Hero Mama: A Daughter Remembers the Father She Lost in Vietnam--and the Mother Who Held Her Family Together

Hero Mama: A Daughter Remembers the Father She Lost in Vietnam--and the Mother Who Held Her Family Together

Karen Spears Zacharias / Sep 15, 2019

Hero Mama A Daughter Remembers the Father She Lost in Vietnam and the Mother Who Held Her Family Together I don t remember Mama crying when Granny Ruth died but the day after she was buried Mama gathered together all the pillows in the house and went into the room where her mother s foot pedaled sewing

  • Title: Hero Mama: A Daughter Remembers the Father She Lost in Vietnam--and the Mother Who Held Her Family Together
  • Author: Karen Spears Zacharias
  • ISBN: 9780060721480
  • Page: 379
  • Format: Hardcover
  • I don t remember Mama crying when Granny Ruth died, but the day after she was buried, Mama gathered together all the pillows in the house and went into the room where her mother s foot pedaled sewing machine stood silent Taking a pair of black handled scissors, she cut open the tops of Granny s pillows Aunt Blanche asked Mama what in Jehoshaphat s name did she think sheI don t remember Mama crying when Granny Ruth died, but the day after she was buried, Mama gathered together all the pillows in the house and went into the room where her mother s foot pedaled sewing machine stood silent Taking a pair of black handled scissors, she cut open the tops of Granny s pillows Aunt Blanche asked Mama what in Jehoshaphat s name did she think she was doing, cutting up all the pillows like that Mama answered something about finding a crown inside one of those pillows Granny Ruth had fashioned from chicken feathers Sometimes, she explained, when a person sleeps on a pillow for a long time the feathers will mold together to make a crown It s the 1960s and nine year old Karen Spears is living in a trailer in middle Georgia Her father, David Spears, was killed in the Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam, and left behind three young children and a wife with a ninth grade education Hero Mama is the gritty, searing, and beautifully written story of what happened to this Southern family in the aftermath of a soldier s death.At first the widow Spears appeared to fall apart turning herself into a beer guzzling, good time girl, while her children responded in kind Eventually she recognized how much her children needed her and, with mule headed tenacity, she earned her nursing degree and bought the family a real home fashioned from bricks, rising above her own flaws to forge a better life for her kids Now Karen Spears Zacharias pays tribute to this woman of guts and determination her Hero Mama who battled overwhelming adversity to pull her family up and make them proud of her, and of themselves.Hero Mama is also the story of the South, where a young girl grew up against an emotionally charged landscape of racism and bigotry, where the daughter of a fallen soldier had to face the stigma of a war nobody wanted, and where a family in crisis pulled together to achieve its own version of the American dream It is a triumphant tale of reconciliation between a daughter and her father, a daughter and her nation, and a daughter and the people of Vietnam It is a story for any daughter who has loved her father and for any daughter who has had to discover how deeply her mother really loves her.

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      379 Karen Spears Zacharias
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      Posted by:Karen Spears Zacharias
      Published :2018-09-20T08:42:35+00:00

    About "Karen Spears Zacharias"

      • Karen Spears Zacharias

        Karen Spears Zacharias grew up in a military family Her father was killed in action in 1966 That early experience led Karen into a career as a journalist She studied at Berry College, Oregon State University and Eastern Oregon University Karen has worked at newspapers around the country Her commentary has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, CNN, National Public Radio and The Huffington Post.She has served on the advisory boards for the Vietnam Women s Memorial Fund and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Education Center She is a member of Sons Daughters in Touch and Daughters of the American Revolution.Crime writer Ann Rule urged Karen to write the story of KARLY SHEEHAN The True Crime story behind Karly s Law The publication of KARLY SHEEHAN propelled Karen into speaking on behalf of abused children and advocating for a change of family court laws Karen s husband Tim is a CASA volunteerIn 2013, Karen published her first novel to broad acclaim MOTHER OF RAIN is the first in a series of books set in the Appalachian community of Christian Bend, Tennessee MOTHER OF RAIN Mercer University Press was longlisted for the Crook s Corner Book Award and received the Weatherford Award for Best in Appalachian Fiction by Berea College MOTHER OF RAIN was later adapted for the stage by Paul Pierce of Georgia s Historic Springer Theater BURDY Mercer University Press was published in 2015 and CHRISTIAN BEND in Sept 2017.A lecturer at Central Washington University, Karen enjoys conducting workshops She has spoken at the Library of Congress, at the National Mall in DC, and at various universities and colleges Karen has appeared on Good Morning America and twice on The Diane Rehm Show She s hoping for an invitation from 1A.


