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Mother's Day pin still has its luster

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By W.B. Evans

– Editor’s note: Due to reader requests, we are reprinting this Remember When column, which was originally published in the May 13, 2007, edition of The Lancaster News.

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Time never dulls the luster of a mother’s love. I rarely addressed my mother – the late Azalee Scott Evans – by the so-called proper name of mother.

She was, and still remains, Mama to me.

She passed away in 1970 at the age of 63.

You know, I guess it’s the manly thing to feel that we, as sons, should be images of our fathers. or chips off the old block, so to speak.

In my generation, mothers were usually the ones there for us.

Our fathers were either working or off with Uncle Sam, leaving mothers to do the raising.

Mama was my mother and guardian angel, too. She nursed me when I was sick or under the weather. She soothed me when I felt troubled and didn’t hesitate to soothe my behind with a firm hand when I got too big for my britches.

Mama also served as a “go-between,” which saved me more than once from my daddy’s brand of backside soothing.

Now, when I was clearly in the wrong,  she was like a brooding prosecutor presenting an airtight case before a high judge.

Although money was tight during the Great Depression, she always managed to squeeze out a little bit of pocket change from somewhere for me.

Mama would’ve made an excellent diplomat, too. She never met a stranger.

She never pre-judged folks and accepted them regardless of skin color or status. If Mama were alive today, she would be troubled by the commotion over immigrants.

She taught me to love reading good books, but failed on poetry.

Mama was a special lady, and in the eyes of an 8-year-old boy, she deserved the very best that pocket change could buy.

And I found it one afternoon at the corner of Main and Gay Streets.

During a casual shopping trip to Cox’s Dime Store, I spied a pendant I was determined to get Mama for Mother’s Day, which was less than a week away.

It was a bed of mother-of-pearl pendant with a golden fastener on the back. Written on top of the pin – in pure gold – was one word, “Mother.”

That was about the prettiest pin I had ever seen and I just knew Mama would be pleased to wear it.

But I was dead broke. I don’t remember the exact cost of the pin, but it was more than a quarter.

I figured I could do some stuff for Aunt Bess to earn enough to buy the pin. Well sir, Aunt Bess had a bunch of stuff she was willing to fork over some silver pocket change for.

That Saturday before Mother’s Day, I rushed back to the dime store.

The town was crawling  with folks and when I finally inched my way inside the dime store, my heart sank.

I stared at the counter and then at my feet; the best Mother’s Day present ever was gone.

The sales lady standing behind the counter asked me if she could help me. I stammered about the special pin not being there. She quickly plundered beneath the counter and fished out a couple of pins that had been buried under some other stuff.

The clerk knew a deal had been struck as soon as my eyes brightened and I grinned. I forked over the cash and headed out the door with a little white bag containing the precious pin.

I must’ve stopped at least a dozen times on the way back to Chesterfield Avenue to open the bag and look at it.

But, just like most 8-year-old boys, I got antsy and couldn’t wait until Sunday morning.

I gave Mama her gift right then and there. Her eyes got a little watery as she hugged me tightly.

She promised to wear her new pin to church the next morning.

And what a glorious day it was!

Aunt Bess was up bright and early that Mother’s Day morning and headed outside to cut fresh red and white roses for us to wear.

Mama wore a white rose in memory of her mother, along with the pin. I wore a red rose since my Mama was still living.

But that wasn’t the only time she wore that little dime-store pin; Mama proudly wore it every Mother’s Day for the rest of her life.

The little boy who gave it to her was 37 years old when she pinned it on for the last time. He’s the one who wears the white rose now.

I still have the pin. Sometimes, when I hold it, I don’t know if I should smile or tear up like she did when I gave it to her.  

It might not have cost very much, but to Mama the little inexpensive mother-of-pearl pin with the genuine solid gold “Mother” lettering on top of it was priceless.

You know, time never dulls the memories of a mother’s love, either.

She’s still Mama to me.