My Mother Lives In My Heart

Lucille Dickinson Ainsworth

My mother passed away January 29, 2010. Since she hated to tell her age, I won't tell it either. Let's just say that she lived longer than the average person, but not as long as her father who made it to 100.

Born during the Roaring Twenties, Momma was a child of the Great Depression and a young woman during World War II. She, like so many other women of that era, went to war by working in factories and doing jobs that, previously, only men did. She helped assemble tank cannon shells at a munitions plant and later learned to be a telephone operator, a job which she loved.

When she and my father, a D-Day veteran, married, she assumed the role of wife and mother and somehow survived the misadventures of her 3 rambunctious kids. My older brother and I alone were probably responsible for every gray hair in her head. She excelled in what were then called the domestic arts. Her cooking could rival any chef, and her quilting, crocheting, and needlepoint were fine enough to be sold in stores.

Country, gospel, and early rock and roll music by Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis, created the musical background of her life. From her childhood of singing blended harmony gospel music on the porch after dinner each evening to the foot-tapping, earthy music of Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr., and Toby Keith, she loved it all. Along with music, she adored railroads and trains because her father had been a career railroad man. She never passed up a chance to ride on a train.

After my brothers and I married and left home, she grew interested in family history and genealogy. Over the next two decades, she published The Ainsworth Trading Post, a genealogy newsletter, and she compiled massive volumes of genealogy on her Ainsworth, Eubanks, and Shows family lines and authored Cemeteries of Franklin Parish: Private, Public, and Abandoned. All her books are in genealogy collections across the country including the Mormon Library in Salt Lake City and the New York City Public Library.

When my father passed away, I gave my mother a computer and Internet access. Eagerly, she embraced this new way of communication and research. She was never afraid to try something new and loved everything about this new electronic age.

My mother believed strongly in never telling her age and in never appearing in public without her hair fixed and her lipstick on. We all used to laugh about her vanity, and she'd laugh too. She was a hoot in so many ways, and we have so many funny stories the family can share when we're together.

She was loved by not just her children but by all my cousins and their children too. She was the favorite aunt. And she loved all of us too. Her last words for each and every one of us were of that love.

With so many things to interest her, she never tired of life. In 2008, with my help, she completed her latest book Memory Lane: My Sentimental Journey. She was so proud of that book. She told what it was like to have very little in material possessions, but everything in love and family. One might think her childhood during the Great Depression was marked by deprivation, but it wasn't. It was the happiest time of her life.

She had a strong will to live and keep learning and experiencing new things. If only that had been possible. There's a huge hole in my life right now. She and I used to talk four or more times each day. I just can't believe that I'll never hear her voice again.

Takeaway Truth

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  1. She was obviously a wonderful person. Judy and I have been through this, and you and your family have our deepest sympathy.

  2. A FINE TRIBUTE TO A VERY FINE LADY. She’ll be missed by all. I’m so glad that I made the effort to stop-by for coffee with her ‘bout three years ago. It had gotten to where we never had many chances to visit, and I knew the likelihood of me having this chance again was slim.

    There was a special place for her in my heart, too — and I share your emptiness. My deepest sympathy goes out to the entire family. May God be with you through this time of grieving.

    Perry Lofton

  3. I'm sorry to hear about the death of your mother.

    My sympathies.


    Jaime Ramos

  4. Perry, she loved you always and loved your emails. You made her laugh a lot.

  5. Jaime, thank you. It was 1 week ago today. Tough day to get through.

  6. Just know that she'll always be with you, no matter what, in your hearts and in your dreams! One of my grandmas was around her age... and I'm missing her and my other grandma terribly since their deaths.