I've probably said it before but my mother didn't talk much about her past. I have remnants of things mentioned in passing blended with a few old pictures my cousin sent to remind me where she came from. I know she came from a mining town, her mother had a bit of a sense of humor, and she endured more than any little girl ever should. So why would I want to go back there?
I don't think I had a choice. I've always admired her faith and wanted someday to write more about her. That day recently came when I was told book 1 of my Shadow of the Steeples series didn't have enough grit. The book coach told me I should bring out the struggles she must have faced raising children while being blind.
I didn't find the grit there though. I went back, with the help of the internet, to the coal mines of West Virginia and Kentucky. I saw the darkness of the mines and the poverty of the towns. On my mother's birth certificate, her mother had written she was a homemaker in, "my own little shanty." I looked at the pictures, remembered the stories and wondered how my mother came out so full of life and light.
Somehow looking at pictures of strangers helped me know my mother better. I'm glad I took the virtual tour. But I'm even more pleased Mom found Jesus at a young age. It was His Light that guided her through the darkness of poverty, her parents alcoholism, and her own blindness.