By: Kate Teves Archivist of the Delray Beach Historical Society Special to the Delray Newspaper
More often than not, history books depict mothers as either “strong and fearless” or “weak and nervous.” They are either “selfless” or they are “selfish,” “loving” or “lacking.” Rarely are they individuals with any kind of complexity. That is reserved for men.
It would have been a luxury in early Delray for a woman to fit into one of these flat categories. But most people were more than just one thing at once. If a woman wanted to eat, she had to work the fields, and if she wanted lace, she had to make it. If she wanted a road, she had to build it, and if she wanted a pie, she had to bake it. At one moment she raved about her little community, and at another she cursed it.
In short, Delray’s early history is full of mish-mashed mothers who were never one-dimensional.
Our archive of Delray’s first-person accounts reveal complex women who can sometimes infuriate you with their contradictions. At the Delray Beach Historical Society, we try to remind our visitors of the rich complexity of the past, and hopefully, in turn, of the present. Maybe it’s ok to have an identity that doesn’t totally fit together, or to be a mom who is a little bit of this and a little bit of that. To all the moms out there—the older moms, the younger moms, the adoptive moms, and the foster moms—we wish you all a very happy Mish-Mash Day.
Delray Beach Historical Society is located at 3 NE 1st Street. History Exhibits & Museum Tours open Thursday-Saturday, 11a.m.-3 p.m. 561-274-9578. www.delraybeachhistory.org