My mother, Gladys Marie Pool, was born on May 1, 1920. The youngest of three children, she was only 1 year old when her mother, my grandmother, passed away from blood poisoning, due to a bursting of her appendix.
She and her two siblings were split up and sent to live with their aunts and uncles. Her brother and sister were sent to one family, and she had to go to another.
Through all her struggles, such as being raised by a very old-fashioned Protestant aunt, she became a very strong person. She got married to my father and gave birth to my brother, Lonnie. Not long after Lonnie was born, my father was shipped off to California for military training during WWII. Mother wanted to be close to my dad, so she packed up my brother, Lonnie, boarded a train and headed west, so she could spend as much time as possible with my father, before he would get shipped off. To help make ends meet, she worked in the produce fields in California.
I always remember mother’s love of gardening. She always had the most amazing flowers in her home. Each year, mother would plant the largest garden, and, of course, her kids had to help. She would start plants in the house early each year, and then when it was time, we would help transplant them in the garden. Mother had a great love of flowers. As a child, I think my mother planted every flower there was. Most of all were the irises and peonies. Each year on Decoration Day, now known as Memorial Day, mother would make a bouquet using these flowers. The entire family would go to the Marboro Cemetery to decorate veterans’ graves. Each year, our family would spend most of the whole day at the cemetery. We heard stories about the American heroes and the music from that time.
Mother was also a fisherman. She would drag me down to Delaware Lake and set me on the bank. Then she would fish for hours, and I would get in trouble for throwing rocks in the lake. She was in the “Ohio Fisherman’s Guide” for catching the largest crappies, several years in a row.
Mother was also a very good cook. She would bake the best cookies!. My sister, Lorena, said you needed to be “near the oven” when they came out if you wanted one. Lorena’s favorite cookie was oatmeal chocolate chip, my brother, Eddie, loved mother’s oatmeal raisin, and my brother Lonnie and I loved her peanut butter cookies. (I liked them just a little burnt.)
Through all my mom’s hardships, she raised four children, worked on the farm, and volunteered with the American Cancer Society, as well as working at the election poles every year. And she belonged to several women’s clubs.
My sister, Lorena, said, “When you came home from school, you always knew where mother was.” She was home waiting for us children to come home. She was always there for us. She worked as hard as our father did, to make sure we had what we needed to become the people we are today. This story has been very hard for me to write. The reason is hard to explain, but, she was my mother. God bless her. I know she is growing flowers in heaven, because that’s what she would want to do.
Loren Pool is a retired Delaware County deputy sheriff.