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Reason No. 659 Why to Love Perfect Strangers: Listening to Mom and Changing the World of a Young Girl
The New York Times today reported on a story that makes you want to go up and down the sidewalks, shaking people's hands saying "Thank you. Thank you very much for being human." (One day, I am going to try this and see how it turns out.) Because no matter what we think about ourselves, there are people out there who change the entire futures of others.
Mariah Stackhouse, the only African-American qualifier in this week's U.S. Women's Open, started out her career as a middle-class youngster in Atlanta—which meant that she couldn't practice on the kind of expert, varied terrain that she needed to experience in order to improve. Enter 72-year-old Ralph Boston. Boston was a three-time Olympian in the long jump back in the '60s—when country club membership required not just money but also white skin.
"When I met Mariah, there was a lady running through my mind—my mother, Eulalia," says Boston. "She'd always tell me, 'Whenever you can open a door, you do it.' So basically I had to help Mariah, because people helped me."
So he enrolled Stackhouse as his "granddaughter" at the Canongate chain of private courses. From there, Stackhouse made a name for herself, earning her own club membership and entrance into Stanford University.
Which just goes to show you: Your mom may still nag you about wearing slippers in the winter. Your mom may fill up your voice mail, worried about buying Christmas pageant tickets in the merry month of April. But when it comes to the big stuff—changing the world, giving not just when it's convenient but when it costs you—moms are the world champions.
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