• Mary Jo Dyre

Getting to Know Daisy Dyre

Years after her death, my relationship with my mother, Daisy Dyre, continues to grow and become. As I reach different milestones in my life, I look back and better understand this incredible woman as she had reached similar points in her life. It was only after my nest became empty that I fully understood what that transition must have been like for my own mother.

For those of us who are mothers, we get that motherhood simply does not come with a manual. If you wasted your money and bought the latest best seller on how to raise kids, please accept that its pages of wisdom will more than likely fall short of what is truly required for the job. It is only as I have slowly found nuggets of true knowledge over the years that I can begin to fathom the mother lode that was Daisy Dyre.

Daisy was thirteen and enrolled in a Catholic boarding school in Brazil at the time of her mother’s death. Our maternal grandmother was a lady. In the picture we all treasure of this grand dame, she is dressed in silk with fur trim. My grandfather came to the school in a carriage to break the devastating news to young Daisy and her brother Amos. I can only imagine the long ride back home and the thoughts that must have filled my mama’s head. In many ways my mother stepped into motherhood to a family of six siblings as she made the long trip back home that particular day.

The next years would include my grandfather taking his seven children back to his homeland in Arizona. What must it have like for my mother to take on the challenge of a long journey by ship as she cared for her younger siblings? In Arizona, my mother met her grandmother Mary Murray Chenowth for the first time. Little did my mother know that this gun-toting, pioneer woman, who must have stood out in stark contrast to her elegant mother, would instill in her a strength and determination, along with practical life skills that would grow Daisy into the complex, interesting, educated and caring woman that she became.

I am blessed with good friends and family, a support group always there for me. Again, it is only as I have grown into fully realization of what it means to have this team that is always on my side, have I taken in the friendships that must have also carried my mother through many a challenge as she made a move to Mississippi, yes, another land that must have seemed almost like a foreign country to her as she had transitioned from Brazil and Arizona.

Joy Stroud was indeed one of the friends in my mother’s entourage of support. They shared plants from their gardens, exchanged recipes, put up with overnight company without a bat of the eye and took us to every school and church function that was held in the county. They also managed and enjoyed two characters named Arnold and Bob. If I close my eyes, and think back momentarily to the trips to Panama City that my family took with the Stroud family, I can see these two women walking on the beach in the late evening, talking and laughing as two best friends are known to do. These two paved the path to my long-standing friendship with Sandra Stroud Howell. Although the years and miles have separated Sandra and me to some degree, I still know that I can reach out and always find this friend of many years.

My mother passed away in 1990. Mrs. Joy’s children visit her faithfully as the lives out her days with Alzheimer’s. For some reason, I am convinced that many of the memories that surface in Mrs. Joy’s mind just have to include her years of friendship-moments with Daisy Dyre. Happy Mother’s Day to two of the best!


My mother, Daisy, age 13, sitting in the center of her siblings. This picture was taken within a year of their mother's death.

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