Margaret Miller Kinlock

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Honored by Charlotte Kinlock, her daughter

All that I am is because of my mother. I have her strength of character, her temper and her sense of humor. And, sometimes, like her, I have the mouth of a sailor.

I also have her mental illness. She was, and I am, bi-polar. The difference is that I was born in 1953 and she was born in 1913. While I have drugs that help me--mostly--control my condition, she had Librium and a family doctor who told her she was "a little nervous." Eventually, her world shrunk to just a house she was unable to leave because she was "a little nervous" and a lot agoraphobic.

My mother's family was very poor. One of the stories she told from her childhood was how the other school children laughed at her and called her "Second Hand Rose" because of the clothes she wore.

The only girl among five boys, my mother left home at age 16 and joined the convent. For whatever reason it didn't stick. But I've often wondered if the year of her entrance, 1929, had something to do with her choice.

All her life my mom worked in a factory. During World War II, she was a "Rosie the Riveter" at the Boeing plant in Seattle, Washington.

I'm not sure where she got the idea, but she was perfectly clear that I, and my brother and sister, were going to college. She left school in the 9th grade because she had to work (my dad had a 6th-grade education), but she was determined not to have our futures so limited.

With a Bachelor's degree and later a Master's in Social Work degree, I have followed the dream she had for me. My mom died in 1977 at the age of 64. I still miss her.