About Me

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Jim Killebrew has 40 years of clinical psychological work for people with intellectual disabilities, and experience teaching, administration, consulting, writing with multiple publications. Dr. Killebrew has attended four Universities and received advanced degrees. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., Educational Psychology; University of Illinois at Springfield, Counseling Education; M.A., Human Development Counseling; Northeastern Oklahoma State University, B.A., Psychology and Sociology. Dr. Killebrew attended Lincoln Christian Seminary (Now Lincoln Christian University). Writing contributions have been accepted and published in several journals: Hospital & Community Psychiatry, The Lookout, and Christian Standard (multiple articles). He may be reached at Killebrewjb@aol.com.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Mother's Day Mom

Mom was born in 1912 in a little settlement in Oklahoma called Creekola.  Wally Waits, from Muskogee, Oklahoma is a historical and genealogical researcher who said, " History repeats itself: almost one hundred years ago, Muskogee County was the location of frenzied drilling.  The Boynton [oil]  Field was the smallest field in the county. Oil fields commonly took their names from the nearest town. As time went by, the oil field's name morphed into the Boynton-Haskell Field and then into the Boynton-Creekola Field. As more was learned about the oil field's dimensions, geologists added Haskell and Creekola to Boynton's name to better describe the field."  Of its demise, Waits said, "All oil fields reach a point where wells are no longer producing sufficient oil to justify running the pumps. Boynton Field was a smaller field and that point came early. Today, Boynton Field is little more than a footnote in history."

Although during the past one hundred years the little oil field settlement into which she was born has long since passed; but for my Mom, she flourished for just a few days under ninety years.  During that time our world was blessed with the presence of a lady of strength who was full of love for her family and friends.  She had come from a large family where she learned the give and take of family life.  Her early decades were filled with being in a family who was essentially "company owned" by the Oil Company that drilled the fields around Muskogee.

Barely getting her breath from the teenage years of the "roaring twenties", she plunged head-long into what was called the "Great Depression" which resulted with the Market crash in 1929.  Struggling through those years by living on a shoestring, she had married and already had my two older sisters and older brother by the time the Japanese Imperial Navy and Air Force bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941. 

With the United States' entry into the World War that was already in progress in Europe, she was again struggling with a family as she waved goodbye to my Dad as he was shipped off to the Army.  Those were days of hardship for those left behind, especially the Moms who had children to care for.  Making every penny count, and the ration cards for most essentials, she cared for the family while Dad was eventually shipped to Europe to help fight the war.  Before he left, however, the twinkle in his eye became a reality for me.

The bomb blasted its way through the bunker. Sandbags twisted their way through the air, landing askew on the bunker's floor. Sand oozed from the bags mixing with the already muddy muck on the floor. Men scrambled to plug the hole, trying to shield themselves against the onslaught of enemy fire. The sounds of war made their way to the ears of those men in the bunker. They were there defending the American way of life. On that, and many other calamitous days, perhaps for one of those men, posterity was unfolding in another scene ten thousand miles away.

The room was sterile and the lights were bright. As my Mom lay panting in the throes of yet another contraction, the doctor sat in the ready position in front of the stirrups urging her to push harder. With as much adrenalin flowing through her veins as was perhaps flowing through my Dad's in the bunker, her final push resulted in my being ushered into that sterile, brightly lit, and starkly cold hospital delivery room. At that moment, though they were miles apart, I had become the living essence of my parent’s union, and somehow perhaps, even in their separation by miles, they were together.

From the point Dad left for his army duties Mom was the head of the household.  After his training and before he shipped out for Germany, Dad started the events that led to my Mother's October 1944 birthday presenting her with a gift of yet another son.  It was later that I learned I had been labeled as a "war baby".  Now with four children and a husband embroiled in the war effort ten thousand miles away, Mom had to use her strength and savvy to provide for herself and her family.

People in those days endured trials and grief that as a child growing up after the war and during the next two or three decades was seldom endured.  Making dollars stretch, finding the best bargains in food and clothes and teaching respect for each other fell to Mom.  She always made the best of it always giving her family the very best she could.

Looking back I can see where Mom was the doctor, teacher, lawyer, preacher, mender, disciplinarian, arbitrator of arguments, provider, soother of hurts, but always Mom.  She cooked all the meals, washed all the clothes, shopped for all the clothes, took us to church and Sunday School, kept us all on course and made it fun to be in "our family".

Mom was always there for us.  After the War, and the return of my Dad, being what today we call a "homemaker" since she did not work outside the home, she was there when we needed her the most.  I remember one specific time I really needed her, and as always, she came through with flying colors.

One day I remember I played hide-and-seek with my little Sister. It was mid-morning and my Mother was inside the house. My Sister was not too much older than a toddler. When it was my turn to hide I knew that I could find the best place where my Sister could not find me. I did.

The old icebox was in the garage, sitting toward the back, with some lumber stacked around it. This was not a modern refrigerator, mind you, it was an old ice box constructed to be air-tight when the door was closed so as to keep the compartment inside colder by the block of ice placed in the chamber above it.  Climbing over to the front door, I opened it, climbed inside and shut the door to the sound of a definite "click." Almost from the moment I heard that sound I realized it was a mistake. I was taken with the realization that it was very quiet inside; it was also so dark that I could not see my hand in front of my face. With all my might I began kicking and pushing on the door trying with all my strength to open it.

My Sister had long since abandoned her search for me, and had already turned her interest somewhere else. My Mother, of course knew nothing of the game we were playing. Time passed and I continued to try to break free. All my efforts failed; with each try my strength ebbed, until I felt I was going to collapse. Somewhere in the distance I could hear my Mother calling my name.

With all the strength I could call upon, I once again began screaming for help. One last cry for help and then I was silent. It seemed only a moment when the door to the icebox opened fully. The light poured in, even from that dingy garage. My Mother grabbed me up from my would-be tomb and ran into the house to nurse me back to health. It was only by the grace of God and the fact that she had completed lunch that she called for me, and found me.  On that very day, my Mom literally saved my life!

Mom was special because she spent her life "raising" her kids, caring for them, counseling them, advising them and most of all, loving them.  The Bible says that the length of a human life is but a "vapor" that is here today and gone tomorrow.  As one generation comes and goes another takes its place.  Mom is gone now, but she left her mark on each of her children and their children as well. 
We miss you Mom and love you very much!
Jim Killebrew     


Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful tribute to your mother Jim.
That generation is gone and there will never be a repeat.
My mother was a single parent, i have no brother's or sister's. Life was tough growin up with no "father" in the picture and frowned upon by many.
My grandmother lived with us, got me off to school and mother was an R.N. a the V.A. hospital after serving as a nurse in the U.S.Army.
School was hard with no father,comments made, but she was always there for me and loved me like nobody else but Jesus...my Heavenly Father. She taught me all about Him:)
She went to heaven at the age of 56 yrs. from cancer, and I miss my best friend so much everyday.
We were blessed Jim...very blessed and I thank God for giving me to her.
Thank you for a beautiful story. A Happy heavenly Mother's day to both.
Prayers, hugs and blessing's your way. Bev.

Jim Killebrew said...

Thanks for you kind comments. You are right, there will not be a generation like the one that was called the "greatest generation." They had a sense of responsibility, a set of values that looked out for the other person and a rugged individualism that revered work and accomplishment. They didn't sit around waiting for someone else to pick up the check; they really did pay more than their share. Jim