Writer Robert Brault said, “If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been.”
That adage would certainly be true for the children of Lottie D Jones, a God-fearing, faithful mother.
Lottie recently died and left a big hole in the heart of her husband, Bennie, and their five children: Geraldine, Mamie, Elaine, Bennie Jr. and Darlene. They all adored her.
The best memories they have of her are her sayings, which the family called “Lottie-isms.” She would say things like, “Bricks will come your way through your life. Step over them one at a time so they won’t become a brick wall.”
Lottie was born in Pickensville, Alabama, and finished high school there. After Bennie served in the Navy during World War II, he returned to his hometown, where Lottie was. They dated and fell in love.
They eventually ended up in Omaha, where Bennie could find work when jobs were hard to find. Right after they married at the courthouse in Council Bluffs, Bennie went straight to work. He was determined to keep his job. When some new brides may have been upset and complained, Lottie thought, “Make yourself an asset, not a liability.” That is just the way she was.
Lottie started as a young girl reading the Bible. And even though Bennie worked two labor jobs, they were both active in church, and it was a very important part of their lives. According to Lottie, “God knows who and what to put together; we just need to live it. Don’t question yourself when you do it His way.”
Their daughter, Elaine Adams, said, “We kids were average, less-than-perfect people who challenged their parents, but Mom and Dad were always on the same page. They worked as a team. We had an authentic sense of right and wrong. Mom would say to ‘stop worrying God and me to death with your complaining.’ ”
Her family said Lottie was quiet in a group and not judgmental of people, but she was no-nonsense in terms of behaviors and influences. It was so important to her that her children checked their morals and lived honestly. The children knew they were loved by their parents and basically tried to please them. They all grew up to be successful and decent human beings, a blessing to their community.
But the “Lottie-isms” did not stop with the children. The grandchildren were born, and Lottie and Bennie had a big influence over their lives. Although Lottie had worked part time outside her home over the years, when the grandbabies came, she would not hear of them going to a day care and devoted herself to full-time care of them.
Bennie and Lottie were married 67 years before she died. If you ask the children and grandchildren what they learned from their parents and grandparents, they tell you:
It’s about leading by precept and example, putting God first. It’s about absolute, unconditional and, at the same time, tough love. It’s about perseverance, pinching pennies and supporting each other. It’s about being warm, having fun with your kids and being accepting and forgiving, while holding all to high standards and expectations.
As their grandchildren marry — Perrin Adams is the most recent, married to Diamon Stewart — many of the “Lottie-isms” and “Bennie-isms” will be taught to the next generation, which is a good thing!
As Perrin said, “I miss grandmamma. She grounded all of us!”