From the Relief Society Magazine, 1933 –
And They Called it Mother’s Day
by Irene McCullough
“Gee, Mom, it’s Mother’s Day, tomorrow,” spoke up chubby faced eight-year-old Tommy. “Will you give me fifty cents to buy you a present?”
“But dear, if I gave you fifty cents to buy me a present, I would be buying myself one, would I not?”
“Well, yes, but how can I earn it?”
“Clean up the garage and then I will give it to you.”
“But couldn’t you let me have it right now? Ken and Phil are going down to the drugstore now to buy their mother something and I want to go with them. I will do my work when I get back.”
“Run along then, but don’t forget, you must hurry back and earn it.”
“May I have the afternoon off tomorrow, mum?” said Julia, the maid. “I want to go see my dear old Mother and take her some flowers. She’s getting pretty old you know.”
“I did want to go to Sunday School,” answered Mrs. Spencer. “They are going to have a fine musical program. I seldom get a chance to go, but seeing it is Mother’s Day, I thought I would try. We won’t bother with a big dinner so maybe I can go in the morning and you can get off in the afternoon.”
“Thanks ever so much, mum.”
“Mother,” called Alice from upstairs. “I forgot to tell you that father called up and said to tell you that he had invited Grandpa and Grandma up for dinner tomorrow and told them to bring Uncle Ben and Aunt Sue with them. He says it’s Mother’s Day and he wants his Mother to be here, and Ma, I forgot to save up so I could buy you a present. Will it be all right if I charge one for you?”
“No, dear, just forget it.”
Mary stopped her work a moment to brush away a tear and with it went all hopes of going to Sunday School. She knew it would be impossible to get five children and a husband off to Sunday School, prepare a big dinner, let the maid off for the afternoon and take care of a baby in between time and go to school. Dad must be on time as they expected a large crowd and he had been asked to help out.
Morning came. The usual Sunday morning hustle and bustle.
“Is my best suit pressed, Mary?” called Dad as he powdered his clean shaven face.
“Yes, I pressed it last night. It’s hanging in your closet.”
“Thanks, dear,” exclaimed the over-indulgent husband as he brought forth the immaculate suit.
“Thank heaven they’re all off and I can get to this dinner,” sighed Mary. “There will be at least twelve here and Dad always expects something extra nice for his folks.”
It was one grand rush for Mary all day.
Evening found Grandpa, Grandma, Aunt Sue and Uncle Ben, Dad and the children seated about the fireplace, content with the day and themselves. Mary alone was unhappy. As she wearily climbed the stairs to put the baby to bed, she began to realize how hungry she was. She had been so busy feeding the others she had not taken time to eat.
“There goes that darned old radio again,” she thought.
“To our mothers,” roared out a masculine voice over the air, “we owe everything. We honor them!”
Hastily putting the baby down she plugged her fingers into her ears, at the same time giving the bedroom door a kick shut with her foot. She glanced into the glass.
“Look at me,” she thought. “Haven’t even had time to powder my nose.” A tear tried to steal down her cheek but she rudely brushed it away. Mary had just finished powdering when the front doorbell rang.
“Now who can that be?” she whispered. Opening her door a trifle, she listened.
“Come in, come in,” called Fred, her husband. “Mary will be tickled to death to see you. She will be down in a minute – just putting the baby to bed. Mother and Dad are here and we can all enjoy the evening together. My, what a swell spring coat you have, Sis.”
“Oh, yes. Sid gave me this for Mother’s Day,” answered Fred’s sister. “Of course I am not a mother yet, but I may be someday. We have only been married a little over three years.”
“Put me back a few bucks for that coat, Fred,” said the beaming Sid. “You see, I remember Stella on Christmas, New Year’s, Washington’s Birthday, Lincoln’s Birthday, Fourth of July, in fact, every holiday in the year. Wouldn’t dare go home if I didn’t.”
Stella laughed. “Well, you know you like to.”
Mary closed her door softly. “It’s the way you train them,” she whispered angrily. In a minute they would be calling her to come down. She would be expected to be pleasant and later on in the evening serve sandwiches or cake.
Plunging into her hat and coat she quietly slipped down the back stairs and out into the warm spring air. Free just for an hour or two. She couldn’t hear them call “Mother” or “Mary.” She started to run for fear they might catch her before she could hail a taxi or bus.
“Let me out at the Haber Café,” she called to the driver.
“I like to eat there. They say it’s Mother’s Day, so here’s where I am going to enjoy a part of it.”
It was late when Mary pushed open her front door. “All’s quiet,” she whispered as she slipped off her wraps. She had enjoyed the evening.
“Mary, will you please come here?” called a tired voice from the dimly lighted living room.
Mary slid up close beside her husband. He put his arm around her and said, “Dear, if you won’t ever leave me alone again with a house full of company and four children to put to bed, I’ll remember you Christmas, New Year’s, George Washington’s Birthday, Lincoln’s Birthday, Fourth of July, and twice on Mother’s Day.”