Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Mother's High School English Teacher

The teacher's name was Osee Maedgen. In the fall of 1922, a new student enrolled in Brownwood High School, where Miss Maedgen was teaching English, a student who was very earnest about her education. This student was my mother. A young girl in her mid-teen years, she was in Brownwood, Texas, with her maternal uncle and his daughter, trying to help her family stay afloat by selling picture frames.

Her father had died in Ft. Stockton of tuberculosis the previous spring. Her mother and younger siblings had moved to Comanche, Texas. Comanche was situated at a railroad junction, and my grandmother began running a boarding house for travelers there. Uncle George, my grandmother's younger brother, took both my mother and his own young daughter with him that summer, traveling from town to town and selling picture frames door to door.

After a few weeks in Brownwood, he told his niece and daughter that they must withdraw from school and go back on the road with him, because he had sold as many picture frames as he thought he could, in Brownwood.

My mother was heartbroken. She wanted to stay in Brownwood and graduate from high school. The next day she poured her troubles out to Miss Maedgen. That resourceful young teacher immediately went into action. She got permission for my mother to remain in Brownwood, if a suitable place could be found for her. And she found my mother a place in the home of a family who needed household help, including caring for their preschool children.

This was not an easy situation for my mother: attending school all day, doing housework and babysitting before and after school, and keeping up with her homework. But she persevered, with Miss Maedgen's encouragement, and not only graduated from high school but went on to attend the local college.

She earned a teaching certificate, and this enabled her to take a job at Indian Creek, near Brownwood, teaching in that small rural school. With the aid of her older brother, who had gotten a job in Ft. Worth, she was able to support her mother and younger sister and brothers. My grandmother gave up the boarding house and moved to Indian Creek. There she made a home for my mother and the younger children for the next several years.

My mother in 1926

1 comment:

  1. What a fantastic story. You must be so proud of your mother's tenacity and achievement.


Blog Archive