Tuesday, January 24, 2017

My mother, Charlotte Maureen Padgett, nee Boon

Charlotte Maureen Boon at 17
She was named after her mother, so she always went by her middle name -- Maureen

Born February 9, 1930 in Grand Rapids Mich.
Died December 21, 2013 at the Mandrin House,
3675 Solomons Island Road. Harwood, MD 20776

Maureen Padgett as a child
Maureen had a wonderful relationship with her father and her eyes would always light up when she talked about him. Her relationship with her mother was cold and difficult. Maureen always felt that her mom favored her brothers. Maureen always wanted to go to college but her parents refused to help, repeating a common belief at the time; that girls don’t need to go to college because they get married. 
Maureen Boon at 16

They lived at 840 Ogden Ave, Benton Harbor MI 49022

Maureen’s difficult relationship with her mother only grew worse as she got older. Her older sister Joyce had the same problems with their mother and had moved to Washington DC to live with her spinster aunt named Eva. At the age of 16 Maureen had enough and asked to leave Benton Harbor and move in with Aunt Eva. It wasn’t till she arrived in DC and moved in with Aunt Eva that she found out that Eva treated them as maids/slaves and the aunt meted out various physical punishments to them. Joyce left as soon as she was able. Maureen stayed till she could finish school -- McKinley Technology High School, Class of 1948.

Joyce and Maureen
Joyce and Maureen

It was Joyce who finally rescued her from Aunt Eva after witnessing one particularly abusive incident. She helped Maureen get a job as a technician at the Bureau of Standards and they shared an apartment in Suitland Maryland

During this period Maureen was “adopted” by a large Irish family and often ate Sunday dinner with them. She loved one of the sons, but he was not interested in a relationship with her. She met Jim Padgett while playing baseball with friends. They were married soon after. Jim was in the Navy and planned to make it his career.

Maureen and Jim Padgett on their wedding day

Married James Andrew Padgett -- January 7, 1950
James Andrew Padgett
Born Dec 23 1928 in Saginaw MI
Died February 5 1995 in Pensacola FL

Maureen, Jim, Michael, Kenneth

Two children:
Michael James Padgett
Kenneth William Padgett

Lived in:
San Francisco
Virginia Beach, VA
Jacksonville, FL
Long Beach, CA

James decided shortly after he was married that it was a mistake but he didn't want to be the one to back out. Instead he did everything he could to drive Maureen away. He went out all the time with his pals and left her at home. He drank a lot. He was verbally abusive. Jim moved to California while they were living in VA and he didn't even leave her an allotment from his Navy pay. Maureen had no money but she scraped together enough to get to San Francisco, CA. Jim wasn't happy about her showing up there but he managed to impregnate her with what would be his first son, Michael. He ships out on an extended cruise without telling her or leaving her an allotment. Michael is born at the Naval Hospital, Oakland, CA on May 17, 1951.

Maureen tried to tough it out in San Francisco, but eventually returned to Benton Harbor and moved in with her parents. She met up with Jim again when he was visiting his parents in Holland, MI. One thing led to another and he managed to impregnate her once again. She follows him to Long Beach and 9 months later Ken is born. He ships out again.

Michael and Kenneth in Florida

Later they set up housekeeping in Jacksonville Florida but the pressures of being a married man began to wear on Jim and he went back to the same old drinking and whoring that he was used to doing with his Navy buddies. Jim's drinking got worse and he began to be physically abusive to Maureen and the children. After one particularly unpleasant incident, Maureen finally had enough and took the kids back to Benton Harbor. From there she moved back to DC and in with her sister Joyce for a week before getting an apartment of her own and a job as an editor at the U.S. Census Bureau, Publications Planning, in Maryland.

Maureen and Jim got a divorce. Jim was ordered to pay child support but he never paid it until Maureen had it taken out of his pay. Jim never saw his children again.

Maureen, Michael and Ken lived in a one bedroom apartment across from the Census Bureau. Maureen slept on the couch in the living room for 10 years until she was able to afford the extra $10 a month for a two-bedroom. In 1972, Maureen's parents sold their house in Michigan and helped her buy her first home. They moved in with her and she took care of them until their deaths.  

