My mother, Margaret Lyon Morgan, was the daughter of an evangelist and the wife of a minister. She didn’t have a chance to realize her dream of becoming an actress. In those days, women, especially those married to a pastor, were expected to stay home and manage it. She raised five of us, and at least for my two brothers and two sisters, all rather well if one can measure the results of their lives and impacts in the world by how much they helped change it for the better. She died too young at the age of sixty-six and sadly in a long and tough process.
My father, being the public performer, always seemed to me to be the role model, yet as I have gotten older I have realized just how deeply my mother had an impact on me in ways I only now realize. For example, while not an actress on the stage, she gave dramatic readings to church and civic groups and would memorize poems and repeat them to me. I especially remember traveling with her by train from Philadelphia to Denver, where she would entertain me with her stories of the bald headed many and the fly and others.
I think her love of story telling impacted me in a number of ways–from writing stories myself to telling them, whether in speeches or teaching. And her recitation of poetry took root somewhere in me because not only have I written poetry but learned to love it. I still can recite a number of poems by heart, just as she did.
She may not have made it to Broadway, but in ways I am still discovering her impact on my life was great, and for these gifts of poetry and story telling I am grateful. And because she was a gentle soul, I have no memories of her ever being harsh with me, and that is truly a mother’s gift. In this world, kindness is really an important quality. I never had the chance to thank her. So, today, on Mother’s Day, thank you, mother, for your gift of life to me.
Margaret Lyon and John Morgan, Philadelphia, Pa.