70 (And Counting) Years of Labor…
Labor Day, 2021! As I was preparing for today, I got to thinking….”what is Labor Day about, anyway?” I tend to forget as we don’t hear much about it except it is a National Holiday….banks are closed, mail doesn’t run, some businesses are closed or close early and you may see flags flying more than normal. I looked up the actual meaning of Labor Day and this is what I found:
Observed the first Monday in September, Labor Day is an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers. The holiday is rooted in the late nineteenth century, when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being.
You can read more about Labor Day by clicking here.
I have to share with you the story of my mom who is my hero, by the way. My mom will be 83 this week. She still works to this day. Not because she has to… because she wants to.
I love to hear her stories of her younger years. They were tough and they got tougher as she got older. The sad thing is, it didn’t have to be tough. It was mainly due to choices of people in her life that didn’t see her value and worth. The good news is, it only made her stronger. I could tell you some amazing stories….but for today, I just want to share a tiny bit of her life as a woman who has been in the labor force for 70 years.
Mom began working in a movie theater when she was 13 years old. She worked at the popcorn concession stand for a man named Mr. Moses who owned the local movie theaters in Fort Stockton, Texas. He moved her up to work in the ticket booth selling movie tickets. She worked there until she graduated from high school. I have to share this bit of trivia. A lady came to the theater regularly that had a little girl that my mom describes as so very cute and mannerly. My mom asked the lady what her little girls name was. The lady answered, “Beverly Kay.” She had blonde hair and green eyes. As she walked away, my mom told herself that if she ever had a little girl, she would name her Beverly Kay. And, she did…..and I even had blonde hair and green eyes!
After my mom graduated, she worked for an oil company until she married. After my mom married, she helped my dad manage the movie theaters that Mr. Moses hired my father for in a small West Texas town of Crane and eventually in New Mexico. Shortly after, my mom became a telephone operator. As time went on and with three little ones, she always had a job as a store clerk, desk clerk etc. If you follow me, you know a bit about “my story.” We moved many times as my dad was a surveyor and we moved with a crew of people all over Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma.
My parents divorced when I was 12. We were now on our own and zero money. When I say zero….I really mean it. My mom made it work somehow. I was beginning Jr. High and she began working as a desk clerk at a large hotel in town. Long hours and low pay. She looked for part time work to go along with that job and worked at a country club on weekends at the front desk. She also worked the concession stand at the professional baseball teams park. Yes, I was a babysitter for my two younger brothers. Lot’s of time sitting at baseball games waiting for my mom to get off. Life was busy and a bit hard, but, because of my moms hard work ethic, we made it! Let me just share this. My mom would have loved to have been a stay at home mom and raise us three kiddos. It just never worked out for her.
Our lives changed when I was 14. Jesus came into our lives and talk about a change not only in our personal lives, but our home life as well. My mom found a new job that would replace those three other jobs. She worked for the local newspaper office. She was the one who put the ads in the paper for local businesses. One day as she was measuring an ad for a church, she read about a group that was coming to town to sing. That is how we ended up in this particular church after never really knowing what church was all about and surely never attending as a family.
After attending and growing in our walk with the Lord, the pastor and his assistant came to visit and offered my mom a job as the church secretary. My mom was shocked but told them that she had just gotten this job at the newspaper office and was making enough money to make it. She explained that she couldn’t leave unless she were to make more money that she was. After they asked her how much she needed to make, she said that she was making $100.00/week. They then offered her $125.00/week. She then accepted the offer and worked as the church secretary for 12 years. She loved her job. She never complained and never talked about anything that was going on in the office. The only thing she would tell me is how much she enjoyed her work and the people she served. She also told me that they loved our little family and loved me and I believed her. I grew up always feeling safe where we were. Money was always tight, but, as hard as it is to explain…..we never did without necessities. I believe the Lord took care of my mom because of her hard honest work. She never thought anyone owed her anything. That goes for the government, too. We were never on government assistance of any kind. My mom felt that as long as you can work and have a job, you didn’t need assistance. If you don’t have a job, you get out and find one.
My mom did get a night job once cleaning office buildings for awhile when she left her church secretary job. She worked downtown as a secretary for a secretarial service and she had a friend who had a check cashing store and they asked her to manage that. When my husband and brother began their business they asked her to come work for them as a bookkeeper. That is what she is still doing to this day. Everyone loves my mom because they know she loves them and if they don’t see mom around for a few days, they will always ask, “Where’s Grandmom!”
Well, I could go on forever talking about my mom. I just wanted you to get a glimpse of a lady who has never been afraid of work. She has been working since she was 13 and will be 83 this week. Labor Day is the day to honor women like my mom! She is what makes America great!
May you have a great Labor Day and honor those that work for all that they have! If you ever need someone to teach about work ethic, you might ask my mom!
Until next time….