Mothers share memories

CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson Luella Kelly works on a puzzle in her room Saturday night. Today she said she planned to spend at church and with her family.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

On Mother’s Day they think of other mothers they have known, not as a day to honor themselves.

They don’t see the sacrifices or the hard work as anything other than what they had to do to give their children good lives. And they did it because they just wanted to be mothers.

On the farm holidays are still workdays, Evelyn Harmon said, so Mother’s Day doesn’t stand out as being any different in those days.

“When that wheat needs cutting, you’ve got to get it in. Out there we just worked,” she recalled.

From 1935 when she was married, Harmon worked a farm with her husband seven miles outside of House.

Within a year, her first son was born. Then a second came along.

“It’s the most work that there is,” the 92-year-old said.

Every day she cooked three meals, not just for her family but for dozens of farm hands, and in-between she worked alongside them.

She drove tractors, worked cattle, did chores and mothered. And she admits, it wasn’t easy, but it was what had to be done.

“The boys understood because the boys worked hard too,” she said.

“They know and understood that we had to make a living. We talk about it all the time. They don’t either one of them resent having to work that hard.”

Yet somehow, she wishes she could have done more.

Harmon said she remembers apologizing to her sons, now retired from the Clovis and Portales school systems, when they went off to college because there wasn’t more money for them to help them along their way.

And when she thinks of being a mother, she is still, “wishing that I could do more for them and they didn’t have to do so much for me.”

“It’s just great to be a mother,” she said.

Widowed 53-years-ago, Silva Compton too overlooks the sacrifices she made raising her children as a single, working mother.

When she thinks of Mother’s Day, she doesn’t think of herself, but instead misses the days she would pin a red flower to her blouse to symbolize her mother was living.

“Being with my mother on Mother’s Day was always exciting to me,” she said.

Compton spent 26 years teaching music in Clovis schools but she is hesitant to credit herself for the efforts she gave in bringing up her son and daughter.

“(I did it) with the Lord,” she said. “I couldn’t have gotten through it without the Lord.”

“I’ve just always wanted to be (a mother), just to see those kids little happy faces. That was just everything about being a mother that I wanted.”

Luella Kelly also raised her three children while teaching in Clovis Schools for nearly 40 years.

Being a working mother had its challenges, she said, laughing when she recalls, “They took advantage of it a time or two, so I think they knew what was going on.”

But she believes it was worth every minute of it.

“They’re good kids. Either I raised them or they raised me,” she said.

“I learned from them.”

Mother’s Day, all three ladies, residents of the Senior Citizens Residence Center, look forward to spending the morning in church and visiting with family and friends, but to them, it’s not a day, it’s an identity.