You might be wondering why I'd be writing about my dad for a Mother's Day blog, but it'll make sense soon enough. Like almost everything in my life, it's all connected to my childhood memories. This is a tale of two very special mothers, an awesome aunt, and my home state of West Virginia.
Before Alzheimer's Disease took my dad's mind, he was a truly brilliant man. He also had a killer sense of humor. And he happened to pick an awesome woman to be my mom. One of her favorite stories of him was when he first asked her out. "Do your eyes bother you?" he asked.
"No," she said, "why?"
"Because they sure bother me" he replied.
Pretty corny come-on line, but in his defense, my mother was a stunning woman with eyes as blue as the sky. But I digress.
My mom, c. 1936
Mother's Day was kind of a big deal in our family because my dad just happened to be from Grafton, WV. For those of you who don't know, Grafton was the birthplace of Anna Jarvis, the woman credited for founding Mother's Day. Anna Jarvis was born in Grafton, West Virginia, on May 1, 1864. She was the ninth of eleven children born to Ann Marie and Granville Jarvis. In 1881, she enrolled in the Normal School (that's what they called teacher's college in those days) at the Augusta Female Academy in Staunton, Virginia, now Mary Baldwin College. After graduation, Anna returned to Grafton and taught school for seven years.
After Anna's father, Granville died in in 1902, she cared for her mother whose health was in steady decline. Mrs. Jarvis passed away on May 9, 1905, survived by four of her children. Anna's mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis was a social activist, founder of Mothers’ Day Work Clubs, and a unifying force within her community during the Civil War. As a woman defined by her faith, Ann was very active within the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church community. It was during one of her Sunday school lessons in 1876 that her daughter, Anna found her inspiration for Mother’s Day, as Ann closed her lesson with a prayer:
"I hope and pray that someone, sometime,
will found a memorial mother's day
commemorating her for the matchless
service she renders to humanity in every
field of life. She is entitled to it."
~Ann Reeves Jarvis
On May 10, 1908, three years after her mother's death, Jarvis held a memorial ceremony to honor her mother and all mothers at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, now known as the International Mother's Day Shrine in Grafton, thus marking the first official observance of Mother's Day. The International Mother's Day Shrine has been designated a National Historic Landmark since October 5, 1992.
On Sunday, May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation that officially established the first national Mother’s Day holiday to celebrate America’s mothers.
Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church
International Mother’s Day Shrine
This house in Grafton where Anna Jarvis was born is also on the U.S. Register of Historical Places and is now a museum.
Anna Jarvis’ Birthplace, Grafton, West Virginia
When I was growing up, we would pass this house almost every weekend. Sometimes it was to stay at my Dad's sister Mary's home for the whole weekend, or for just a quick hello on our way to the mountains. We spent LOTS of time in the mountains. West Virginia is the Mountain State, after all!
A scenic wonderland, West Virginia is an outdoor enthusiast's dream destination. Here's a downloadable of five awesome places to make memories in the Mountain State, including Tamarack, our state's premier showcase of fine arts and crafts and regional cuisine. At Tamarack, you can find many of my designs, including my "It's Five O'clock Somewhere Collection" of wine grape inspired jewelry alongside fantastic wines from West Virginia's best wineries.
My Aunt Mary's house was always so much fun for me...and one of the main reasons was her jewelry box. It was a big Japanese black lacquerware box with Mother-of-Pearl inlays and red velvet lining. Aunt Mary always let me try on her jewelry, and she had lots! I'm sure this is where I first fell in love with jewelry.
My mom grew up during the Depression, so she refused to spend money on fine jewelry. Now of course she had a boatload of Sarah Coventry and Trifari and other fancy costume jewelry to match every outfit! She was very fashion oriented, just thrifty!
Mom’s Costume Jewelry
My mom loved wearing my jewelry as she got older, and was one of my biggest fans as well as a walking, talking (always talking!) billboard. She was gone before I started working in fine silver, and before I was juried into Tamarack. Aunt Mary is gone too. But I am so fortunate to have had these two wonderful, fashionable women in my life, they are still such an inspiration to me. I’m also eternally thankful to Dad for making it all possible, and for the exposure to my Wild, Wonderful home state and all the bounty she has to offer.
Mom, Dad and Aunt Mary
To see more Mother's Day gift ideas, please visit my Etsy shop at www.sterlynxsilver.etsy.com
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