Saturday, October 22, 2011

Whither Thou Goest

Mama was born in Missouri. Grandpa had bought land in Branson, Missouri back in the 1940's and promptly sold it saying, "I have no use for this pile of rocks." (Those of you who have been to Branson realize the irony in this statement). He loaded up his family and moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mama was raised in the city with her four brothers, whom she loved dearly until the day she died. They doted on her and she grew up headstrong, stubborn, and rebellious. She roller skated, went dancing, rode motorcycles (before it was cool), and was definitely a wild child. When Daddy met her, Mama was a petite sixteen year old with pretty white teeth, full lips, and beautiful, long, auburn hair. She looked like Rita Hayworth. Rita Hayworth was at the height of her popularity when I was born so Mama named me after her. There aren't many girls (if any) named Rita nowadays.

I am going to sidetrack a little here to relate a story about Rita Hayworth. I made a home visit a few years back to a gentlemanly, retired Catholic priest who, when noting my name on my nametag, informed me there was a Saint Rita. I told him I did not know that but that my Mother had named me after Rita Hayworth. His response was, "I don't think she was a saint." I don't think she was a saint either but she was a beauty.The story of Saint Rita

And my Mama was a beauty whom my Daddy fell in love with shortly after going to work at my uncle's service station in Oklahoma City. They did not date long when, against Grandma's wishes, they traveled back to Clarksville to be married by Daddy's Pentecostal preacher father. Mama missed her Oklahoma City family and Daddy made many long trips up Highway 64 so she could see her Mother. But Daddy's family became her family and Grandma Middleton mothered her as her own. Mama was merely two years older than my little Rachel when she left all things loved and familiar to make her home with her new family.

Starting with verse 16

I am saddened to think of Mama so far from home in a land so foreign to her. Daddy and his family loved her but how lonesome she must have been for her familiar life. She said many times how she had grown to love her new family and had been with her mother-in-law years longer than with her own mother.

I remember Mama explaining the story of Ruth and Naomi and how Ruth had begged, "Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people." And I am comforted.


  1. What a big change for a young girl - it might have been hard, but for a loving and kind mother-in-law.

  2. I can relate totally. I was 17, newly married when my husband moved me from Alabama to California where he was stationed in the Navy.

    Thanks for much for your comment on my blog. I am glad you did so that I could find yours. It's delightful and interesting.