Dancing with Jesus
Celebrating Mama

Before She was Mama

LoisSeptember_1951

Today my beautiful Mama turns 81.

 

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She's still full of life and vigor, a true beauty at 81.

 

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And, of course, I've only known her as Mama.

But she had a life before, a life I like to imagine when I see photos of her in younger days.

 

LoisBrittBirthplace1996

Before she was Mama, Lois Britt was born in this house in Peking, North Carolina on February 10, 1936, the fifth child (but only third surviving one) of Andy and Hazel Britt. A midwife delivered Mama, and since the family was poor and money scarce, Grandpa Andy paid the midwife with a cured ham from the larder. 

 

Britt family

Before she was Mama, she spent her days with her large family in the small coastal town of Maysville, North Carolina.  In a rare family photograph (who had money for such luxuries?) Andy (far left) and Hazel (back middle) with the six oldest of their eventual ten living children. Mama, with her distinctive black hair, is on the right in the middle row. (Also in the photo, Mama's aunt and uncle just behind her)

 

LoisShirleyBernice

Before she was Mama, her best buddies were her sisters. In this photo, Mama as a young girl of about 10 (far left) with two of her five sisters, Bernice and Shirley...

 

Lois7th_Grade_Maysville_School

Before she was Mama, Lois was a super-smart but super-shy 7th-grader at Maysville School in coastal North Carolina....

 

Lois_at_Stella_August_1951

Before she was Mama, growing up near the Atlantic Ocean meant frequent trips to the nearby beach. These are among my favorite photos of her...

 

LoisBathingBeauty

Before she was Mama,...a teenage bathing beauty, she was!

 

LoisSeptember_1951

Before she was Mama...porch-dreaming at home, 1951. Whenever I see this photo, I have to wonder what she must have dreamed about. Surely, in her wildest dreams she never thought she'd live out her days in the faraway land of Indiana....

 

Lois9th_Grade_Pollocksville_School

Before she was Mama, she was a demure high school freshman at Pollocksville High School, 1951...

 

Lois1951

Before she was Mama, she worked at a diner where she met a handsome young Marine from Indiana who was stationed at nearby Camp LeJeune. They went skating on their first date and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

LoisClass_of_1954_Jones_Central_HS__NC

Before she was Mama, she was one of the top members of Jones Central High School's Class of 1954. She'd been number one academically in her class all through high school, but was mortified to even think about giving a Commencement speech, so she let her grades slip just enough to get out of it. Young, reckless, and madly in love with Mama by this time, Dad (who was a Marine Corps champion boxer) drove all night after his boxing match in Chicago, in a less-than-reliable vehicle over perilous mountain roads, to barely get to her graduation on time. But he did.

 

LoisEarlLarry

Before she was Mama, she worked at a bank while Dad finished his Marine Corps duties.  In this 1954 photo, she's with a couple of her younger brothers...(I'm lovin' her style!)...

 

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Before she was Mama, Andy walked her down the aisle of Maysville Methodist Church on January 8, 1955...

 

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...where she pledged her heart and life to the man of her dreams...

 

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...my daddy, who whisked her off to the foreign country of Indiana, where they spent 60 years happily married until his passing in 2015.

 

Loisbefore_Terry_1957

In 1957, I was born and she was Mama.

 

MamaandMe1957

I was the first of four children who would forever call her Mama.

 

LoisSeptember_1951

But she did have a life for 21 years, the foundation for the woman she is today. The life only she remembers...

...before she was Mama.

 

 

Comments

Phyllis

What a wonderful story!
Have you inspired me to do the same for my mother??
Tell yours happy birthday for us.
You left out her school bus photo! (:>)

Phyllis M.

Donna Cronk

She's wonderful. I can't get over how very little she has changed through the years. You have not only a treasure in your mama but you have her great genes!

Terri Chapman

Beautiful Birthday tribute to your "Momma". I just love her...tell her I said "Happy 81st Birthday" !! I too love the porch and beach photos...awesome treasures to have forever :)

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