    657 Comments

    1. I don't typically read memoir, but I picked this up as part of my research for a project. I truly appreciated the courage it took Zacharias to share this story. It's a tough one. Full of hardship. But Zacharias never once played the "poor me" card. She wrote with grace and dignity.


    2. HeartwrenchingVery good read bThings the reality of the stories of soldiers spouses and children left behind after the soldiers death. And the trials and tribulations that the survivors have to face and deal with. I highly recommend this book. GOD BLESS OUR SOLDIERS and GOD BLESS the U.S.A. SGT RICK Colburn13 year VETERANU. S. ARMY


    3. This book is part of who I am and where I come fromis is my historylled with insights on my family and my grandfather who gave his all for his country, without this book I may still be wondering all of things about my existence.


    4. Quotable:I came across an awful story the other day. A story of an American soldier. Tim O’Brien tells it in his book The things they carried. O’Brien has mastered the art of telling ghastly tales of the American war in Vietnam. I’m careful about when I read his stuff. I don’t read his prose while eating. I don’t read it before bedtime. I don’t read it if the kids are around. Simply because his words make my stomach convulse, my heart pound, and the fissures in my soul ooze with conf [...]


    5. I have not read a lot of books about the war in Vietnam. This book was well worth my time and on several occasions, brought tears to my eyes. I have many friends who served in Vietnam. I will never fully understand what they went through or the feelings they harbor, but don't discuss. i truly believe this book helped narrow that gap.


    6. Although this memoir is as heartbreaking as one would expect, the author uses her grief to get to the truth of her father's death in Vietnam.



    7. This book was really good. It was the story of a family who's father died in Vietnam. The 9 yr old girl is the one telling the story. The story was very moving and made you think.


    8. The American war in Vietnam has probably forever spoiled the concept of a war hero for me. There are no heroes and especially not for the Vietnam era. I have read a lot of books about Vietnam and most of them have been about the soldiers in the field. The families I have read about where the Vietnamese families who were slaughtered wholesale in there villages and huts. While this is not a pro war book for how could there really be such a thing? But it cast a positive light on the American determ [...]


    9. Karen Spears Zacharias’s After the Flag Has Been Folded is an engaging, folksy, sometimes harrowing memoir. Spears’s father was a Vietnam War casualty, and in this book, she explores all that means—for a family to lose a loved one to war. The experience took its toll on her sister, brother, mother, and her. Each of them suffered, trying to make sense of it all, trying to get their own lives on track. Growing up in near poverty, this family, originally from Tennessee and transplanted to Geo [...]


    10. I don't understand the title of this book. Very little was about the author's father; it was a memoir about her life after he died. And, believe me, her mama was no hero. Yes, as a widow, Mama had to work to support her children. But, when she wasn't at work or at school (getting first a GED, then LPN, then RN), she was partying and bringing home different men to their tiny trailer. No matter when Mama was, however, her kids were left unattended. Despite large families on both sides, the author [...]


    11. An Important BookI wanted to read this book because I have long sensed that I had dodged a bullet. I married a soldier during the war, knowing that there was a significant chance that he would be sent to Vietnam. But those orders came twice and were cancelled. A brother in law went and returned very troubled. My sister in law struggled with that and eventually her family was broken. My family avoided the severe consequences of the Vietnam veteran or widowhood. This book made me realize just how [...]


    12. ExcellentI cried for the family, and others that lost their loved ones in Vietnam. I will be forever grateful to the men and women who served in this war. Thank YOU for your service.


    13. I enjoy this author but this book is a memoir and most of her life was not interesting to me. I'm on page 266. I'll try to edit my review when I'm done.


    14. Sad sad storyVietnam was such a sad mistake in U S history. Reading this book made it even sadder that a family had to go through what it did after the dad's death.



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