PHOTO STORY TIME
It is nearing this beautiful woman's 89th birthday. Please allow me to introduce you to Dorothy Lee Reed Settle. She married Donald Settle in July of 1943 while he was serving in the U.S. Army based in Missouri. She rode a train with a lot of soldiers from Steubenville, Ohio alone to meet her fiance and would do the same for the return trip as his wife. Their wedding was the two of them, the official performing the service who was a Chaplin. Don's friend would serve as best man and his wife would be the maid of honor. Nothing fancy, no big wedding gown or party just the four of them out celebrating a bit following the ceremony. It was just fine because she would be going home Mrs. Settle and he would be going overseas with a wife waiting for his return. She would be waiting at his parents home. That is where she would live until he was discharged.
They managed to raise 3 children together through some very difficult and trying times, somehow all 3 of them are reasonably well adjusted and fairly normal adults today. All 3 of them love their parents and were raised with a firm yet loving hand. She was no push over and still isn't.
The marriage lasted 35 years. Dad passed away after a 7 week stay in the hospital. For the first time in her life, she was alone. She lived nearly an hour from her daughters; nearly 5 hours from her son and nearly 7 hours from her in-laws. She had never written a check. She had no idea how much or how little money she had. She knew what bills came in the mail, but had never paid one. Somehow, she found incredible strength and determination and while grieving and struggling with everything new, she learned and she did things she had never even tried. She became very capable and independent.
She maintained a large 3 bedroom tri-level home on her limited income for the next 30+ years. She did very well. Her anchor for all of those years was a man I call our other brother Don. He was a driver for the company where both Mom and Dad worked. Dad was the manager and Mom was his assistant. After Dad died, Mom continued as the assistant for the next 3 managers the company brought in and Don continued to drive and befriend Mom. Eventually Mom became the manager and he worked for her, too. She retired from that job at 62 and he then became her social network. He helped with things around the house or took her places she needed to go that were beyond her driving comfort area. I did a good deal of this myself, but from almost an hour away, sometimes it was easier for him. He lived just a few miles from her. He was and remains a part of our family and there is no way to ever thank him for all he has been to her.
Two years ago she moved here. Just two miles from me. She has a beautiful apartment that she can clean on her own and she is very proud and happy here. I am more than happy to have her here.
Exactly one week after moving here she was driving home from having her hair done in my salon which was directly across the street from her apartment, when another car hit her broadside. She didn't see it coming at all. I really thought I had seen my mom die. It looked horrid from my window. I was watching to make sure she went in the right driveway. I ran out and met her moments after she had been helped out of her car by a witness. Bless her heart. She was fine. A bruise on her hand from something, but otherwise just totally shook to her quick. The other driver was fine. The car was totaled. Thank you God...she was okay. Amazing. The gal who helped her from the car worked at the complex where she lives and offered to take home, which was just the driveway length from where the accident happened and Mom assured me she was fine and I went back to work. I took care of the details of the car and the insurance and whatever and then went back to her place to make sure she was okay. She just needed to sit, she said. Within the hour, she had decided she would not be driving anymore. She told me she knew that was her warning to stop. So I became her wheels. She still has no desire to drive.
I know that she loves it here. I see the stress of home ownership gone and all she sees now is someone else has to worry if her water isn't hot or her stove doesn't work. She takes great pride in her home and it is beautiful. We bought all new furniture when she moved.
This week-end is her birthday week-end and I startled her today when I mentioned that she would be 89 Sunday. She was absolutely certain she was going to be 88. She was a little mad at me for being right, but by the time I took her home, she was joking about it.
I love this woman. I mean I really am so blessed to have such a woman in my life. She sacrificed for all of us, but I am the baby and I think maybe she sacrificed more for me. Maybe it was important that I have things that I thought I needed. I don't know why, but I think it's true. I like being the baby. I like being her baby.
So wishing her the happiest birthday ever and continued good health. I love you, Momma.
Momma...summer of 2011
The children...Jo, Mike & Pat