Happy Birthday, Mama

Thomas Eugene Herlong family

Today is the birthday of the finest woman I have ever known – my Mom – Mildred Lucille Herlong McHenry (yes – a mouthful – and yes – for whom I was named).  She is also known as “Millie” to much of South Mississippi, especially folks in Stone County and the “Big Wigg”.  My Uncle Jack (McHenry) was already married to Mildred Batson McHenry when Mom arrived on the scene so she adapted. She is Mama to Ivery, Judy and me, Na-nah to Emily and Jordan, Ne-nah to Chris and Anna, and Mildred to my Daddy (he did not “adapt”).

Grandmom, Agnes, Mama as an infant

The middle daughter of Thomas Eugene and Lottie Elma Thedford Herlong, Mama grew up in Claiborne County in the community of Pattison outside of Port Gibson. She rode horses with her Daddy, learned to cook with her Mom, and from all accounts, loved life – still does.  After graduating from Port Gibson High School, she came to Jackson to the Gilfoy School of Nursing at “The Baptist”.  While in nursing school, she attended First Baptist Church. Guess this nut did not fall far from that tree!

Nurse Mom!

After nursing school, she worked at Mississippi State Hospital, where she met my Dad (honestly). They married in Jackson at Central Presbyterian Church (now home to “Stewpot”) and celebrated their reception at the “Robert E Lee Hotel” (now a state office building).

August 31, 1952

After their wedding, they moved to New Orleans where she scrubbed for “The Dr. Ochsner” at “Foundation” while Dad completed med school at Tulane University. There are many stories of living in New Orleans, buying tickets to watch Ole Miss play in old Tulane Stadium in the Sugar Bowl, riding the streetcar – lots of things.

They moved to Macon, Georgia after Daddy finished medical school. I was born there just in time for them to return to Wiggins where they lived until 2001 before moving to Madison to be closer to all of us.

Mama and Me

Mama is a 80 years young today. She still loves her flower beds and watching the birds. Can can still give my Daddy (and us) “the look”. She reads, feeds us, loves us, and rises to any and every occasion to help a friend.

I love you Mama – happy birthday.