Mary Annette Wyman, my mother, was born August 24, 1920 in Michigan. She was the third child in her parents' family, but the first for them together. Her parents had been married before and each had a son.
|Mary, Alfred, Edward, Gerry & Emma|
|Mary, Alfred, Al, Gerry, Emma|
There were new faces in high school. One of those was a sophomore, LeRoy (my dad), whose family had just moved to Leslie that year. In the way of boys and girls, they became friends and the friends became sweethearts. He graduated in 1938. She wanted to quit school and get married, but he didn't agree and insisted that she finish high school. She did graduate in June of 1939. September 1, 1939 Nazi Germany attacked Poland and WWII had begun.
They were married September 30, 1939 at her folks' home. It was on that same day the German pocket-battleship Admiral Graf Spee sank its first merchant ship, the British freighter, Clement, off the coast of Brazil. The war had come to the Americas, but it would be a while before it would intrude on their lives.
On August 25, 1940, a day after Mary's 20th birthday, she gave birth to a son and named him Charles. In 1943, Mary and LeRoy moved to Leslie where their families lived in anticipation of him entering the US Army Air Corp. Earlier that year, Mary had given birth to a daughter, Barbara. Mary would need the support of family while her husband was away.
The two years that followed were very difficult for Mary. She did not handle the stress well, but she did make it through. Eventually the war ended and her husband returned home. The next summer, Mary and LeRoy bought and moved into a house a couple of blocks away. LeRoy would live there for the rest of his life.
|The family in 1946|
In 1951, Mary had a second daughter, Clara. Margaret came along in 1954. Once these younger daughters had grown enough to take care of themselves without supervision, Mary began to work outside the home. This was good for her.
Mom was a great cook. Dad loved pie, and we had pie almost everyday. What I remember most was BLT sandwiches when tomatoes were in season. What a treat they were! I believe her specialty was split-pea soup. She would cook up a ham, and remove most of the meat from the bone. That bone with some meat still on it would go into the soup pot along with the peas and a few spices. I always remember my mother when I eat spit-pea soup, and love it.
|Mary & LeRoy|
When Dad died in 1990, Mom was acting a bit strange. I thought it was the stress of his losing battle with cancer. She would later be diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. It was difficult to see this wonderful woman and mother in her final years. At that time, I was living 800 miles away in Connecticut. I would visit her when I could and usually my sisters would be there too. One time, she asked my three sisters if they knew each other. They answered that they did and that she was their mother. She just said, "Oh." She didn't know who we were, but we knew who she was.
She passed on September 20, 1996. She is buried next to her husband, LeRoy. Yet she lives on not only in the memory, but also in the lives of her children. We all follow in the way that she taught us.