BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
Women shed tears, shared laughter and recalled stories of old during an event remembering their mothers on Saturday.
“Out of everyone who loves you, I love you the most,” singer Shaunta Williams belted out at the “Missing Our Mothers, Daughters Remember” program sponsored by VITAS Healthcare.
“The event joins together women who share a common bond, who may not know each other in everyday life but come together in celebration for a special person, and that’s their mother,” VITAS General Manager Shanda Nobles-Milton told the Daytona Times.
The eight-to-a-table program began with breakfast followed by a treasured memories table exercise.
Each woman, some in their 70s pulled a question from a box asking such questions as “What kind of car did your mom drive? What do you remember about your mom’s bedroom? What was your favorite meal that your mom cooked? What do you remember about your mom’s purse? What fragrance do you remember your mom wearing?”
White Shoulders and Chanel No. 5 topped the list of fragrances, while candy and change were memories of mothers’ purses.
“Wait now,” one daughter shared. “We didn’t go in mom’s purse. If she told us to bring her something in her purse, we didn’t go in it, we brought the whole bag to her and she reached in and got what she needed. We didn’t go in her room either.”
“But when we did,” she laughed. “We would try on her jewelry and make a point to put it back just how we found it. I mean perfectly. She always knew though!”
Sears and Roebuck license
“Mother drove a Willys car,” Dr. Gwendolyn Goldsby Grant shared. Many in the room were not familiar with the brand which was founded in 1908. Production of the vehicles ended in 1955, changing names to Kaiser-Jeep Corporation in 1963. “My mother and other women- Black women, didn’t drive back then. My mom got a Sears and Roebuck License,” she shared. “I bet you didn’t know you could get a license through Sears and Roebuck.”
It’s true. During the first third of the 20th century, women and men were able to be licensed through the company.
Other women shared their dismay of not being able to make dishes the same way their mothers could.
“A pinch this, a pinch that,” a daughter remembered. “And then you wonder why when you made it, it didn’t come out right. Well because what you remembered as a pinch was really a cup.” The room exploded with laughter. “Just to have the mothers we have, we’re so blessed.”
A master plan
Luicille O’Neal was the keynote speaker at the morning event. The author of “Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go,” is widely known for her motivational messages as well as being mom of retired NBA player Shaquille O’Neal.
“I’m not just Shaquille’s mom. I’m Jamal’s mom. I’m Lateefah’s mom. I’m Ayesha’s mom,” she acknowledged.
O’Neal shared with the women that she was a teen mom, having Shaquille when she was 17.
“God has got a master plan over your life,” she said. “My mom was encouraging, she was praying for me.”
O’Neal lost her mom, Odessa Chambliss, in 1996 to ovarian cancer but explained to the women, most of who’s moms had passed that “Mother will always be with you.”
Before closing O’Neal implored the women present to think of what their legacy will be.
As the women exited, each were given a pink carnation. Outside two women who had only met that morning commented to one another the gratitude they felt of coming out to remember their moms.
“My mom passed just three months ago, and I’ve been holding this in and holding it in and I’m just so glad that I pulled myself out of bed this morning. I know time heals all and I’ll never get over losing her, but this was a great step for me. She left me with great memories. She was like that.”