A PNT Readers' Theater presentation
When we were growing up in Philadelphia in the 1950s there was a very popular TV show, "Mama", that we never missed. Perhaps because our own mother had died and we instinctively reached out for any story about a family. It was also funny and we identified with the kids.
It took place in San Francisco around 1910. The Hansons were simple, honest, hard working, people, who had to count pennies. "Yes, we can send Nels to high school!" It was based on a book, "Mama's Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes, and had been a very popular Broadway play by Van Druten and an Oscar nominated film starring Irene Dunne.
But the link with today is its portrayal of every mother's innate dedication to guiding and sustaining her family, no matter the cost. Papa's problems, her children's problems, were her problems. And even her respect for law and order and society's rules could give way to a higher law - the right thing for her family. Children are taught self worth as well as obedience. Sitting at a table reading "Treasure Island" with the family can keep a boy off the streets. A too expensive graduation present can teach about selfishness. That grumbling uncle everyone fears can become a friend indeed.
In America we are all immigrants. We all came from somewhere else, even from across the Alaska peninsula. We came because we had to, or wanted to find a new home. All we ask is to be allowed to work, to raise our families, to enjoy life, to worship our God, or not. Our ancestors' families invariably suffered greatly and sacrificed much to set us on our path. And the mothers led those families, no matter what the papas might say. Happy Mothers' Day, for we all had mothers.
By Lance Davis