Today is my mom’s birthday. She would have been 68 today. And I feel like talking about her.
She was a warrior for love, justice, and for her children. I want you to know her. I want everyone to know her.
She had several names but the one she liked best, and that suited her well was just Delphia.
Delphia and all that she was, went to work in God’s garden on October 12, 2010…. and to pepper the heavenly theologians with savvy questions.
She was the valiant woman of Proverbs, strong, wise, compassionate, hard -working. She was a character, a tiny dynamine who once chased down her mugger, catching him three times and hitting him trying to get her purse back. He only got away because he pushed her and she sprained her ankle. Everyone in her good graces knew she would always be there, always look after them. Anyone not in her good graces had the good sense to stay as far away from her as possible. She was also the kind of woman who would go up to somebody who was hitting their kid at the grocery store and let them have it! She never put up with wrong doing if she saw it. And she never had any problem making a scene.
She was the Samaritan woman at the well, asking Jesus blunt, skeptical, insightful questions, being then won over completely in the end, bringing many with her. She saw that Gospel story as mirroring her own conversion and wanted it read at her funeral mass.
She lived with ingenuity and determination. Every place she lived, no matter what a dump it was, she made it pretty and cozy and homey in one creative way or another and she could make a good meal out of just about anything or almost nothing. She could make any yard a paradise.
She loved antique roses, tea, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Elizabeth Peters, Fleetwood Mac and Joni Mitchell, quilting, gardening, hard work outside, and scrabble. She hated grasshoppers, strong winds, boring conversations, bad grammar, bad manners, lousy cooking, and paying bills. She noticed everything and was interested in most of what she saw and heard about. She was sharp, curious, and opinionated.
She was a Jill of all trades doing everything from working at grounds maintenance at Texas A & M to selling condos, to working in the Rice Lab, and Forest Genetics, to tutoring Aggies in English, to mowing lawns, to being a church secretary. Sometimes she had crazy ideas that didn’t work out but she was not afraid to try new things. She was not afraid of much.
She came from Corpus Christi to study Horticulture at Texas A&M as a very young wife and mother in 1969, back when a woman could only attend A & M if she was a spouse or daughter of a male student or faculty member; which grated on her feminist nerves. She thought College Station was ugly and flat. She missed her mom, and the ocean of her home, but she loved school, and she studied hard, and she got involved.
She ended up staying in College Station for almost 30 years before moving to Calvert and into her dream Victorian farmhouse, which she quickly surrounded with roses.
She was a passionate, powerful personality, a fiercely devoted mother, a grandmother involved in the daily lives of her grandchildren and who was their perpetual go to person and confidant. She was an affectionate, loving wife to my wonderful step-dad, Tom, her “knight in shining armor.” She was a gardener of almost magical talent. She was someone who was always moving, who got things done.
She acted in and directed plays at our community theater, Stage Center, in the 80s but generally was a one-woman show in real life anyway and eventually that show took up more of her time and interest.
She was a hippie in the 60s and 70s, then a devout convert to Catholicism in her later years, (I was her co-sponsor along with my first husband, Marc Blaze.)
She loved to talk theology and taught RCIA classes at her church. She was known for her practical wisdom, wit, and strength of character, for her funny, sage and frank remarks, her pithy observations about people, life, relationships and the ways of the world. She was active in AA and Al-Anon for many years and helped several people in their struggle to start new lives.
Her memory is cherished by her family. She was her husbands’ joy and crown, and, “Her children rise up and call her blessed.”
She lived through many very hard times and difficult circumstances throughout her life and came through them stronger than ever. She was an example of courage, gratitude, positive thinking, liveliness, and of daring hope all her life.
She was diagnosed with lymphoma and early onset Dementia in 2008. No matter what she went through or how confused she became, her love was still evident. Even as she declined more and more from dementia she was still teaching us. And now everyone in Heaven had better watch out.
Happy Birthday, Mama.