Several years before my mother died, I gave her a book. It was one of those “All About Mom” personal history books, which asked a bunch of questions about life, and had blanks on which to fill in the answers.
Mom died in 2001. I found the book among her belongings… still full of empty blanks.
So I’m at a loss for information about much of her life.
I do know a little bit about her school years, mostly from the few stories she told and from the photos and news clippings I found after her death.
From what I can determine, Mom attended grade school at Sacred Heart School in Tacoma, Washington.
On the back of her second and fourth grade photos, she meticulously wrote the names of all of her classmates.
3rd Grade Class, Sacred Heart School (Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington). Photo taken c. 1950. Original in possession of Elizabeth O’Neal.
On the back of her third grade photo, she wrote, “This is the third grade when I had Father Kelly and Sister Mary Paula for my teachers, and Father Kelly for my priest.” Mom always did have beautiful penmanship.
After the death of her father Marvin Dagle, Mom, her mother Mary, and her sister Sharon moved to San Bernardino, California, where she attended St. Bernadine’s High School. St. Bernadine’s was an all-girl, Catholic school.
After high school, Mom was accepted as a flight attendant (or “stewardess,” as they said back then) with an airline – I believe it was American Airlines, but I’m not certain. She did not finish her training, as she decided to marry my father instead of becoming a flight attendant.
Mom never attended college, but always had a great love of reading. She voraciously read dozens of books each year, and instilled this love of reading in me with numerous trips to the library when I was young.
She was also the best “speller” of anyone I knew. Unfortunately, whenever I asked her how to spell a word, her favorite answer was, “Look it up.”
I’m sure I’ll be passing this wise bit of “momsense” on to my daughter someday.