By Lillian Williams
Today, June 21, happens to be National Selfie Day.
OK, so I know the photo above is definitely NOT a selfie.
But My Mom, a retired school teacher, is spending the summer with me in Chicago. I’m trying to capture, and share, as many moments with her as I can.
Here’s the deal: My mother is my INFLUENCER-IN-CHIEF, the person who set the pace for me; the person who encouraged me to earn my doctoral degree; the person who continues to inspire me.
She’s in her mid-90s. These days with her are precious.
The photo above was taken during a recent excursion to the Barnes & Noble bookstore in downtown Chicago, where we had Saturday morning coffee. We looked at a few magazines. We chatted about her career as a public school teacher, and my tenure as a college professor, among other subjects. It was a memorable start to the day.
She’s retired from teaching in the public school system of East St. Louis, Illinois. She taught first grade for many years, and later science classes. She won a coveted Golden Apple award.
In our hometown of East St. Louis, she volunteered to raise money for the police and fire departments. She served as president of both the East St. Louis Community Camp Board and the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House. She was a founding member of the East St. Louis Women’s Club. She’s still a member of the neighborhood church, Greater New Hope Baptist.
She and my dad, Atty. James E. Williams Sr., now deceased, sacrificed so much for their five children to get a good education. They did without fancy cars, clothes and vacations.
This summer we will have lots of long talks–and laughs. We will reminisce about the days of old, as they say. We will have lunch with longtime friends from Southern Illinois. We will take leisurely strolls along a beautiful pathway adjacent to the Chicago river near Lake Michigan. We will visit fabulous houses of worship. We will dine in, dine out, cook in, cook out, etc. The agenda stretches on and on.
My refrigerator is stocked with ice cream, her favorite dessert. And did I mention that she loves candy?
These days are precious.