The Heroines

Aldena B. Zimmerman

is honored with a Brick from Melva J. Zimmerman.

Aldena B. Tidball Zimmerman, my mother, was born February 26, 1920, in Lincoln, Kansas, the third child, the second girl, in a family that would be nine in number by the time she was twelve. Hers was a poor family both in money and in time to devote to each child, yet she grew up wise, loving and caring.

At fourteen she was denied the opportunity of going to high school because "education was wasted on a girl." Shortly after she turned seventeen she married Virgil L. Zimmerman of Butler County, Kansas. Her first baby was stillborn, a fact that she has said was probably a blessing in disguise as she at eighteen had not know enough to raise a happy, successful adult.

When at twenty-one she had me, she promised me while still in the hospital that she would do the best she could and that she would not make the same mistakes that had been made with her, her siblings and with other children she saw around her.

My mother was and is very wise, able to learn something from everyone even if only what not to do or be. She always had time for me and for my brother. No matter how inconsequential our "discoveries" or problems may have been to her she knew they were anything but to us. Because she listened then, she was privy later to all our secrets, something too many parents today cannot claim.

When it came time for my education to continue or stop, she took a stand on my behalf and on I went: high school, college and even graduate school. I became only the third on either side of the family to go to college, the first girl and the only girl until her granddaughter graduated from WSU four years ago.

My mother broke the cycle proving that it is not necessary for parents to make the same mistakes as their parents. She admits to making new ones, but none could have been too bad, for she raised two adults who are happy, productive members of our society and who know that with their rights come responsibilities.

Mother did not have an easy life. We never had much money, but we always had much love, support and guidance. In spite of the years of physical pain and poor health she has endured, she has never lost her interest in life, in people, and in government. Throughout all she has remained keen of mind and has never lost her patience or her sense of humor.

She is for me a true heroine, one we would do well to duplicate.

September 18, 1998