Carmen V. Ogle

Honored by:Maureen Ogle
Brick location:B:10  map

My mother, Carmen Ogle, grew up in southern Iowa in the desperate poverty of the Great Depression, raised by a widowed mother. During WWII, she served in the WAVES. Like many other young Americans, she married immediately after the war and like millions of other women, she worked hard every single day to take care of a family of six, often after working an eight-hour job outside the home. I wish I had realized then that she never sat down until very late in the evening and then usually only for a few minutes because inevitably someone - son, daughter or husband - would demand that she get up and do yet one more job. I doubt it ever occurred to her to say no since a woman's job was to take care of the family regardless of how demanding or selfish that family was.

My mother, like many other women, is also remarkable for the way she endured a brutal, apparently loveless and certainly violent marriage. My father told her that if she tried to leave, the law would allow him to take the children and she would never see them again. She had no place to turn since her own mother was already dead and she had only one other living relative, a sister who had her own large family. She believed what my father had said and so she stayed on for twenty years until the death of her oldest child, my brother, finally destroyed what little there was of our family. I will always wonder why she did not leave since our family life was hell, pure and simple, but I will always admire the quiet way she endured the violence, pain and grief. Apparently she thought her children were worth suffering for and that in the end is what heroic behavior is made of.