Mary L. Foster

Honored by:Jana L. Jopson
Brick location:C:7  map

My mother, Mary Lucy Foster, was born on a farm in Arnoldsville, Georgia, February 23, 1916. Her family moved to south Florida when she was nine years old and she would live there for the next 63 years. Physical and mental frailties required her to move closer to her children, and ironically back to Georgia to Decatur where she had first attended elementary school.

She graduated from Miami Senior High School, June 8, 1934. Financially unable to pursue a teaching degree in home economics, she entered the world of work as a waitress at Child's restaurant on Flagler Street. Later as a new bride (Mrs. W. D. Jopson June 28th, 1942 Plymouth Congregational Church, Coconut Grove, Florida) she kept the ship's log on the schooner she and my father called home (The Lottie & Annie). During the war, she worked for the Coast Guard, identifying planes from rooftops, binoculars skyward. In 1945 her first baby, named after her father, died when he was two days old. She planted crepe myrtle on his grave. My parents adopted a little girl, my sister, and six years later, Mom gave birth to a baby girl, me. Four years later at age 40, she gave birth to my brother, and that was our family. She was a stay-at-home mom and often said that being a mother was her greatest joy in life. Her occupation she said was homemaker, not housewife.

My mother loved romantic music, dancing, trees, and sea shells. Through example, she taught me the priceless value of close friendships with women and an abiding joy of reading. She was my best correspondent, a good writer, and sent interesting clippings with her letters in envelopes always decorated with a pretty cutout or two. During my early adult life I spent a lot of time striving to not be like her. After she died I came to appreciate and embrace all the ways I am like her, the charming as well as the eccentric.

My mother always said she wanted to be cremated and she was firm about not wanting a memorial service or any marker at her grave. When she died here in Georgia, after a hard year in a nursing home, she was cremated and my sister and I buried her ashes at the family home of her favorite cousins out in the country near Athens, Georgia. One cousin dug the hole in the earth. The other read the 23rd Psalm. We all held hands and said the Lord's Prayer. All of her dearest friends and long-time acquaintances were in South Florida and none could afford to come for a service anyway. I wanted to honor her wishes and did but as time went on after we'd poured her ashes into the earth and arranged some of her most beautiful shells on top I longed for a way to honor her and acknowledge her passing (December 12, 1992). When I learned about the Plaza of Heroines my heart leaped up - "way was opened" as the Quakers say. 

Ours was a deep and at times turbulent bond. I longed to know her and be known by her in a way I never did, or was in this life. We had good times, we comforted one another, we shared a sense of humor, and a Piscean nature. I am not done getting to know her. There are few times in our life when our name is called aloud and honor bestowed. I want her to know I've called her name through The Plaza of Heroines.  It may seem odd for her to be here as she was probably never in Iowa in her life, did not attend the University, and was not a college graduate or famous person.  But I hope anyone reading this will understand why she’s here and how much it means to me to be able to honor her.

I found this among my mother's things after she died. She was forty-eight and a half when she wrote it in 1964.

What I Am And Have Now

Fair to good physical health and not every day good mental health.

Belief in God, Jesus and his teachings, the inner goodness in the majority of humans.

Faith in and pride of the U. S. A.

Appreciation of any decent kind and unselfish people all over the world regardless of their race color or religion.

Love for all children everywhere and most people.

Keen enjoyment of music, art, dancing, swimming, cooking, sewing, reading, and handcrafts.

Memories of many wonderful inspiring persons I have met in my life who have enriched and broadened it.

Have the love of my three healthy happy children.

Have the security of a kind patient intelligent sweet successful husband. Have four real friends.

Have a Dad who has never failed me in any way and loves me for myself.

Have several good neighbors.

Have an inquiring mind with an endless thirst to learn new things.

Have many times known the joy of giving myself with love to others.

Have a sense of humor which snaps back after "low" times pass.


Submitted 8/3/95; updated 12/27/2013