CATEGORY: Tupelo Stories
LISTENING TO MAMA
ADVICE STILL RINGS TRUE FOR MANY
By Eileen Bailey
Myrtle Ivy, 78, always tried to set at good example for her 15 children.
Tommie Lee Ivy of Shannon said his mother, who lives in Lee County, always gave him good advice, but the one thing she told him always to remember was “to trust in God with all your heart and might.”
Ivy, who takes his mother to lunch every Mother’s Day, said she also advised him to stay out of trouble, get an education and work hard for a living.
Ivy, Lee County’s District 4 supervisor, is just one of many Northeast Mississippi residents who will recall advice, happy times and memories of their mothers today.
Dr. Robert Khayat, chancellor of the University of Mississippi, said his mother, Eva Pates Khayat, 83, of Moss Point told him to “always tell the truth and treat everyone with respect.”
“I’ve tried to always follow that advice,” he said. Khayat said his mother is still a wonderful, beautiful and loving mother who follows her own advice.
Mississippi State University President Dr. Donald Zacharias said his mother gave him several bits of advice during her lifetime. “Early advice included everything from taking a daily bath to not wearing socks with holes in them because I might get sick and embarrass the family when I went to the doctor,” he said.
The best advice was that he should “always do my homework, obey my teachers, be loyal to my friends, and count on the love from my family to carry me through the rough times.” Zacharias said he has always tried to follow the advice from his mother, the late Estelle Newlon Zacharias.
Frances Reed of Tupelo teared as she talked about her mother, the late Catherine Purvis. Reed, wife of Tupelo businessman Jack Reed Sr., said her mother, who was from Corinth, gave her several different bits of advice.
“My mother and I were very close. She never criticized me. She always told me, I’m proud of you and to always do the best you can do in any situation,'” Reed said. But with a slight laugh Reed said her mother also understood her personality. “She told me, Frances, you must learn to be patient and tolerant of others that don’t hold the same views as you do,'” Reed said.
“She led mostly by example, especially through her work with the church and with music,” Reed said of her mother, who died eight years ago.
Family and fellow man
Lee County Sheriff Harold Ray Presley said his mother, Mary Christine Roberts, 81, “always told me to treat your fellow man like you would like to be treated.”
“I try to follow that advice, and I believe it really works,” Presley said.
Zell Long, development officer for the City of Tupelo, said her mother gave her and her 14 siblings much advice, but there are two pieces she remembers most. First, Gillie Jones of DeSoto County, who has been dead 20 years, would tell Long and her siblings to always love each other. “Your family is the most important thing. When no one else is there, your family should be there,” Long said.
Long, who has eight children of her own, said her family follows that advice. In 1979, Long’s home burned. She said her brothers and sisters, remembering their mother’s advice, bought Long a washer and dryer to help her keep up with the laundry for her children.
Mississippi Rep. Eloise Scott, D-Tupelo, said her mother “was more of a role model than someone who preached.”
But there were some bits of advice that Scott’s mother, the late Willie Beasley Hale, who passed away seven years ago, gave her that she tries to use each day. One is, “Anticipate the good things just around the corner.” Another is, “The hardest things in life are to decide which bridges to cross or which bridges to burn.”
“I try to have a positive attitude in the things I do,” Scott said.
Dr. Bill Kahlstorf, an ob-gyn in Tupelo, said one of the pieces of advice his mother gave him came when he was a child. His mother, Frances Gowdy, who was from Greenwood and now lives in Tupelo, was his Sunday school teacher when he was a child. She was giving his class a lesson when she said to always “let Jesus come into your heart.”
Kahlstorf said his mother also gave him lots of encouragement. During the seventh grade, he said he made the highest grade in the class one day. Kahlstorf said he went home and asked his mother if she thought he could be a doctor. “She told me, You can be if you work hard enough for it,'” he said. From that point on, he said, he always knew he could do it because of his mother’s words.