My mother died when I was 18. She was 40. It was a really bad time but I’ve gotten through it and realized that she wasn’t a saint, wasn’t a paragon of virtue. I did what any kid does when they lose a parent they loved, put her on a pedestal and never wanted to see or hear anything bad about her. Ok, so I grew up and mom became another woman to me. She fixed her own car, hunted with bow and arrow (and got her deer every year…sometimes my step-father’s too), drank too much and flirted with anything in pants.
But today I found out that besides all the things that were denied or surpressed for women in the 50’s and early 60’s that one more thing was denied her even in death. One thing I think is important.
Her name was Goldie. Not a nickname, her actual name on her birth certificate. (Her nickname was Bess…don’t ask, I don’t know the answer to that one) But her newspaper obituary, in 3 local papers, listed her as Mrs. (Stepfather’s name). Today, through one of the genealogy sites, I found those obituaries and not one of them mentioned HER name anywhere. Not one. Even in death she became just an adjunct of the man she was married to, the mother of me and my sisters, daughter of my grandparents.
Not once was she ever acknowledged as an individual with an identity of her own. And it’s taken me 53 years to find that out.