This is my mom, Marie. She moved to the United States in 1976, to marry my Dad, Ed Jemison. They met in Germany in 1974 while my dad was stationed there with the Air Force. She is not German, she is Irish. Both of her parents died when she was very young. When she was in her early twenties, she went to secretarial school and began traveling and working all over Europe. She was working there, as a secretary, in Wiesbaden, I think, when she met my dad. I attempted to read her diaries from this period but they are all written in shorthand. She said no to my Dad the first three times he proposed. He was too young (four years younger), and worse, a Baptist. But somehow, he won her heart. And more incredibly, convinced her to move to Mississippi. For his part, he agreed to convert to Catholicism. My brother and I were born there, in the appropriately named Starkville, Mississippi, while my parents were living in the married student housing dorms of Mississippi State. Dad was getting his masters in Poultry Science. Yes, really. After that we moved to the sweet sweet land of mass produced chicken, Arkansas, and my three other siblings were born. We all went to Catholic school and played outside in the woods all day. If we were kept inside because of days of rain, we would be terrible. I remember that she would never yell when she got angry, but sometimes she would cry, which always made us immediately penitent. She was just so gentle, and patient, you never wanted to hurt her. Ever ever. And she wasn’t quick to not believe you when you said you were too sick to go to school. She always gave you the benefit of the doubt, even when you didn’t deserve it. I think I broke her heart when I moved in with my boyfriend my senior year of college, but she accepted it. There are so many thing things that I wish I had said to her then. And since. Questions I wish that I asked. A poem I wrote her in college that I never gave her because I was embarrassed. Times that I yelled at her that I wish I could take back. It goes on like that if I let it.
My mom isn’t dead. She’s still the sweetest, kindest lady you’d ever meet. She’s still happily married to my Dad and she still loves to ride on the back of his motorcycle. But she doesn’t remember who I am anymore. And what bothers me more, she doesn’t remember who she was either. So I just wanted to write down a few things about her, so that I would.