Thursday, April 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday Stories: Strong

I'm not sure if it's the story I've been sharing in the library (Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki), or the fact that she would have been ELATED about Kyndall's baptism,  but I've been thinking about Mamaw West a lot lately.  I wanted her story to be the first I shared in participation with The Mom Creative's link-up.


Oh, this woman.  My heart swells with pride as I look at this picture and I don't even know where to begin with the telling of her story.  Great-grandmother to my girls. Grandmother to my husband.  Mother to 4 boys (God bless her soul).  Braves Baseball Fan.  STRONG.  Faith-Filled.  Selfless.

One of the earliest memories I have of Mamaw is Sunday lunch at her house.  I had finished my plate and drink and was sitting there, listening to the stories being passed around.  Mamaw insisted on refilling my drink, even with my adamant proclamation of not being thirsty.  That little memory EMBODIES her.  She was a doer.  A helper.  A servant at heart.

And, oh how she loved my girls.  (She loved everyone, but for the purpose of this story, we're talking about my girls.)  When we visited, she would light up and sit and talk and bask in all that was my girls.    Even when she was sick and I would hesitate in visiting, afraid the wildness and energy from K & L would wear her out, she asked for us.

When Libby was born, she would never take a pacifier.  We wanted her to, just as a comfort measure.  One of Mamaw's favorite stories to tell was the day she introduced Libby to the paci.  I'm not sure if it was the timing, or the approach, or just the presence of Mamaw.  One day, in her arms, Libby started taking her paci.  It was a saving grace for us at the time.  (Months later, I joked with Mamaw that since she was the one responsible for the paci habit, she needed to be the one to take it away.)

She had a face cream recipe that I swear is a miracle.  It should be marketed.  I have it written down, and one day when I start the face regimen that I need to have, I'll use her cream.

She survived the Japanese war camps, and while I'll never know all the parts of that story that my curious heart craves, knowing this makes her the strongest woman I've ever known.

Even as tiny as she was, she had such a commanding presence.  Justin's favorite memory is the way she 'scolded'.  When he and his brothers would be fighting, she would squeeze between them repeating "Say! Say!"

She was famous before being famous was cool.  A radio interview and a newspaper article were produced about her.  Both called her a "war bride", even though she loved to say that wasn't technically the truth.

She was part of the greatest love story I'll ever witness, and that is a story in itself.

She was, and is, such an inspiration to me.  I am forever grateful to this sweet lady, and the family she raised.  Her legacy lives on.  Through the slanted eyes and tanned skin of my husband.  Through the memories he has that he passes along to our girls.  Through his faith, which was very much influenced by her life.  I knew Mamaw for only eight short years, but I am forever thankful for each and every minute of that time.


  1. What a beautiful tribute! So glad I clicked over from TBT Stories! :)

    1. Thank you! She was a wonderful lady. I'm very excited about TBT Stories!

  2. I would love to hear about her love story :)

  3. Thank you Courtney for this beautiful tribute to "Mamaw", a woman that I loved from the first day I met her over 20 years ago. She was the perfect mother-in-law and loved her family with all her heart. I miss her every day and still have trouble believing that she has been gone from our world for over 2 years. What a legacy she left for all of us. I don't know if you know this but about 2 months before she died we got her to tell us her life's story and taped it. It was difficult for her because she was so weak but she got through it. It was over a year before I could bring myself to listen to it. I typed it up and then got Aunt Fumie to fill in the blanks. At some point I will print it out and give a copy to the family. I haven't done it already because I don't want to upset Papaw. His feelings are still very raw about losing the love of his life. The story of her youth is one of struggle and what she endured is unimaginable to most of us. Meeting Papaw in Japan after the war turned her life around and began the great love story of " Dick & Yuri". What a wonderful story it was!

    1. She was the most influential woman I've ever met!