Mother Pearl: Queen of Gems


Queen of Gems: Mother Pearl

Lori Jones



The Little Generals:

I want to write about the evolving relationship I had with my mother. I played many roles in my mother’s life: her daughter, friend, confidant, parent, and advocate. The general categories I’ve pulled together so far are: her early life – growing up during the Depression-era on a cotton farm; being the middle neglected child; her close relationship with her grandmother; her personality type that is often misunderstood – introversion; how we became so dependent on each other; how I evolved into having to play the role of her closest ally and advocate and the conflict that generated with others.


Who is in the story?

Mother, Me, I’m still not sure whether to include family


What kinds of things I’m writing about:

My attempt at trying to fix things – and being unsuccessful; my attempt at trying to explain who my mother was to those around her – and being unsuccessful.


When: I think the timeline I want to start with is after I left home – but I’m not sure yet.


First draft of an opening scene:

“Tell me about your mother.” As the one who knew her best, I had my mother’s life story memorized.

I should have more been eloquent in my response to the memory care staff administrator sitting across from me. Her request was simple. She only wanted to know something about her newest resident. But the day had been a crushing defeat. I could think of nothing meaningful to say about my little buddy, my beautiful mother. Having to place her in a memory care facility, against her wishes, had suppressed everything I knew and felt about my mother.

I could not find the right words that day to describe my mother’s special qualities. It has been an arduous journey since I walked her into her new home. But the feelings of defeat are slowly subsiding, and I am just now beginning to find a way to talk about my mother, Winona Pearl.

Life-giving, two words combined into one, describes perfectly the essence of Winona. Her life was about life – the giving and sustaining of life, the loving and nurturing of those who needed her.

The pearl is the oldest precious gem known to man, and the only one formed by another living creature. An oyster provides a protective shell so this precious gem can live and grow. That was Winona.

Perfection was her philosophy. A cotton farmer’s daughter who grew up poor during the Depression, she still managed to bring fashionable, understated beauty to the most humble surroundings.

The pearl brings to mind the traditions of the past but remains a forever-fashionable symbol. Its luminous, lustrous shine exudes exquisite taste. That was Winona.

It has been several years since Winona Pearl left this world, and I am most grateful I had her as my mother. A giver of life, a nurturer, and a protector, she was the most precious of jewels – a queen of gems. But others didn’t see her as I did. I hope to explain to those with louder voices and larger presences that her quiet, gentle way was not weak or aloof or judgmental but was one of understanding and compassion.