Mother’s influence lifelong
It doesn’t take a national observance of Mothers Day to remind me of the good fortune I had to be mothered by Pearl Wentz, it just enhances the memory.
From the time I was born until I left home for good at the age of 22, my mother had a major influence on every important decision that affected my life.
Louisa Pearl Moore was born on Sept. 6, 1893, on a Cove farm outside Roaring Spring. Mom was the last of four daughters born to Mary and Matthew Moore. She was addressed by her middle name, Pearl.
The rural schooling in the early 1900s was four, later six grades, just long enough to learn to read, write and count. She became adept at balancing family accounts and, with a pocket dictionary close at hand, writing interesting and informative letters.
She had farm chores and later, as a teenager, was employed at the Bare paper mill in Roaring Spring, where she met and married William Wentz. They had three children, Melvin, Alma and me.
My brother, Mel, told me that our mother, as a young woman, had considerable athletic ability. “She could throw roundhouse curves with a baseball that were amazing.” I arrived late, and unexpected, in her life when she was 41.
In 1927, my family moved from Roaring Spring to Hollidaysburg so my father was nearer his railroad job in Altoona. I was born in 1934. I was raised as an only child, because my brother began his own family life when I was very young and my sister was killed by a drunken driver in an automobile crash. Mom was devastated by the tragedy, became depressed and took years to recover.
I was an adolescent when my family relocated back to the Cove in 1947. My father was away during weekdays at his job in Altoona. But Mom and I were stuck in our rural setting, and we were bored. She did her best to alleviate the situation, even joining me in target practice with a .22 caliber rifle. It was after I began classes at Morrison Cove High School that life accelerated and personal decisions that would shape the rest of my life were taken.
Those decisions involved academics, girl friends, boy friends, athletics, manners, finances and career choices.
Mom discouraged me from dating girls who did not meet her expectations on manners, ambition and decorum. But, Mom fell in love with one of the girls I brought home for formal introductions. Paula (not her real name) was perfect in all respects: intelligent, well spoken, stylish and mature beyond her years.
When Paula dumped me after more than a year of dating due to my stupidity, Mom was heartbroken and suggested strategies to win her back. I knew the cause was hopeless, and she finally accepted the inevitable, but with real regret.
On June 14, 1965, while tending a rose bush beside her house, Mom collapsed and died of a massive stroke. She was almost 72.
It is said that luck plays a big part in each person’s life. I was lucky to have a mother who stepped in and lovingly persuaded me when she thought I would benefit from her advice.