Maureen Padgett and Eugene Wendt
Maureen’s long-time boyfriend/companion was Eugene Wendt. They met at the Census Bureau and began dating in about 1963. They were engaged and came close to getting married a few times but never went through with it. Gene lived with her for several years and Maureen took care of him when he became ill and senile, until he had to be moved to a care facility. Maureen continued to manage his affairs until he died in June 2013.

Maureen was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus in 2012
She underwent radiation and chemo during Oct – Dec 2012
She had surgery to remove her esophagus in March 2013
Maureen Padgett died: Dec 2013

Maureen endured some very difficult radiation and chemotherapy like a champ, but it didn’t work. I advised against getting the surgery but she felt like she had no choice. Maureen’s life after the cancer surgery was a living hell. She always had nausea and vomiting as well as diarrhea. She lost a lot of weight and was just wasting away while waiting to die. She prayed to God every day to take her. Finally, after much more suffering, God did take her.

Maureen was a respected member of her community who donated time and money to many worthy causes. She was a good friend and confidante to many. She belonged to several clubs; genealogy, computer, women’s auxiliary of Knights of Columbus, etc. She helped out at her church by counting donations on Sundays.

Maureen was survived by:


Royce William Boon II
Arlington, TX

David Lee Boon
Benton Harbor, MI

Maureen, Royce and David Boon 


Michael James Padgett
Edgewood, MD

Kenneth William Padgett
San Diego, CA

 Kenneth, Maureen, Michael


via Michael
Christian Mithander nee Padgett
Born: December 23, 1970

Maureen and Christian Mithander nee Padgett

via Ken

Kelly and Maureen Padgett

No biography would be complete without revealing some difficult truths. Many people found Maureen to be quite charming, but I can only speak from my experience as one of her sons.

She had a lot of love to give but she didn't know how to show it. As a mother, she tried her best, but she never bonded with her babies. She was strict, negative and cold. I don’t remember her hugging me or telling me she loved me till much later in life. Likewise as a child I don’t remember much praise from her. She would always point to some flaw. It was only in her later years that she told me that she was proud of what I have accomplished without also undercutting it in some way.

She was always a cynic. She always looked at the dark side. To Maureen, the glass was always half-empty. She could never overcome her natural tendency to be selfish and self-centered. She was always on her guard against trespass. She always fought hard for what she thought was hers and was always suspicious of the motives of others. She could never speak of anyone without tossing in a negative or two. It was just her way of relating to the world.

Though I’m sure she had many good times, and I can certainly remember sharing some with her, she was a very unhappy person. She felt short-changed by life and was bitter about it. Her dream of a happy marriage went down the drain and she had to fend for herself with two small children. She took good care of her family; providing food and shelter, clean clothes etc, as well as parental supervision. Indeed, Maureen provided all the elements of good parenting except for warmth and affection. The problems she had with her children over the years all stemmed from her emotional detachment as a mother and her negative outlook on life.

Despite all the negatives, I loved my mother and always tried to be a good son. There are many things she didn't tell me about her relationship with my father until she knew she was dying. She should have left Jim when it became crystal clear that he wanted out of their marriage. Instead, she stood by and did nothing during the period when his drinking was out of control and he was acting out by abusing his wife and children.

One time he came home drunk and mad about something. His voice was so loud and threatening that he scared the baby that was playing on the floor and caused him to start crying. He responded by kicking the baby across the room like it was a football. That baby was me.

The incident that finally caused Maureen to leave him was when he -- drunk and belligerent again -- slapped me across the face so hard that my head bounced off the wall behind me. I was only four years old at the time. I know my mom felt a lot of guilt over her failure to leave him sooner and I wonder what she thought when later in life I started having chronic migraines. Could it have been caused by the abuse I suffered from my father? We'll never know, but those migraines have continued throughout my adult life.

Ken and Maureen Padgett 

It's been just over 3 years since she passed away and in that time I've been able to sort out my feelings about her. My mother had her faults and she made her share of mistakes, but she always loved me, even though she didn't always show it. It wasn't always easy for me to love her in return, but now that I know a lot more about what she went through, it's much easier for me to understand her and why she acted the way she did. I miss her.

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