Commentary: Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and to mothers everywhere

Commentary: Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and to mothers everywhere
May 05
05:40 2016

James B. Ewers Jr.

Guest Columnist

Celebrating Mother’s Day should be something that we do each day.  [It will be on Sunday, May 8, this year.] My mother passed away many years ago now, yet I carry her spirit with me wherever I go.

My mom was a deeply caring person, so maybe that was one of the reasons that she became a registered nurse.  She was a member of the first graduating class of Kate Biting Reynolds Hospital in Winston-Salem NC.  In those days nurses wore starched white uniforms and my mom had a black ribbon around her nurse’s cap.  She was a proud woman and her appearance was important to her.

While she worked various shifts, she made sure that she always took me to Sunday school.  She didn’t drop me off as she was always in the adult class or somewhere in the church. At any rate prior to going to church or for that matter anywhere, she always told me to “act like I have some sense” and to be respectful.

My father would simply look on in silent agreement.  I always thought that my mom was pretty tough and I think my dad thought so, too.  Maybe it was because I was a boy but I thought there were times I could act out and get away with it when I was away from home.  My advice to young children everywhere is never act out when you are away from your house.  I am speaking to you from what I like to call some signature spank-ing experiences.  On occurrences when I got out of line, my mom would receive a phone call, or even worse, a visit from one of the neighbors giving her the full report on my bad behavior. I do wonder sometimes if mothers in particular didn’t have this underground system of communicating just between themselves.  My neighborhood in Winston-Salem was pretty close knit, so word got to Mrs. Mildred Ewers pretty quickly.  None of my spankings were put on layaway.  In other words, my mom didn’t tell me she would spank me tomorrow or even within the hour. They were immediate and to my young mind almost life threatening.

She would instruct me to go outside in the backyard if the weather was OK to get a switch. We had a cherry tree in our backyard, so switches were always available. If the weather was severe, she would simply use a belt.  I will tell you that both hurt!

My mom, in typical “old school” fashion, provided some commentary as she was spanking me. Afterward, she would send me to my room.  Unlike children’s rooms today, my room was spartan.  It had a bed, a desk and a few pictures on the wall.  Later, I was fortunate to get a radio.  I really didn’t like going to my room but I didn’t have a choice.

Today for many children their rooms are palatial estates. They are equipped with a computer, a television and a CD play-er.  Now is being reprimanded and being sent to your room really punishment?  Maybe the punishment should be to sit in the same room with an adult for an hour and read a book.

I always enjoyed watching my mom cook, and boy could she cook! Dishes like macaroni and cheese, chocolate cake, bread pudding, fried chicken, biscuits and Kool-Aid with lemon were always available.

My cooking skills were given to me by my mom.  I would always have a role in my mom’s kitchen.  It might be to snap beans, to peel potatoes or to participate in the chicken cleaning.  You see, for a time we had chickens in our backyard, so if you are “old school” you know what that involved; if you are new school just use your imagination.

I loved my mom, and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her in some way.  Mostly I wonder what she would do in situations and the decisions that she would make.

For many years after her passing, I didn’t go to church on Mother’s Day. I simply couldn’t take it emotionally.  One of the traditions that took place back in the day was the wearing of a rose on Mother’s Day.  Simply put, if your mom was living, you would wear a red rose and if your mom had passed away, you would wear a white rose.

I can tell you that it was devastating for me to lose my mom during my teenage years.  There were many events that I didn’t attend because I didn’t have a mother.  My Aunt Lois, my mom’s sister, became the mother-figure in my life.  As kind and loving as my dad was, I would have become a statistic without the love and guidance of my Aunt Lois.

Unlike with my dad, I was never able to become my mom’s friend.  If you are a teenager or younger, tell your mom daily in some way that you love her and behave yourself and “act like you got some sense.”

Happy Mother’s Day, mom.

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C Smith University where he was all-conference for four years.

He is the President Emeritus of The Teen Mentoring Committee of Ohio and a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at

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