How could I ever do "justice" to the most WONDERFUL mother in the world?
Dorothea Ethel Crawford was born on August 10, 1929 in St. Louis Co., Missouri. Her parents were Charles Donald and Olga Linnea Peterson Crawford. She was a very bright and artistic child. Dotty didn't have an easy life, but was raised by parents who adored her and always showed her lots of love and attention.
The Crawford children, Alice, Alfred and Dotty circa 1933>>>>>>>>>
She did very well in school and graduated from Riverview Gardens High School in North Co., St. Louis in 1947. She was 17 years old when she graduated and had been offered several jobs in the city, however her parents had decided to move to Bourbon, Crawford Co., Missouri and she moved along with them.
Dorothea soon found work at the local newspaper, "The Bourbon Standard," and this became a passion for her. She loved writing stories and editing the pages. Although, it wasn't a very high paying job she learned many things during her time there and really honed her ability to write.
By 1955, Dorothea was working several jobs. One job was with a local doctor as an Office Manager. Dorothea was a "pioneer" career woman, never thinking too much about marriage.
Dwight and Dotty in 1957>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
When she first saw Dwight Halfaker, she recalls that he was "just a kid." Then Dwight went away to the Korean War and on his return in 1955, Dorothea took notice of him--he had become a MAN, not the "kid" that she remembered. Her dad, Charlie invited Dwight to dinner. Soon, the two young people fell in love and married on February 17, 1956.
Dorothea and Dwight quickly started their family and Heidi Alyce was born on January 28, 1957. Dorothea was a "stay at home mother" for the next 17 years. She was a wonderfully 'creative' mother...always letting her children play and discover. She let us draw and paint. She was a very neat housekeeper, but always let her children's imaginations run freely!! Our house was always noisy with all the neighborhood children as they loved to come and play there.
<<Mommy and me, 1957.
I have never known a more kind and loving woman. She gives her love and attention freely and completely. Sometimes children grow up not knowing if they are loved. I ALWAYS knew that my mother loved me. She was always there when I just needed to talk and always took so much time 'just listening' to me!! She always let me 'spread my wings' and SOAR!! She never told me WHAT to do...Only made me feel that I could do ANYTHING! She always said, "If they can do it, YOU can do it!!" This made me realize that the 'sky was the limit!'
Mother also told me things like, "You are NO better than anyone else, but you are NO worse either." I think this has made me a very understanding and accepting person. I try to always treat people the way I would want them to treat me.
In 1992, Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a very large tumor in her right breast. Even though she had to be scared, she never showed any real fear! Her trust in God made her strong. She reassured all of us that the Lord would take care of her and He did. The cancer had not spread and at that time she didn't have to have chemotherapy or radiation. However, in March of 1998 the cancer reappeared on the site where they had done a radical mastectomy. Mother felt a lump, but never thought that the cancer would return on the site of the mastectomy. It was cancer and when it was removed they decided that she would need to undergo radiation and hormone therapy. She went through this entire situation like the TROOPER that she has always been. By the grace of God, she is cancer free right now!!
Because my mother was such a career woman in her younger years, she never quite got over the NEED to work to fulfill herself. When I was 16 years old, she went back to work for Bourbon School District and worked there for just over 20 years. She retired primarily because her husband was very ill and she chose to help take care of him, which she did until he died recently.
Mom circa 1975 at work in the kitchen...she is an excellent COOK!!>>
My parents had a very long and loving relationship. They were married almost 43 years. Of course there were trials and tribulations in their marriage-- as in all marriages, but I always knew they truly loved each other. They taught me how to "stick" with someone that you love through thick and thin!!
My mother is a poet, a writer and a THINKER!! She is very intelligent and I have always been so PROUD of her. She was a wonderful and caring wife to my dad, Dwight. She was a loving daughter to her parents, Charlie and Olga. She is an understanding and generous grandmother. BUT, she is MY best friend and the BEST MOTHER IN THE WORLD!!
My mother passed away March 2, 2000. She lost her battle with breast cancer and went to be with the angels. We will be lost without her, but KNOW she is in the arms of the Almighty. Below is a poem that she read everyday and I believe it best describes the way in which she tried to live her life. I apologize for not knowing the author.
Lord, I pray, let me do more than exist
Let me never complain about adjusting
Let me not criticize those who are older
Let me never ridicule those younger.
Let me never say that each day is the same
Let me at no time withdraw into a shell
Let me never fritter away a single day
Running to and fro, making much ado about nothing.
Spare me from trivial undertakings
But, I pray, O Lord, grant me
As the narrowing of time increases
A finer intent of service to others
And a rich honoring of Thy name.
My mother, Dotty Halfaker loved poetry. In fact, her father, Charles Crawford was a poet and wrote the following poem that my mother memorized. During her many months of radiation and chemotherapy fighting breast cancer, Momma had many painful hours...this poem of Grandpa's along with numerous scriptures helped her keep going. I read this poem at her service as a tribute to her.
My grandfather, Charles Crawford had a weekly column in the Bourbon Beacon. This poem was published on Thursday, Oct. 2, 1969.
POEMS FROM CRAWFORD'S PEN
By Charles D. Crawford
In these dark days of sorrow
When despair seems to have fallen on the earth,
'Tis no time to weaken now
Take the hand not from the plow
Be strong, expect, and look for your rebirth.
His promise of a bright tomorrow
Cannot fail, His words not pass away.
Prayer will create a tower
Of refuge in His power
Where all enemies of good are held at bay.
The body, His temple must be clean
Or His spirit will not dwell therein.
Cast every idol out
Leave no room for fear or doubt
His peace will enter then and only then.
Should some choose to slander and demean?
Set your mind and heart on heavenly things.
If your prayers return to you,
Keep praying, you'll break through
And your desires will mount up on Golden Wings.
Though the way at times seems cold and alone,
Your sorrows cruel and labors hard,
These cannot be compared
With what He has prepared
For those who love and serve the Lord.