I was fourteen years old with one sibling younger than me; the other five sisters were older. Mom had been divorced for several years, and the only male figures that we encountered were family members. Some years later, my Mom met Verna, a well dressed, tall, slender, very handsome man with much respect. I remember when Mom first brought him home to meet us. “These here are my girls,” she said and recited our names. My first thought was, “I wonder if he even likes children; he’s probably going to be mean to us.” He and Mom dated for a few years and later married. I was so happy for my mother, for she seemed happy as well. As time went on, we began to really like my Step-dad and later learned to love him. He was a kind-hearted, hard-working man who believed in doing what was right. He was a great provider and saw that each of us had the things that we needed to live comfortably.
I really took to liking Verna and wanted to show him how much I appreciated the things that he did for Mom and us girls. So I took it upon myself and asked him if I could do some chores for him. I noticed that he wore certain uniforms to work each day, so I thought that if I did his laundry once a week, this would help out. We didn’t have a washer & dryer in the home, but about six blocks up the street was a laundromat which was in walking distance. So I gathered the house laundry and walked to the laundromat once a week faithfully. Mom was so proud of me for taking on this role/house chore, for it helped her as well. Later I took on the task of hand-washing his car. I would wash the car with soap and water, then spray it clean with a water hose then wipe it dry. Some of my siblings thought that I was trying to be their favorite, but I was not. I was just eager to help and wanted to lighten the load from both my parents.
After seeing my faithful and good work continuously, my Step-dad starting giving me an allowance each week. I was delighted; I saved every penny that I earned. I had something in mind that I wanted, and I knew that once I earned enough money, I would purchase it. My Mom wore a gold crown on one of her teeth, exactly on the left side. I wanted a gold tooth, just like my mother. She was so beautiful to me, and I wanted to look just like her. Earning and saving my allowance made it possible for me to get my crown as well as purchase a class ring. After graduating from high school, I wanted to move north with my older sisters. By this time, all of the older siblings had already left to live in Peoria with my oldest Sister Cora. It was like she was fishing and reeling us all up there, one sibling at a time. At seventeen, I too moved north with the others. A few years later, I got a call from Mom saying that my Stepdad had become ill, and she wanted us girls to come home; things were not looking too well for him. We did, and days later, our Stepdad, Verna, passed away. This hurt terribly. I missed him so much. He had treated my siblings and me like we were his very own children. We stayed with Mom for a few days after the funeral to make sure that she would be alright. She was a strong woman. Even though the hurt of losing her husband was visible, she always managed a smile, for she knew she had had one of the few good men.