Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Helen Austin
PCN Correspondent 

Whitewater News and Opinion for May 15, 2019


I hope you had a happy Mother’s Day.

This is a tribute to my mother, Martha Austin. Mom was the most wonderful mother in the whole world (I hope you all feel that way about your mothers.) Mom was always there for us; she was a stay-at-home mother, which seems to be rare these days. Maybe we didn’t have all that money can buy, but we always had her time. Mom cooked and baked, both were wonderful. Everything was homemade from scratch and her cookies, doughnuts, cakes, and pies were delicious. Housewives and cooks had so much more work then. I regret that I didn’t help as much as I should have. Mom loved me anyway.

In the 1940s and 50s, we did not have electricity or running water in the house or indoor plumbing. This was terrible; going to the outhouse when it was 20-degrees below and in two feet of snow!

Water had to be hand-pumped for drinking, cooking, and washing. Then dirty water had to be carried out and dumped. In early days, we had no gas heat; we burned all coal or oil. Since this is prairie land, often there wasn’t enough wood to burn, we burned “sheep coal” or “cow chips.” They kept the house warm and cozy. Since we didn’t have electricity, we used “Aladdin Lamps” (I still have them, and they are antiques now.) Mom worked hard at home, more than at any job now. She was a schoolteacher and taught school in a little country school called The White Elephant and that is where she met and married dad! (The school was located near Loring.)

Mom was a businesswoman, too. In the early days, women couldn’t own land unless married. She was the first woman to own a homestead and the land…this is now land owned by my sister, Sally Austin.

She chose to be a stay-at-home mom after my brother, Harry, sister Janet and I were born and being raised.

Mom has been gone many years, but I still miss her, mostly on Mother’s Day. Be kind to your mom.

Fast forward to the present…May 2019.

Congratulations to all seniors graduating from high school and college. Whitewater’s graduation is on May 17 at 7 p.m. in the school gym.

Today it is beautiful and sunny. The grass is green, and the birds are signing. Sing along with them.

Helen A.


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