The above photo was taken a few years after DH and I were married. The woman on the left is Mildred, mother of my DH. Had she lived, she would have been 87 today.
Mildred was quite a woman with quite a background. Unlike most women of her time in the decades of the 40's, 50's and 60's, she was not your typical housewife. No, she was a career woman with a strong and independent spirit who earned a significantly greater salary than most men in those days, But when DH first introduced me to her, she was in the hospital and suffering from recent knee surgeries. She was recently retired and lived alone, having been divorced for many years.
She began her career in Dallas as a U.S. Census taker and conducted the 1950's census and then was director of the 1960 census in Dallas. Aside from that, she also did special surveys for the federal government and ran her own private survey service. She was the first female vice-president of the largest advertising and marketing firm in Dallas and was co-founder of a subsidiary of that company in later years and that is the company from which she retired.
An early picture of Millie at work
With some of her associates
All dressed up!
Senior Vice-President of the
company she co-founded
I didn't know her during those years, but in the years I did know her, her personality definitely came through and I could see clearly how she came to be so successful and also so loved by her family. She was also a woman of strong Christian faith.
She dearly loved her sons and her grandchildren and all her family and was always committed to helping anyone who needed her. She left home at the age of 13 to live with a recently widowed aunt and, from there, moved to Dallas in 1938 and married a captain with the Dallas Fire Department.
Wish this pic was clearer.
At a family reunion circa. 1989
One of her nieces related to me that Millie and her sister Adelle "took me on my first vacation to San Marcus! I remember her being different than other family members...She dressed up and had on those high heels! She was so intelligent and brave to step out of the box in pursuing her profession! She and my mom were my role models and true trail blazers❣"
In her later years, her health became such that she had to live in a nearby nursing home. My DH visited her every single day when he was off-duty, and on those days he couldn't, I visited her. All the staff took care of her, and loved her. She suffered from dementia and severe rheumatoid arthritis, so in the end, she was in a lot of pain and didn't really know most of the time what was going on.
My DH relates that one day he read that the company she had helped to co-found had been sold for a million dollars. He brought the newspaper article to her and told her enthusiastically about the sale. "Isn't that something, Mom? Your company was sold for a million dollars! What do you think about that?" to which she replied, "Could I have some more of that pudding?"
It somehow seems sad for it all to come down to our basic needs in the end. The company didn't matter anymore to her. It meant nothing. What I do know though is that the people she left behind didn't forget. They didn't forget the love she shared, the strong spirit of independence, loyalty, and tenacity in everything she did. Maybe it does have to do with pudding, after all.
Grandma Millie putting some love on
Jason and Sara
Linking up today with Debbie at Breathing in Grace and Friday Foto Friends.