrant. There are many things I can say about this most important woman in my life. However, as many will bestow on her gifts to add to the celebration, it is the gifts that she has given to others that comes to mind.
To me, her son, she passed on her love of reading. Her love of education and her desire to have her children receive education in the best of circumstances, was one of her driving forces as a mother.
Her love of books translated into many bedtime stories of some of the most classic children books to me and my siblings. She was a working mom. She became teacher when she came home from work, not only assisting in homework, but teaching her children to learn and to love it.
Not all her teachings were welcomed by an antsy son, but eventually I discovered what she always said about books. They will take you to places far away without ever leaving your seat.
For me reading , not only opened the world for me but it offered some respite for a young boy struggling with sexuality and working through experiences with being bullied. Reading strengthen me because it stimulated my intellect and made me aware that there was more beyond my little existence.
It allowed me to dream. Reading allowed me to discover myself and to believe in myself. I devoured books , Reading everything from the Bible many times, cover to cover, before I graduated from High School to reading the latest Science Fiction series. The library was my friend.
My mother borrowed piles of books from the library. She will go in phases from Romances, Thrillers, Biographies and many other genres. I was amazed when I was younger about how thick her books were and I challenged myself by reading some of them.
I am amazed by this woman, who while going to school in Washington D.C. in the 50’s as a young girl was told to go sit in the back of the bus in an era where racism was the norm. She told the bus driver that she would not and stood her ground. They let her stay at the front of the bus. My mom was an island girl’s version of Rosa Parks.
But her story was real to me against the books I read about about the civil rights movement. I read the history of the period of time my mother lived through. Reading connects generations.
It is appropriate that on her birthday there will be an anniversary celebration of the million man march in Washington for equal opportunity and freedom and Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream speech.”
So every time I pick up a new book to read, it is a loving tribute to my mother, Joyce I. Martratt.
So on your birthday, I thank you mom for your gift of reading that you gave me.
I love you, mom. Have a wonderful birthday!
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