Community Conversations

It wasn’t easy as a single mother, but raising two sons brought many cherished moments

Bea Hines with her two sons in 1969, three years after she started working with the Miami Herald. From left, Shawn, 6, and Rick, 9.
Bea Hines with her two sons in 1969, three years after she started working with the Miami Herald. From left, Shawn, 6, and Rick, 9. Bea Hines

I always get a bit nostalgic around Mother’s Day. The holiday brings back so many wonderful memories — of my own mother, who died in 2002; the caring women — Mom’s friends — who stepped in as surrogate moms whenever needed, and how blessed I am to have been chosen to be the mother of two sons.

As I reflect on motherhood, I think I have always wanted to be a mom. I loved the time I shared with my sons. I was a single mom and we were a circle of three. And while there were some trying times when they were growing up, there also were some great times, too. In fact, the great times outweigh the trying times.

As a mom, I never tried to make my sons think that I knew all the answers. I was honest with them, telling them that nobody gave me a how-to-be-a- mom book, that told me “— this is how to do this, or that.” I used to tell them that we were “in this together”— that I would make mistakes (and I made many) and I would own up to my mistakes.

I tried to instill morals and integrity in them, and the importance of being truthful. I used to tell them that no matter how handsome they were, they were ugly if they didn’t have good manners and integrity.

I told them they could always come to me to talk about anything. As a mother of sons, it wasn‘t always easy for them to come to me to talk about certain things. But they did.

I remember once, as my older son Rick, was experiencing some pain in the chest area. He was about 14 at the time, and it was embarrassing for him to share this with me. I didn’t know for sure, but I thought it had to do with puberty. To set his mind at ease I made an appointment with his pediatrician.

Meanwhile, Shawn (my younger son) heard the conversation and said to his brother, “Don’t worry, Rick. You’re just turning into a girl,” and ran away laughing. Rick, my macho-man adolescent, was furious with his brother.

On the day of his appointment, the kind and wise doctor knew what the problem was, and also noticed how Shawn was mocking Rick. After he examined Rick, he came out to speak to us and said, “There’s nothing wrong with this guy… just a little growing pains. He’s all man.” He looked knowingly at me and smiled.

Later, Rick said proudly, “Did you hear that, Mom? I’m all man!”

Like most youngsters, my sons always seemed to wait until the last minute to tell me they needed something for school. Like the time when the Carol City High School Band had its annual concert and members needed to be dressed in full uniform, including white shoes.

Shawn waited until 5 p.m. on the day of the concert, to let me know he needed white shoes. I was at work, trying to make a deadline so I could get to the concert. I told him there was no chance that I could get home in time to take him to buy a pair of shoes.

I barely made it to the concert on time for Shawn’s oboe solo. I was so proud of the way he played. Then I looked down at his feet. He was wearing white shoes … that he had spray-painted with leftover paint from our utility room at home. I could hardly keep from laughing out loud. The parent next to me kept looking at me, wanting to know what was wrong.

When the solo was over, I pointed to my son’s shoes. Around the soles of the shoes was all kind of debris sticking out — dried grass, small bits of paper. Apparently, he didn’t have time for the paint on the shoes to dry before having to walk to school. We both had a good laugh.

As a single mom, I had to be a “Jill” of many trades. Like the time when my 6-foot, 3-inch Rick went to pick up his tuxedo pants for the prom, only to learn the pant legs were 6 inches too short. Rick was furious. It was his first prom and he thought his big night was ruined.

He had rented a tux with a white dinner jacket and mint green shirt to match his date’s dress. He’d also had a pair of white, polyester bell bottoms made for the after-prom party.

I calmed Rick down and took his shirt to the nearest fabric store. Lucky for us, the store carried mint green ribbon, the same shade of his shirt. I bought several yards, rushed home and sewed a mint green, tuxedo stripe down the outside of each pant leg. It matched his shirt and white jacket perfectly.

Rick dressed hurriedly and left to pick up his date. I waited up for him. He came home boasting how his friends loved his tux and wanted to know where he’d rented it. He was a happy camper, and for a short time, I was “Wonder Mom.”

