‘Mama said’: Sage words from Vicksburg’s mothers

Published 4:00 am Sunday, May 14, 2023

A mother’s love is enduring. And whether they are imparting wisdom or exemplifying a lifestyle to live by, their actions can make a difference in their child’s life.

In celebration of Mother’s Day, a few local women and one native of Vicksburg were asked to share a little bit of either the words of wisdom they gleaned from their mother and or a tradition or lifestyle they have chosen to live by and in some cases even pass on to their children.

Mary Jane Fant on her mother, the late Margaret Gilmer

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“My mom’s favorite saying to me was ‘Do something about it!’ If I dared to say anything negative, she expected me to figure out how to fix it or get involved to encourage change. That’s really how she lived her life. She believed one person can make a difference in your community, and that if she could, anyone could. So, her legacy has been to pass that belief to me, and for me to pass it onto my children. Some of her other saying to us kids were ‘Keep trying’; ‘Can’t never could’; ‘You can recover from anything negative within three years and the third year will be here before you know it.’ And to her grandkids when they were not acting right, she would constantly say, ‘You can’t defy the odds.’ Another big one to me was ‘nothing worthwhile is ever easy.’”

Ninth Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Toni Terrett on her mother, Martha Walker

“My mother taught me and my sisters the importance of not giving up and not making excuses when it comes to our faith, our families and our careers. As an adult, I have learned more about the struggles she had to overcome to be the amazing wife, mom, grandmother, and trailblazing real estate professional we have all come to know. It makes me appreciate the sacrifices she made throughout the years to help us all fulfill our dreams even when she didn’t always see the vision initially. I hope that I can keep building on the great legacy of motherhood she has established. “

Vicksburg native Gabrielle Terrett on her mother, Judge Toni Terrett

“There are a handful of great traditions that my mother started but two of them stand out most to me. The first is making a big deal out of small wins. No matter what, my mom has always celebrated my younger siblings and me. Whether we got our first job or passed a simple quiz at school, she was just as happy as we were. So, it’d make sense that when there was a huge win, she’d go all out. This leads me to the next tradition that she and our father started together — hosting a huge graduation party. Once everyone graduated from high school, they would take our whole family on a trip to a place we’d never seen before. My trip, the first one to graduate, was to New York City, in 2016. This year, for the last graduation trip, my two youngest siblings will get to enjoy their trip to South Carolina.”

Executive Director of the Vicksburg Historic Preservation Nancy Bell on her mother, the late Babs Bell

“I think that my mother’s best advice was that a mom should show loving support for every aspect of her children’s lives, and at the same time, she should respect that her children need to make their own decisions and live their own lives. The life-long lesson that my mom instilled in me, and later her grandkids, was to love nature and the great outdoors. She taught us not only about plants, animals, the weather and the ocean, but the importance of experiencing nature by climbing trees, hiking, camping or just walking along the beach. But perhaps the most important thing that she did was to always give hugs, every day, for no reason at all, just give hugs. And if you had chocolate, always eat chocolate. I miss her every day.”

Guardian Ad Litem Coordinator with the Warren County Youth Court Susie Calbert on her mother, Jacqueline Bride-Parson

“There are a million great things I can say about my mother. One of the most vivid memories I have as a small child was a poem that hung (on my and my sibling’s bedroom wall.) The poem was titled “Children Learn What They Live,” by Dorothy Law Nolte. Fast forward many years later, (the poem) serves as a soft reminder of the love my mom poured into our home while raising us and how hard she worked to make sure those were principles that guided her and later us. The key things our mom taught us were to always have faith in God, love unconditionally and help others and always exude confidence and try and do our best. Those priceless lessons I’ve taken with me throughout life and now everything I am, I credit God and my mom. Thank you, Mom, for life lessons. I Love You, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.”

Lurline Lawrence Simmons on her mother, the late Lurline Hintson Lawrence

“My mother signed cards or special notes with ‘Live, Laugh, Love, Lurline.’ That so symbolized the way she lived her life. She loved people and was always busy and involved with others. People were a gift to her. She passed on grace, compassion, and an appreciation for others and to live joyfully in every moment.”

South Park Elementary School Principal LaToya Sims Allen on her mother, Sherry Sims

“The best advice that my mom gave me about being a mom was to spend as much time as you can with your children and make sure they know the Lord.”

Bonnie Henry on her mother, Kay Lee, former director of Vicksburg Family Development Service, her mother-in-law, Teresa Henry and grandmothers Dot Espey and Kathleen Lee

“My daughters, as well as my sister and I, are blessed to have the influence of Godly women in our lives. Women who, when you look at their hearts, are exactly the same in their most important core values: Christ as their savior, the Bible as God’s word of ultimate truth, and selfless love and devotion to their families. However, their personalities, tastes, hobbies, careers, etc., are almost polar opposites as is their approach to living out these core values. This was true for my grandmothers, and it is true for my mom and mother-in-law, as well. One likes fashion; one would prefer to never shop a day in her life. One worked in an office environment while the other chose to work from home. One loves to celebrate birthdays and one prefers to never remember her birthday, one is more quiet and reserved, while the other could chat for days at a party. While seemingly silly differences on the surface, these personalities have been an example to myself, my sister and my daughters on the many ways to love, serve and mother. Much of the mom that I am today is a combination of the love these four women have poured into my life.”

Main Street Marketplace Owner Sally Bullard on her mother, the late Betty Bullard, Matriarch of Vicksburg

“My mom always said every day is Mother’s Day. And she would sing some kind of silly song she made up about how she is a mother every day… So for me, every day is Mother’s Day.”

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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