By MICAH HENRY
You’d never know she’s 93. That is your first impression of Electa Mae Mecimore, who was selected as 2019 Times’ Mother of the Year. Her daughter Patsy M. Bumgarner wrote the winning essay in the newspaper’s annual contest.
Patsy’s eloquent essay details many of the admirable qualities that her mother possesses: a quiet strength, secure faith, love for others, fine work ethic, and nurturing demeanor.
Electa Mae, mother of four, grandmother to seven, and great-grandmother to eight, has seen a lot of changes in the area through the years. Her parents were Mr. Mose Chapman and Mrs. “Toy” Chapman.
She recalls that as a child, her family lived in the mill village at Liledoun. Mose and Toy walked to work at the mill. Once, when her parents received new work uniforms, they were so happy, and walked proudly down the road to work in the new clothes.
Growing up without a car in the family, Electa Mae said she and her family would walk where they needed to go. And that included day trips to have some fun, too. She used to love walking up to the Upper Dam at Liledoun to go slide on the rocks, a cool summer pastime.
In her own way, Electa Mae’s mother provided many firsts for the family. With money saved from mill work, Toy bought the first refrigerator in the community. She had lightning rods installed on their home to reduce risk of fire. She also saved up and bought a radio — the first one among her neighbors. Other folks would drop by to listen to the news and entertainment on the new device.
A while later, as a young lady, Toy gave consent for Electa Mae to work at The Trio grocery in town. Electa Mae worked for owner Scott Stamey and stayed through the week at the home of Ray and Bessie Brookshire in Taylorsville. If there’s one thing she learned while working at The Trio, it was that she didn’t like being asked to count Green Stamps!
At the age of 21, Electa Mae married Clyde Mecimore. The couple started a family and eventually saw three generations of Mecimores join the ranks, starting with children Larry, Guy, Kay, and Patsy. Working at Duke Power, Clyde was also an entrepreneur, assisted by Electa Mae “full-time,” in auto sales, mobile homes, and poultry farming. He’d drop in with a fellow Duke worker at home for lunch, and Electa Mae would always rustle up some biscuits, potatoes, and other home cooking.
Like most families, there has been loss to journey through. Clyde and Electa Mae’s son Guy lost his life in a car accident at age 16. Electa Mae survived breast cancer at age 87. And sadly, Clyde passed away in 2016 at the age of 92, but Electa Mae has the support of her children and grandchildren.
The family held a surprise birthday party for Electa Mae on Sunday, May 5, and she was recognized at East Taylorsville Baptist Church where she attends as well.
“You know, God has been good to me, and I’m so glad that He let me live this long,” Electa Mae stated. “I have friends that’s gone on years ago. That’s the way it goes. But He let me live this long, and I’m thankful for it.”
As the winning mother, Electa Mae received a $50 gift certificate to Scotty’s Hometown Grill and four tickets to a Hickory Crawdads baseball game of her choice.
As Mother’s Day draws near this weekend, it is fitting to recall the strength and sacrifice of so many women in the area to make life a little better for their children. Happy Mother’s Day to all moms: past, present, and future.
Winning Mother of the Year Essay
I would like to recommend my mother, Electa Mae Mecimore, as the 2019 Mother of the Year. Her life has been a testimony of love for her family and others. One would never know that she is having a bad day because she is always focused on being thankful for the things in her life. She greets you with a big smile because she is genuinely happy to see you. Her life has never been about herself, but always focusing on her family and friends, giving her time to ease their burdens. She is positive and content with her simple life, and while visiting her, you find that rest and peace, too. She loves spending time with her family, making memories to look back on, and sharing loads of laughs! Just being in my mother’s presence makes you feel special, encouraged, and energized making you forget the bad in your own life for a while. I say, “one dose of Mom’s positive attitude does a person good”! Mother has always said, “I love to laugh,” and laughing a lot she does.
At the age of 21, she married my dad, Clyde Mecimore. God blessed them with 4 children, all living today, except her son Guy who was killed in 1966 due to an automobile accident. My Mom and Dad were married 68 years until Dad’s passing at the age of 92 on June 16, 2016. There were many adventures through their 68 years of marriage. Even though dad worked for Duke Power full-time he somehow managed to engage mom in full-time employment with all of his part-time jobs, which included: raising chickens for Holly Farms for over 40 years, managing a mobile home park, selling mobile homes and cars in the vacant lots on either side of their home, and working on the farm. My mother took the responsibility of managing all of these businesses quite well. Through all the stress and management my mother took on, I cannot remember mom complaining or questioning all of the expectations of dad’s adventures. She was in support of his dreams and ambitions wholeheartedly. Somehow, with all of these responsibilities, she still managed to cook 3 meals a day, take care for 4 children, and complete all of the duties of running a household. I consider my mother to have two careers: my dad’s main supporter as well as a role-model mother for her children.
I can remember mom buying cloth at Mrs. Zachery’s fabric store and frantically wanting to get home just to lay the pattern on the kitchen table. She loved sitting at her sewing machine and making clothes for her children. Everything that we wore when we were younger had been made by mom! We did not know what it was like to have a store-bought dress until the North Newton Outlet appeared in Newton in the mid 70’s. My mother made sure that we were happy with our clothes and got the best that she was able to provide us with.
Sundays, to me as a child, meant going to church, taking family photos together, and having a big Sunday lunch. Mom would always make a fresh coconut cake for dessert, which meant making a hole in the coconut with a nail and hammer, draining the juice, and then grating the coconut through a grinder. A lot of work, but the cake was delicious! We always had homemade biscuits at each meal. I told mom she could probably fill a tractor trailer with all of the biscuits that she had made in her life time. She still has her dough bowl today!
My mother has so many great memories that she made with her children. Even though mom was involved with so many jobs, she made everything fun for us during our younger years. She taught her children the value of having good work ethic and at a young age we all had responsibilities. She taught us to work quickly, do it right the first time, and not to be slow about anything. These traits that my mother helped instill in me during childhood have carried me through my years, allowing me to be responsible and conscious of my life.
Today, I look at my mother’s small, arthritic hands and think of all of the words that could be written from her accomplishments, tasks, and sacrifices that she made as we were growing up. Where has the time gone? At one time she was very strong, a mother taking care of her children, and now it is our time to take care of her. As mom talks about her life, a smile crosses her face and she says, “I have had a good life, Patsy, do not worry about me.”
So many strengths and roles come to mind when describing my mother. Her faith in God, a prayer warrior for her family and friends, caring, encouraging, selfless, understanding, excellent work ethic, phenomenal responsibility, and always finding time for her family are but a few. The life that she has lived through the years has been the testimony of a strong, supportive mother who has never been critical or negative, always offering positive affirmations to those she loves. She is always slow to speak or make judgements. A good lesson for all of us to remember!
Mom also taught her children to treat everyone equally, always share a smile with someone, and be kind, because you do not know the burdens that others are carrying. Someone may be watching your life and you may be the only Bible that they will read. She emphasized to always do the right thing, show initiative, have confidence in yourself and most importantly, have a positive attitude! Even at 93 years of age, she is still sharing her key ingredient to living a happy and fulfilled life and that is to always be thankful.
During her years she has faced hardships too many to mention, she knows the sadness of losing a son at 16 years of age, carrying the burden of supporting a family, as well as assuming multiple roles for my father and surviving breast cancer at 87 years of age. My mother’s strength, determination, and winning attitude have never failed through her life. I strive to be like my mother, while spreading her positivity and love everywhere I go.
I love my Mom so much and am so thankful that God has blessed me with my best friend.