Obituary of Doretta Gardner
My mother, Doretta Sayles Gardner, was an excellent example for her children. She was a homemaker who took pride in her home and in the care of her children. I remember my dad saying, "Mind your mother" in a way that showed his confidence in her care for us.
Our dad worked in a factory and didn’t make a lot of money, but he bought a nice upright piano for her. I think it was as much for him as it was for her because he would sit back and relax when she played after he came home from work. She also played her classic piano pieces when we took our naps. I had to laugh when my younger brother, Raymond, told me he though everybody’s mother played the piano.
Mom had other skills as well. She learned secretarial skills and taught shorthand during a time she spent in New York before she was married. At home with us, she practiced her shorthand every day and taught me the basics She was a great typist and showed me the method she learned. Those skills came in handy when I was able to get good summer jobs to pay tuition at teacher's college.
I went to a very good teacher's college that is now Salem University. When I started teaching, my mother's "do unto others" example became a good addition to the skills I learned at Salem. I tried to teach those social skills to my students. One day, I had to smile when a lunchroom worker praised the calm behavior of my class saying in the lunchroom, they were like an island in the middle of ocean waves. I was very touched and understood how fortunate I was to have my mother as my teacher and example. Later, in a telephone chat with Mom I told her how happy I was with my job. " I know, Dolores," she said. That meant that she was giving me her approval. That meant a lot to me and still does.