It's May 1, 1906 – my mother's birth date!
My mother, Marcella May Morris-Hudson, would be one hundred eight years old if she were still alive today! I realize that a major turning point occurred in my life long before I was born!
I cherish her story, as sad as it was for so many.
Even though I always sensed that there was something wrong with my mother, I didn't fully understand her story until September, 1989, when I spoke to Clara Knox by phone. She was then about ninety-five, and her mind was as clear as a bell. I always knew that Clara and her husband Ben had served as my mother's foster parents for about six years after her mother, Myrtle Mae Maples-Morris died at the age of twenty-five, in 1908, of typhoid fever, while living in that underground sod Indian dwelling where my mom was born two years earlier where her parents had been in the Land Rush in Oklahoma before Statehood. It was so sad to hear mom speak of losing her mother so young along with her six year old brother, Jerry.
The sadness of losing her mother cast a spell on my childlike mother. She went to her grave grieving for a mother she never knew and she always wore a tiny gold locket with her mother's picture inside. With that said, my mother couldn't articulate what happened to her to leave her unable to function completely as an adult but I soon realized something was wrong with her.
It took talking to Clara, in 1989, to comprehend my mother's injury. She told me in graphic detail how she was watching my mother play on top of that flat sod roof unaware of the soft spot where Mother's foot slipped and she fell into the one room dwelling below. She landed on the hard floor, probably not far from her mother's sickbed. The fall caused a brain trauma lapsing her into a coma where she would remain for sometime.
Clara said they didn't expect her to live.
In the meantime my grandmother died leaving two orphaned girls, along with my grandfather, James Oliver Morris, was also critically ill with typhoid fever, then known as "the germ in the water."
Being the caregivers that Clara and Ben were they took in my mom and Aunt Gladys and served as their parents until my grandfather regained his health, remarried and reclaimed his children six years later.
And in the meantime my mom bonded to Clara and me always sensed that it grieved her deeply to lose another mother figure in her young life.
I have always felt that God prompted me to call Clara and be given a first hand account of what happened to Mother. Later I located other relatives who confirmed her story.
What really caught my attention was what I learned when I researched Clara's death date on the Internet on Ancestry.com. She passed away in October of 1989 just a month after she spoke so lucidly of this traumatic experience, that Mother suffered so many years before!
Making this connection was one more time that God stepped out of the wood work making His presence known in my life! This has been one of many "God Wink" moments that I delight in sharing with anyone who loves old family stories.
To make my stories complete I must add that my mother didn't marry until the age of thirty-nine due to a prearranged courtship by her neighbors to my father, Roy Earnest Hudson, a confirmed bachelor, after my grandfather died. And to this union our parents brought into this world my sister Alice Hudson-Roberts, a well known artist, and myself.
Even though the way was difficult and we eventually ended in an orphanage after our father's death when I was ten, I am so grateful for all that I possess because I've been so blest!
It's not what happens to us but how we are able to work it into the tapestry of our lives!
So often God has stepped out of the woodwork just when I needed it the most. This affirms my faith because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever and He always gets me to the right place at the right time! This calms my spirit as I pillow my head at night knowing He is in control and loves me even more than I love myself!
Sarah Hudson Pierce is a syndicated columnist and president of Ritz Publications of Shreveport. Her column runs periodically in the Press-Herald.