Zona Mauldin, a Woman to be    

   by Lisa Mauldin Hughey

There are many great people in the world: Presidents, world leaders, scientists, and doctors. However, sometimes the ones who live simple lives are the ones that affect our lives the most. Zona Mauldin was one of those people. She was my grandmother. A timid woman who never spoke up, she managed not only to touch me, and my family, but the community in which she lived.

She was an amazing woman. Zona moved to Dalton from Canton, Georgia, in 1939. Her husband had left her and refused to pay child support. She bought a 50' x 100' lot for fifty dollars and built a house, starting with only two rooms. As she could afford it, she added on, until the house had four rooms and a bathroom. She would make popcorn balls at Halloween and have every child in the neighborhood at her door. She would sew clothes for families in need. Once, when I told her of a girl in my class who did not have a book bag, she made one for her. She never lost her faith in God throughout her many hardships. She paid her tithes every Sunday. She also sent her favorite T.V. minister money every month; this was in the 1970's before the first hint of scandal.

Zona was an amazing mother. She took in sewing, washing, and ironing so that she could stay at home. One year for Christmas when my father to church and taught him about God’s love. She instilled into him the principles of hard work and respect. She taught him all this, not with words, but by example.

She was an amazing grandmother. My childhood was filled with grilled cheese sandwiches and milkshakes, homemade Halloween costumes every year, and cuddling spoon-fashion under a mountain of blankets listening to my grandmother tell stories. On my first birthday, my brother cried because it was not his birthday. It made my grandmother so sad that from that year on, both of us received gifts every birthday. I loved to spend Friday nights with her. We would first walk into town, then go shopping at Lay’s Five and Dime, then go to the Chat and Chew for dessert. On nights that she could afford it, we would get to ride home in a taxi. Christmas was extra special because Grandmother would come and spend the night at our house. Each year she would make my father, brother, and me matching pajamas. We could not wait to open them up on Christmas Eve and put them on. My favorite had Charlie Brown and Snoopy all over them.

When Grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the doctors did not know much about it. As we watched her slowly decline, we felt as if an era was over. Nothing could ever replace the time spent with Grandmother. She was beyond special in how she lived and loved. She touched so many people’s lives. Without knowing or trying, she was truly a woman to admire.

"Zona Mauldin, A Woman to be Admired" is an essay written by Lisa Mauldin Hughey in Dr. Marsha Mathews’ ENGL 1101 class in spring 2005 semester. At the time of this writing, Ms. Hughey was a freshman majoring in Early Childhood Education.

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