Janice and Deloris Scott. April 9, 1949. Phoenix, Arizona. RC81.023.04569. Devere Helfrich Rodeo Photographic Collection. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
She is where I began. The first moment of life I remember. Excited. Waiting. Standing as sounds approached and smiling before she opened the door. Seeing her. Hearing “good morning” as she lifted me out of the crib. My earliest memory is love. My earliest memory is my mother.
This month, I want to thank her for that memory and so many more. For birthday cakes and Halloween costumes made from scratch. For the lunchbox packed before work and waiting in the fridge—so that I could feel like a big kid after AM kindergarten. For midnight hikes and s’mores at Camp Waluhili. For brisket, spaghetti, taco salad, stew, and cornbread. For chicken fried steak. For pies. For soccer games spent in the heat and cold. For climbing Chief’s Mountain. For science fair projects. For ping-pong ball launchers. For Scottish Games. For trying on chain mail. For listening. For laughing. For encouraging. For teaching. For believing. I’m grateful beyond measure to be Kathy’s.
Ours is just one story and the images below provide a glimpse into the countless others. Whether relaxing outdoors, posing for studio portraits, or caught in a candid moment, these faces are not fiction. Like mothers today, they protected their children, comforted them when they cried, and hoped they would enjoy long and happy lives. They may not all be identified, but you don’t need names to recognize love—a bond that transcends time, culture, and place. This month we celebrate mothers, past and present.
Kimberly Roblin is Curator of Archival and Photographic Collections at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. For the native Oklahoman, sharing western history through research, exhibitions, and publications is much more than business. It’s personal.