Sunday, May 13, 2018

I always love my mama

Ann Jarvis was a Sunday school teacher in Taylor County, West Virginia in the late 19th century. One particular Sunday, Ann closed her lesson with a prayer, offering: "I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mothers day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it." Ann's daughter, Anna, found great inspiration from her mother's words and devoted her life to her mother's honor and sentiment.

After college, Anna briefly joined her beloved mother in the church, working as a teacher, but soon she pursued an opportunity that brought her to Philadelphia. Anna found success as the first female literary and advertising editor at the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company. Later, she became a shareholder in the Quaker City Cab Company, her brother's business. Although she was over three hundred miles away, Anna remained close with her dear mother, corresponding regularly by mail. When Anna's father passed away, Anna convinced her mother to move to Philadelphia and she did so reluctantly. However, Ann Jarvis's health was in a steady decline, forcing Anna to devote the majority of her time to taking care of her ailing mother. Ann Jarvis died on May 9, 1905 at the age of 71. Anna was heartbroken.

Three years after her mother's death, Anna arranged for a memorial service at her mother's church in West Virginia. Anna could not attend, though she ordered five hundred white carnations to be distributed to all in attendance. Anna, herself, spoke at a simultaneous ceremony held in the auditorium at the John Wanamaker Department store in Philadelphia. Anna's heartfelt words brought the crowd to tears. The day — May 10 — was designated as the first official Mother's Day. On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a congressional resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day. Anna was extremely protective of the holiday and took its celebration personally.

Save it, you ungrateful jerk.
In subsequent years, Anna fought tirelessly and viciously against the apparent commercialization of Mother's Day. She brazenly expressed her disgust with the floral, confection and greeting card industries. She publicly railed against making sentimentality a commodity, announcing: "A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother — and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment." Anna staged protests against the celebration of Mother's Day. In 1943, she organized a petition to officially rescind Mother's Day. However, her efforts came to an end when she was mysteriously placed in a sanitarium in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Executives from within the flower and greeting card industries paid the bills to keep her institutionalized. Anna Jarvis died on November 24, 1948. She never married nor did she have any children.

Now, call your mother and tell her you love her.

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