On this day, October 19, in the year 1943, my mom came into the world. Dorothea Louise Tanyer was the last of three children for Luther and Elizabeth, and their only daughter. She was born into poverty with both her parents working so they could scrape by. This adorable picture of my mom is one of the very few from when she was a toddler. Little Dorothea had blonde hair and bright blue eyes. She was tiny and feisty.
Mom had to fight most of her life. The first house she lived in growing up had an outhouse. Weekly baths were taken in an old metal tub. The cleanest person took the first bath, and the dirtiest person took the last one in the same water. Grandma made my mom’s clothes and cooked meals from scratch. Grandpa always had a garden. They always had a dog too. I have countless pictures of my mom with many different family dogs over the years. That must have fueled my mom’s love for animals.
My mom never had real toys as a child. She always wanted a baby doll, yet never got one. She told me of one birthday where she actually got a present, but was so disappointed to open the gift only to find a Howdy Doody doll. That was it. That was her one childhood toy and she didn’t even like it. (Look up Howdy Doody if you don’t know who that is.)
Little Dorothea was a very sick child. Back in those days the doctor would come to your house. The doctor came to my grandparent’s house many times over the years. Mom would get pneumonia and various serious illnesses over and over again. She slept in her crib until she was almost 8 or 9. My grandparents couldn’t afford a bed so they had to make do. Thank God my mom was small. For a while she didn’t have a bedroom, just a space in a hallway with a small bed.
My grandfather was an alcoholic and got into trouble at some of the local bars. Mom would be sent as a young girl to go fetch grandpa from the bar and bring him home. Yet my mom loved her dad. Mom loved both her parents and she never said a coarse word about them over the years. My mom really did honor her mother and father. All the stories Mom shared about her mom made me believe that grandma was a saint. I guess she was to some extent for putting up with my grandpa.
Those formative years created a resilient spirit in my mom. She would always bounce back from whatever sickness, or heartache, or trial she experienced. She made a choice to fight. The circumstance was not going to define her, or stop her. The root of Mom’s resilliance was her faith.
After coming to Christ in her late 30’s her life and view radically changed. I know Jesus because my mom introduced me to Him. She was so excited about her new found faith in Christ that she shared it everywhere she went. Worship music was being blared on eight- tracks. (Look up eight-tracks if you don’t know what that is.) And those songs were going into my head and heart. I can vividly remember listening to The Boone Sisters and singing along. (Look up The Boone Sisters if that sounds weird to you.)
Mom’s first Bible study was the book of Acts and she loved it! For the first time in her life the Bible was alive. She met Jesus in that Bible study. Jesus carried my beautiful mom through many hard years. Mom is at peace now. She went home to Jesus on December 31, 2019. No more diseases, or suffering, or pain. Mom had many good years too, and many good things in her life. I am grateful to know of her hard upbringing, and what she overcame. Mom still inspires me today.
Today I honor you, Mom. Happy birthday. I miss you! I love you always, and I’ll see ya soon.
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12