Today is the sixth Mother’s Day without my older son Rick. He died in September 2013, breaking our circle of three forever.

So on this day, I will think about the good times we had together, and I will be thankful that God saw fit to make me the mother of two wonderful sons, the grandmother of five beautiful granddaughters and one handsome grandson, and the great-grandmother of three handsome boys and one beautiful little girl.

I am truly blessed.

Post-Mother’s Day tea

A post-Mother’s Day Tea, presented by Metropolitan Dade County Section, National Council of Negro Women, in partnership with Advancing Sickle Cell Advocacy Project, will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at the Sherbondy Village Community Center, 215 Perviz Ave. In Opa-locka.

The event is open to men and women who want to enjoy the fellowship and learn about the organizations.

Former Councilwoman Felicia S. Robinson will be the keynote speaker, and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan will be honored. Tickets are $10 each or $80 for a table of 10.

For tickets, call Shaquellia Holmes at 786-663-7852 or email or visit

Honoring three legends

The Historic Hampton House Community Trust will present its annual program, “Honoring Miami’s Home Grown Achievers” at noon Saturday, May 18, at the Historic Hampton House, 4340 NW 27th Ave. in Brownsville.

This year’s honorees are Yolanda Cash Jackson, Garth Reeves Sr. and Pastor Reginald Wilkerson.

Jackson is an attorney who has established a strong reputation for leadership in civic, charitable and professional organizations. She is a member of Pioneer Miami Families and has been recognized by many groups, including the Florida Bar Young Lawyers.

Reeves, 100 years old, is the publisher emeritus of the black weekly The Miami Times Newspaper. He joined the paper, founded by his father E. S. Reeves, after he graduated from Florida A & M University (then college) in 1940.

Reeves was active in Civil Rights Movement, along with the late Rev. Theodore Gibson, who headed the NAACP at the time. The two men, along with the late Dr. John O. Brown and others, integrated Miami’s all-white golf courses.

Wilkerson, the son of George and Mattie Merrell Wilkerson, is the pastor of God Word, God Way Church of God in Christ, and is the regional director of the Missions Department, Church of God in Christ, throughout Florida and, Alabama and Georgia.

Tickets to the event are $75 per person. To RSVP, call the Hampton House at 305-638-5800.

Concert at Trinity Cathedral

Choral Evensong, also known as Evening Prayer, is a service that uses the ancient poetry of the Church and set it to beautiful music, some of it hundreds of years old.

At Trinity Cathedral, the Anglican Chorale of Southeast Florida sings much of the service, including psalms and canticles. The service dates back to the Reformation.

Evensongs at Trinity will be at 6 p.m. Sunday and at 6 p.m. May 26 and June 9. All are welcome.

Celebrating Jewish children’s authors

Jewish American Heritage month will be celebrated at North Miami Public Library with several events recognizing the work of Jewish American illustrators.

At 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, the book, “Whistle for Willie,” by Ezra Jack Keats will be read in the Children’s Room.

At 4:30 p.m. May 22, North Miami Councilwoman Carol Key will read the book, “Lyle, Lyle Crocodile” by Bernard Waber, also in the Children’s Room. The “Lyle, Lyle Crocodile” puppet will visit schools in North Miami from May 20 through May 24.

Check with the library for schools and times by contacting the library at 305-891-5535.

Music under the stars

Miami Lighthouse for the Blind will host “Music Under the Stars” at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The event will be at the Miami Lighthouse Mary and Sash H. Spencer Campus, 601 SW Eighth Ave., and is an annual fundraiser that supports the Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program, which has provided free eye exams and glasses to more than 142,000 school children throughout Florida.

Olga Villaverde, host of Lifetime TV’s “The Balancing Act”, will be the speaker.

Tickets are $75 each and available at the door. Contact Cameron Sisser at, or call 786-362-7515.

Learning about Judaism

Chabad of Downtown Coral Gables will offer a six-session course, “With All My Heart,” that will examine the Jewish art of prayer and spiritual experience.

The course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

All courses are open to the public. Interested persons may call 305-490-7572, or visit to register.