It was 1952 and I know that for my mom's family it was not the best of times. My mom was the third child born to a 19 year old wife and mother. (I know.) My mom's father was ... not the best. Fortunately for my mom and her siblings, her grandparents were supportive and active participants in their lives.
Most of her early years were spent in poverty and moving around from house to house, sometimes state to state, following jobs. (It totally sounds like Grapes of Wrath, doesn't it?) Her mom was at home with the children (six of them by 1962), while her dad was out playing in bands and doing odd jobs.
My mom's world turned upside down in 1966 when her mother succumbed to a four-year battle with cancer. The children were split up: The youngest going with her father and the rest living with her grandparents. Four years later, she was a single mother with few options. Somehow she kept afloat and gave my brother the best life she could. Fortunately, she and my dad found each other. He was a recent divorcee with two sons. Just a short time after they met, they married, and I was born 9 months later.
I love my mom. She's one of the most amazing people I know. She had a terrible life, yet she managed to grow into a responsible human being and an awesome mother. She was always the rule of law in our house. She governed with kindness and common sense. To this day, her 32 year old daughter, her 37 year old son, and her 43 and 44 year old step-sons call her for counsel. I call her every day. (I'm not sure how she feels about that.)
Happy birthday, mama! I hope it's a very special year for you.