Question: When and where was the subject of the video born?
My mother Mary Smith was born in 1937, in Lawrence Kansas.
Question: Who were their parents?
Her parents were John and Mable Smith.
Question: Was there anything unique about the era or location they were born? (Optional)
My mother was born during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl that inspired the novel. “The Grapes of Wrath”.
Question: Where did they go to school and/or college?
My mother graduated from high school in 1955 and in those days it was not common for woman to go to college, so she worked in the General Store as a store Clerk before she got married.
Question: Did they move around as a child / young adult? (Optional)
My mother’s family lived in Lawrence all their lives, but my mother often spent summers visiting her Uncle Jim in Colorado as a teenager after the World War II.
Question: Is there any thing unique about their childhood that shaped their life (loss of their parent when young, a childhood disease, grew up in the depression, etc.)?
As a child, my mother grew up during World War II, fortunately her brothers were to young to serve. But it was a time of rationing of gas and other items, so the family did not travel outside of Lawrence during this time.
Question: Did they serve in the military and if so, where. If they served during wartime, please elaborate? Does Not Apply
Question: How did they meet their spouse, when did they get married?
My mother met my dad, George Lewis, at a 4H event in Kansas City in 1953 when she was 16. My dad lived in Kansas City, but before the highway system was built this was a long ride, so they first stayed in touch with letters and a very rare phone call—we paid for long distance phone calls back then—and occasionally my grandparents drove her half way to meet him. They got engaged in 1957 and got married when my dad graduated from Donnelly College in 1959.
Question: What do they do for an occupation?
My parents first lived in Kansas City and my dad first sold insurance and eventually opened up his own insurance business when they moved to Overland park in 1971.
Question: How many children did they have and what were their names, in order?
My Brother John and I were born in Kansas City, where we rented an apartment outside the downtown. My sisters Ruth and Gretchen—who are twins—were born the same year we moved to Overland Park,
Question: If you are telling the story of your parent(s) describe any family vacations or activities that you remember.
My mother shared her love of the Colorado and we took an annual vacation of camping, hiking and fishing in the Rocky Mountains. We have wonderful memories from this time and also had family trips to Chicago and vacationed on Lake Michigan on the Wisconsin side.
Question: What were the most important values taught to you by them? (Religion, Community Involvement, Education, ect.)
My father worked very had building his new business into the largest insurance agency in town. He was very involved in the Chamber of Commerce and serviced on many civic groups, giving us a life-long appreciation that hard work can bring many great rewards. But it was my mother who instilled self-confidence in my siblings and me, so we could take on the challenges of the world. She was the Den Mother, who headed up the school bake sales and taught us the value of helping out in the community.
Question: Did they face any challenges or adversities and how did this impact their lives and the lives of their family?
Unfortunately my dad was a heavy smoker and died of a heart attack in 1987 at the much to young age of 51. This of course devastated our family and created huge financial pressures on my mom. She had to take over my dad’s business and quickly learn the ropes, so that she could not only pay the mortgage, but pay for my two sister’s college educations.
My mother showed incredible courage and strengthen during those hard year, rising up to the challenge, eventually selling the company in 1998.
Question: When and how did they pass away, or if they are still living, what are they doing?
Today, in 2015, my mother is 77 and is enjoying her retirement with her eight grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Question: What impact do they have on your life?
My mother has truly been a model for me; my brother and two sisters on how to both enjoy life and meet the tough challenges life can throw at you. From instilling a love of the outdoors and helping out in your community, to stepping outside your comfort zone to meet a challenge head on, I am the person I am today—and a much better person—because of the example and values my mother taught me. Thank you mom and we love you very much.