Friday, November 9, 2012

Maxine Adams

Since I like to say on this blog that it is the stories of someones life that we celebrate at the funerals, and that it is those stories that keep them alive in our hearts, I'd like to share with you briefly the story of my own mother's life.

Born to a poor country family in Northern Lower Michigan in 1933, she was raised with very few luxuries. Although being the only daughter, I'm sure she probably had it a little easier than her two brothers who were ten and eleven years older than her. Still, it was a time and place where homes had only one room and bathwater was shared by the whole family.
By the time she was ten, her brothers had gone off to war and her parents decided to move to Detroit in search of employment. But when she was only eleven, only one day before World War Two ended, her father was tragically killed in a freak factory explosion. Leaving her mother to raise her on her own in harsh times and a strange city.

At fourteen, she started caring for her mother who was injured in an automobile accident and 
by the time she graduated high school, her mother had been diagnosed with cancer. She met my father in March the following year and by June they were married. But before she could give her mother her first grandchild, her mother was gone.

It was a tough beginning to say the least. At that point, her husband (my father) decided he wanted to be a part of the newest craze in health care sweeping across America. He decided to become a Chiropractor. Together, as they started their family, they attended Palmer Chiropractic College in Iowa.

After finishing school, they opened the first chiropractic office in Leesville, Louisiana. It was not a big hit and they made the move to Houma, Louisiana to take over an existing practice. It was a new science then and patience were few. They often paid for services with a barter instead of money.

With a growing family and the promise of a steady paycheck, it was decided to move the family to Michigan where my father took a job with Ford Motor Co.. Their passion was always helping others through chiropractic care but food and clothing for a growing family was not cheap.

Total, my mother had seven children and my father made a very good living with Ford. My mother certainly did not want for much. Anything she thought we needed, we would have. And my father always made sure she always had a nice new car to drive her family around in.

She dedicated her life to raising her children. Taking time out four month every year to help a few hundred friends fill out their income tax forms. Our kitchen table became known as Max's Taxes.

Most importantly, she did not want any of her children to suffer the way she did as a child. She did her best to participate in any and all activities that we became interested in over the years. Then when she was 47 years old she started having problems with her heart. It turned out that a tumor had grown inside her heart and was blocking the valves from operating properly. She survived that, only to spend the rest of her life battling diabetes.

She wasn't perfect by any measure and had a bit of a short temper at times. my father even referred to her as Vesuvius. But she did her best with what she had to offer us. And for that, all seven of us love her and miss her very much. 

This 9th day of November 2012, I am reflecting on her life because today would have been her 79th birthday.

She may not be here to celebrate with us in the flesh, but she will always be in our hearts.


Maxine Ellen Shattuck Adams
11/09/1933   ~   05/17/2011

Life is as the flash of the firefly in the night, the breath of the buffalo in winter time.
~ Blackfoot proverb


MorningAJ said...


I guess it's not until we hear stories like your mum's that we realise how lucky we are.

On Monday night K and I raised a glass to our dads. It was the 13th anniversary of my dad's funeral and would have been K's dad's birthday.

So I know exactly where you're coming from with this post. She must have been a wonderful woman. (And she looks a little bit like my grandma!)

laura.forestdreams:) said...

what a beautiful tribute...for your mom!!!! thanks for sharing her life stew!! =)

Mitchell is Moving said...

Yes, a beautiful tribute. I really feel like I got to know your mother here.

Ms Sparrow said...

I think I would have liked your mom. I was shocked to hear she had a tumor in her heart! How can something grow inside such a busy organ? It's nice you remember her so fondly.

sophie...^5 said...

Thanks for sharing this Stew...your Mom was so strong and loved by are one lucky person. Whether she had a short temper or not, hey who doesn't every now and again, she knew what she wanted and needed. Happy Birthday to your MOM!!!

Jim said...

This was a sweet tribute and birthday message to your mother, Stew.
We sometimes forget how good we had it compared to what most of our parents had to go through before and after WW11. They made it so easy for us and we thank them.
So Maxine was good with the numbers/tax returns? I bet a lot of people were happy she was available every year!
Nice post Stew.