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Mother's Day: Salute to mother who taught passion through art

MOTHER'S DAY -- It's a Mother's Day tradition. Each year, columnist Berry Tramel picks a mother of a local athlete and tells her story. This year's mom taught her children how to be passionate about something through her art.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 13, 2012

Christine married young. Married a white South African, who in 1977 took her to his native land, back when apartheid ruled.

They settled in Johannesburg, where they were raising a son and where Christine took up painting.

Christine was an only child, so imagination sometimes was her best friend. That creativity paid off in her art.

She was drawn to the rich culture fabric of South Africa, particularly to the black community. Christine eventually divorced and married a prominent black musician.

But mixed marriages were banned in South Africa, so in 1986 they relocated to Christine's home area and had two more sons. Her husband didn't stay long; he soon returned to South Africa, and Christine lived with her three boys in the house in which she grew up.

She began to paint again, and her art flourished, inspired by Africa, “an experience which won't let you go,” she once said.

Christine gently pushed her boys to art. “Every parent, they try to, not necessarily teach, but show you what they like,” one of the sons said. “What they're involved in.”

But the boys instead drifted to athletics, starting out with soccer and progressing from there. When the boys got really serious about sport, good enough to be nationally acclaimed, Christine was OK with it, “as long as we did what we were supposed to do in school,” the son said. “That was the main priority, do your job at school.

“My mama told me that the most important thing in life is to find something you love, and then give it everything you've got. I've found that. So I guess you can say that my parents — especially my mother — gave me the passion that I play with.”

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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