By Richard Mabey Jr.
Once in a lifetime, there comes a journey that changes a person’s life. For me, this journey came in the early Summer of 1986. I was 32 years old. I had left that carefree era of the twenties, and now was entering the doorway to middle age. Mom and I took a sojourn to Western Pennsylvania. It was a journey that changed my life.
In the early Summer of 1986, I was working for a large daily newspaper. I wrote wedding announcements, engagement announcements, church news, scout news, and obituaries. Needless to say, I didn’t get any bylines.
My mom, Janet Kemmerer Mabey, had her mind set on visiting her cousin, Maude Graham, who lived in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Maude was a first cousin of my mother’s, but she was 30 years older than Mom. Mom was 53 at the time and Maude was 83. What happened is that my mom was the youngest of nine children and her mother, Lydia Capwell Kemmerer, was the youngest of 11 children. So, Mom had cousins who were much older than her.
I decided to take a week off from work to drive Mom to Indiana, Pennsylvania to visit her cousins, Harry and Maude Graham. It was a week that changed my life. The car trip from Lincoln Park to Indiana, Pennsylvania, was in itself a monumental event.
I am positive that it was just as we entered Pennsy, having just crossed the Delaware River, that Mom asked me how things were really going at my job. I told my mom that I was most unhappy there. That I wasn’t being treated well at all and that I felt as though I was in a dead end.
It is a funny thing, in 10 words, Mom deeply inspired me. As I drove along Route 80, Mom looked at me and simply said, “well, Richard, then you need to start your own newspaper.” And, in that moment, the wheels began turning in my mind.
In December of 1986, I said farewell to the big daily newspaper. And, in February of 1987, I began publishing The Lincoln Park Journal. I honestly don’t know if I would have had the courage to leave the big daily and then start my own newspaper, without the blessed encouragement of my mom.
Mom’s encouragement melted away my inner fears and insecurities. Mom faith in me gave me the courage to take a bold step. And, I learned so much through publishing LPJ. So very much. It broadened my scope as a writer and stretched me like a rubber band.
Encouragement is a gift that often times is more valuable than gold. The gift of encouragement can change a person’s life. Words of encouragement are dear and precious. They have wonderful, magnificently uplifting powers. Kind words of encouragement may well be the single most precious gift that you could ever give to another living soul.
Richard Mabey Jr. is a freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put on the subject line: I Remember Mom.