Mary was born into a large Irish family in Manchester, New Hampshire, the youngest girl, and next to the youngest child of thirteen. She had polio as a youngster, but felt lucky rather than upset. She said that though she would always walk with a limp, her life had been spared when other children she knew had died.
Things my mother never did: She was never famous, but she never spoke enviously of people who were. She never told her children (or anyone) that she was “too busy,” for whatever they needed. She was never a good cook, honestly burning a lot of meals, but we ate them because she prepared it. Macaroni salad was her best and favorite meal. She never left the United States, being quite content to travel mostly in her home state of New Hampshire, and on rare occasions to Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts, and once after great prodding, to Florida. She was not soft spoken–at least not until she became very old. She scolded, and raised her voice when she
was angry. Her Irish temper was evident when she was not listened to. But she laughed more than she scolded, and so that is what most remembered.
Things my mother did: Her said her favorite role was being a mother, and she was a generous, protective, and cheerful one. She was a bit naive about life and situations–an endearing trait. She loved to read, and she shared this joy. My mother enjoyed music, from polkas to classical, and the sounds of her favorite tunes filled her home daily. My mother was forgiving–despite the trials of her life, she always forgave those who hurt or disappointed her. She loved photography, and passed along thousands of photographs to her children, grandchildren siblings, nieces, nephews and cousins before she died. She made everyone feel uniquely wanted and appreciated. She loved the seashore more than any other place on earth, and she photographed it often.
There was nothing perfect about my mother. But her imperfections made her uniquely wonderful. Her virtues outweighed her vices–the scales were heavy on the “good deeds” side. After her children were grown and mostly moved out of her house, she worked for many years as a volunteer helping others in need.
Thank you Mom for all those things you did and didn’t do. Thank you for all the times you blessed my life with a smile, encouragement, and welcoming arms. I still miss you every day.
New Hampshire’s Mothers Day: Focus on Mary Manning Webster (1919-2007)
A New Hampshire Mom: On Losing A Child