Nancy Gertrude Brumley Weik would have been 100 years old on December 6th this year. She is my mother, and I have to wonder how she would feel about all that is going on in the world at this time in history. My mother had her opinions over the years on everything from soups to nuts. She usually said what was on her mind and did not mince with words. If she did not like something, she would tell you about it, but if she loved it, she would tell you too!
Nancy Gertrude Brumley Weik had four children I was the only daughter in the family. Every year when my birthday rolled around the same month as her birthday, she would send me a birthday card. She would always write in the card that “I was the best thing to happen to her”. My older brother died two hours after he was born due to complications that back then were called “blue baby”. After I arrived in 1950, she had two more boys and then the family was complete.
She was a stay at home mother, my father did not want her to work. She had plenty to do with caring for children that were close in age. She loved being a mother, she was the firstborn in her family of five and helped her mother take care of her brothers. So, she knew a little bit about what it would be like to take care of her own. As we got older, she wanted to be involved in what we were doing so she was always a room mother and helped with all the holiday parties we had every year. She told me she had to make this a fair process with three children, so she selected a different one of us every year to help in the classroom.
As we got older, we were involved in extra club activities, she became a Den Mother for the Boy Scouts. Neighborhood boys would come to the house each week and would learn something that would go towards the merit badges they were pursuing. She loved it and felt like she was doing her part as a parent preparing young people how to survive on their own one day. My father got involved as well by being a Scout Master and Troop Leader for the Boy Scouts. There were campouts, Court of Honors, and marching in hometown parades for the 4th of July. She saw to it that my brothers reached the highest goal in scouting by becoming Eagle Scouts.
For me, it was learning to sew and cook in the early days. She enrolled me in the local 4-H club. Just like my brothers, there were a lot of survival skills learned during those years. It was important to her that these skills would move us toward being an adult and would serve a purpose in our lives, maybe not then but years down the line. I would participate in the county fair every year with my sewing project and baking project. I was a better sewer than a baker back then but there were always lots of free samples. My father and brothers would become my taste testers on whatever I was trying to perfect my skills on. One year my father ate so much Coffee Cake I am surprised he ever wanted to look at another one again! The goal was to model my sewing project at the State Fair one year. It was the highlight of my 4-H career!
As we grew up and left home, we took all that knowledge that she wanted us to have with us into adulthood. She told me many times that if we had to go through another Great Depression 1929-1939 as she did we would probably not make it. At the time I did not think much of it because I had not experienced anything close to that when I was a young adult. It was only when moving forward in my life as years passed by with one experience after another that I began to understand better what she was telling us. Her statement was always at the back of my mind and still is today.
My mother was born the same year women were finally allowed to vote! She exercised her right to vote in every election. She was wise beyond her years because she had to be, and she passed that wisdom along to me. Thank God! She wanted me to have the skills to take on whatever the world would throw at me. I do not think without those skills I would be here today writing about it. I can only hope and pray I have done the same thing with my daughter and she will recognize it in her children.
The one the best gifts she gave me was the day we decided to join forces and begin that never-ending search for relatives that she had never heard about or only had pictures with no names. We started in 1983 and it is still my passion today and I plan to pass it along to my grandchildren.
In the days of no cell phones, no texting or talking on the computer like we do today, all we had was a regular telephone and the written letter. It all seems so ancient as of today, but I am glad she and I had the experience. It was “our thing” every Saturday morning. One of us would call the other because we lived in different states and the conversation would go on forever. We discussed our findings whether they be brick walls, dead ends, or a new clue to search for in the library near us. Sitting at my computer today writing this blog post I can say, oh how I miss that phone conversation today! She would have loved all the grandkids and would have wanted to sit down with each one to find out what was happening in their life. Our lives were similiar in many ways but different as well.
Happy Birthday Mom – I miss you!