LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) -- My mom was always the teacher, whether she was in the classroom or in the kitchen making one of her famous pound cakes.
I always was learning from her.
Even with her failing eyesight, because of macular degeneration, she has an eagle eye spotting my bad form on cracking eggs and on catching me wasting anything.
Frugality, a sign of my mother's generation. She was born 86 years ago, in 1931, during the Great Depression in a small town in West Virginia.
My mom’s upbringing started with humble beginnings and a four-room house. She did have a family who loved her and believed in her.
Rachel Inez Hughes, one of four girls. She was small in stature but big in spirit.
She said when you’re small, you have to take up for yourself. And she was third in line, behind what she calls two perfect older sisters, she had to make herself known.
Often called “Cannonball,” I'd say it worked.
My mom and her sisters all shared a bedroom. They were sent to Virginia in the summer to work the family farm.
Her father sold hardware and mine equipment in the hollers of West Virginia, often by horseback. Her mother made their clothes and was involved in the community.
Both parents working hard to give their girls what they valued most, education.
They told their girls education was the best insurance a woman could have, you could get married anytime.
All four sisters attended Longwood College. My mom returned to West Virginia to teach.
She was just 21-years-old when she taught her first class at Herndon High School, looking more like a student than a teacher.
That love of teaching would be put on hold, when her greatest love came along, actually, someone always in her midst in Mullens--my father.
They were high school sweethearts. My mom was the cheerleader and my dad was the jock. They tied the knot, and soon a new life began.
My dad was a pilot. The Air Force would take him around the world, into scary places twice in the Vietnam War and often away from us.
My mom's tour of duty, raising four children in about a dozen different homes and new places. She was a single mother much of the time.
My sister Pam, my family historian, always remembering how she kept it together, there was no waiting until Dad came home, mom ran the show.
Her philosophy, you do the best you can and continue.
Pam saying the lesson in life, you get on with things.
She took that stoicism back into the classroom when our youngest sister got a little older and mom began to teach again. She taught elementary school for 24 years.
She was firm but fair, a disciplinarian but never mean. Her students were always writing words of praise and giving gifts of thanks for Mrs. Platt, a life changer.
She changed their lives and ours.
Her biggest lessons, always the simplest: be kind, and make the world a better place. And making the world a better place always seems possible with my mom around, with her encouragement.
My sister Pam summed it up so well.
I will never be able to duplicate my mom's pound cake, I am nowhere near the cook she is.
I may not measure up in the kitchen but I sure hope I do in life. I learned from the best, my mom, my teacher--the constant steady hand in my life.
At five feet tall she's the person I've always looked up to.
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