Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Mother-in-Law

My mother-in-law, Pet Campbell Stutts, would have been 100 years old last Sunday.  Judy sent flowers to the little church that her mother attended for all her adult life.  

Pet grew up in tough circumstances and started picking cotton when she was six years old.  The house she lived in didn't have electricity of indoor plumbing.  After she married Eldred Stutts, who worked in his father's little grocery store, earning $6 a week and his groceries, she milked a cow every morning to earn extra money.  When Eldred took over the store, she started to work there.  She got up every day at around 5:00 and cooked breakfast.  Then she'd clean the house before going to work.  At noon she'd cook lunch in the kitchen in back of the store.  After she cleaned up the dishes, she'd work until late afternoon before going home to fix supper.   

She believed in work and judged people by how much and how hard they worked.  She didn't consider my teaching job to be work, but she was willing to cut me a break because I was her son-in-law.  She thought people who took naps were lazy, and she didn't think much of anybody who didn't work all day.  She was still mowing her own lawn with a push-type power mower until shortly before she died at age 94.  Her house was the cleanest I've even been in.  She's the only person I know who regularly mopped her garage.

She never accepted any help from anybody if she could avoid it. In her later years she did allow me and Judy to buy some things for her, but not much.  We wanted to do a lot more, but she simply refused to let us.  She did accept her Social Security and Medicare, but she'd paid into both of those programs since their inception. Her income was from her Social Security checks and the small interest she earned on her savings.  In the last ten or so years of her life, she didn't pay income taxes.  A remarkable person by anybody's reckoning, and one of the 47%.


Rick Robinson said...

How much of that ethic rubbed off onto Judy, I wonder.

Growing up, my father's father lived with us for a decade or more and we children often heard about how tough things were during the depression, how little they had, etc. My father shared those thrifty beliefs, as did my mother.

Unknown said...

Judy would say she's lazy compared to her mother, but then everybody I've ever known is lazy compared to her mother.

Anonymous said...

This is a perfect example of why Romney is so clueless.

Jackie's father was like her in many of the ways you describe. He would never take anything from his children.


D.A. Trappert said...


Gerard said...

I now feel like a pussy and a loser.