PARIS, MARCH 5, 2012: Today is my mother's birthday. Had she lived, Margaret Anna Miller Slaughter would be 101 years old today. Born March 5, 1911 in Victoria, Virginia (near her mother's ancestral home of Coleraine), she grew up in Sperryville and Flint Hill, moving to the town of Culpeper in the 1920s in order to attend the "better" high school there.
She boarded at my Grandmother Kate Slaughter's and there, met my father, Jack who was attending VMI. After graduation from high school, she went off to college at Ward Belmont in Nashville, returning when her father died in 1930.
Shortly after this, she saw my father again and they began dating. She wrote that she knew she wanted to marry him after only a few dates. But the Depression was on, and they did not marry for six years.
She loved books, and to this day, I still have many of her original copies -- poems of Rupert Brooke and Edna St. Vincent Millay, An Anthology of American Negro Poetry, art books, Anna and the King of Siam (which I re-read last summer after seeing The King and I in production by Ashlawn Opera).
Like many women of her generation (and even after), she began to dream of greater vistas but she did not have the opportunities that have occurred during my lifetime.
She was troubled by life in many ways, but despite ups and downs, I always felt loved by her. As a mother, grandmother (and now great grandmother). I know how important that is for a child.
Here in Paris, as I remember her, I think how happy she would have been to see this beautiful city along with all the other beautiful places I have experienced in my lifetime.
Happy Birthday, Mama.
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