She was born Betty Jeanne Walker, later on she became Betty Jeanne Walker Spaulding; yes, she is my mom. I’m the cute little guy in the picture, the others are my ugly brothers. I know, not everyone wants to be called ugly but I call it like I see it. I mean after all, do you really think that they wouldn’t call me ugly.
This picture was taken in 1954, we were bouncing back and forth between the desert west of Blackfoot Idaho in the summertime and Moreland Idaho for the winter. Berry, the youngest but not the ugliest brother is about a year old and he was born 1953. Our sister Bobby was born in 1957, she’s not ugly.
My mom was one of those incredible women not only of her era but that have been with mankind since forever. I doubt she was perfect but dang close and when I think of all the things that she taught me I am humbled to tears. Part of the reason for this post today is because it’s her birthday, she would be 97 if she was still here. She left this world 25 years ago this fall after battling cancer.
Of all the things that she taught me, to be honest, work hard and never quit, rate the highest. Mom wasn’t just a sayer of the word but a doer. I remember her working in the field with us older boys until the heat was unbearable; we would take a break and be in the field again a few hours before sundown and back at it early the next morning. She not only worked hard but played hard. There were hardly enough hours in the day to get all of our work done on a farm in south central Idaho in the 50’s and 60’s but mom always had a way to liven things up.
I’m pretty sure that she was the ‘water fight queen’ of Idaho; she got that from the Walker side. If it was an extended family function and one of her brothers was there all I can say is ‘look out’, you could get drenched with a pan or bucket of water at any moment; usually after eating but not always. I know of more than one instance that a garden hose was put to work to conquer the battling hordes; fond memories.
One of my favorite memories was when mom took me and an older brother riding in the mountains south of Albion Idaho. We only had one horse so we borrowed 2 from different neighbors and spent 3 days and 2 nights in the mountains riding. For a horse crazy farm kid like me it was Heaven on Earth.
When I graduated from MCRD San Diego the fall of 1969 she was there. I’m pretty sure that she would have adopted the entire platoon but she didn’t have enough time. It was just a few hours that I was able to spend with her but it is seared into my memory. I’m pretty sure that more than one drill instructor or officer wanted to steal her from the Marine private that she was with but it wasn’t happening. She was classy and beautiful, not the words that a son would normally call his mom but like I said, ‘I call it like I see it’.
When she lost her battle to cancer there were family members and friends that either drove or called from thousands of miles away to say goodbye before she closed her eyes for the last time; it was a fitting tribute to such a wonderful woman.
When I think of all of the good things mom did I believe she really was near perfect. She left quite the legacy behind and although I didn’t take time to count all of the grand children, great grand children and great great grand children, if you are part of that group you should be proud to call yourself a descendant of
Betty Jeanne Walker Spaulding