A Life Well Lived
Pearl Towne Reece
Mom passed away on 8-15-92, just six weeks before her 96th birthday. My younger brother said, “No one lives forever, but she almost did.”
Born on 10-9-1896, Mom’s family moved from Michigan in the early 1900s to Darrington, Washington, the small western Washington logging town where she spent most of her life. She attended a one-room, all-eight-grade school, never knowing that one day she would be teaching in one that later became our home for 34 years!
Life with three fun-loving sisters and three brothers after Mom’s father died was not easy. Yet faith in God, love for one another, and the belief that things would surely get better made wearing shoes with holes in them bearable. Highlights of Mom’s life
- trailed by a cougar on Thanksgiving Day
- going to the city when she was about 14 to get last two years of high school education
- attending Bellingham, WA “Normal School,” for two years and receiving a Life Certificate to teach
- sending most of money from first teaching job home to help out younger brothers and sister
- being offered position near Darrington and going home
- meeting Dad at his surprise farewell party before being he was scheduled to leave for military service two later and vowing, “He’s mine!” He felt the same.
- rejoicing when the Army stopped taking inductees because the Spanish Influenza struck Camp Lewis (became Fort Lewis) and WW1 ended a few weeks later
- surviving the epidemic
- married in 1923
- living in a home without electricity or running water, washing clothes on a scrub board
- losing first child on Christmas Day, having two more boy, and me\
- being chased by an enraged bull and dragging me to safety
- living through the Great Depression, WW1, WW2, the Korean conflict, and Vietnam War
- influencing kids, and later, many of their parents, for almost three decades of teaching in Darrington
- picking up life and going on after Dad passed away in 1968
- moving with me to Vancouver, WA in 1970
- moving with me to Auburn, WA in 1978 after i was called to full time writing
- becoming “Granny Pearl” to young and old at church (kids and teens loved her stories of the “olden days”).
- serving as my cheerleader, proofreader, and editor
- still looking up Scriptures for my next book the day before surgery
One of the comments at Mom’s memorial service was, “Pearl talked about the past but she didn’t live in it.” Eager anticipation for what lay ahead characterized Mom. Coming home from a 3700+ mile driving trip throughout the western states in the summer of 1991, she turned quiet. I asked what she was thinking.
“I’m just wondering where we will go next year.” She was almost 95.
Mom never considered herself old. She scorned dull colors and wore tasteful scarlet, sapphire blue, and emerald clothing. When asked why, she replied, “Th world can be drab enough without my adding to it.”
Mom in her 90s with friend from decades earlier.
On Memorial Day weekend, 1978, when we moved into the home where I still live, Mom dropped into a chair and announced, “I‘m not moving again until I go to heaven.” She kept her promise.
Me at 86
When I look in the mirror, I see much of Mom. If I can ever be half the caring, godly woman she was, I will rejoice and be glad.
Happy Mother’s Day