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Rosa Naomi Pratte Dotson was born on December 28, 1920 on her fraternal grandmothers birthday. Her grandmothers name was Rosa Caroline Gary Pratte. Therefore, the new born was named Rosa after her grandmother.
In 1985 Rosa published a book Cancer, Death, Victory. In the eighth chapter she told about her childhood. Her remarks follow:
I have many unpleasant memories of my childhood. My mother died of TB soon after my eighth birthday. She had been ill for several years and spent some time in a TB sanitarium about eighty miles from our home. She requested that she be permitted to go home to die. ...The Health Department agreed to her returning home only if I, the baby in the family, and one sister two years older than I were placed in the Union County Childrens Home. We were there from August until school was out the next spring, our mother having died in April. Two older brothers and an older sister were allowed to be home, partly to help care for her. My father was crippled from birth and limped badly when he walked. Our only income was from the sale of milk and a few farm products. We were very poor, wore hand-me-down clothes and had very little to eat. I can recall using old coats to cover up with in bed in Ohios cold winter weather. I remember being laughed at and made fun of by other boys and girls. All these unhappy circumstances could have contributed to my being very negative and a victim of low self-esteem. Instead, along with my memories of the tears I shed I can remember going skipping down the gravel in our rural area, either barefooted or with the soles of my shoes lined with newspaper to cover the big holes in them. And often I was singing. One song in particular I recall singing often: Im a child of a king A child of a king, With Jesus my savior Im a child of the king. My parents had no money to give me, but they gave me a rich heritage; yes, a priceless heritage-faith in God. Both my father and mother, and each set of my grandparents were Christians. They instilled in me a great respect for the Bible and a reason to trust Gods word and obey it. Therefore most of my childhood songs were religious songs. Singing them, which I have always loved, and still love to do, was fantastic therapy. Laugh at me if you want to, but I know God knows Im just as good as you are. I may be poor now but someday Ill have a mansion in heaven. These and similar thoughts sustained me during those years. Many were confirmed by songs I sang.... Dad loved to sing and often held several of us on his lap in a big rocking chair, hugging us and singing to us. I didnt know then, but I do now, how important that was-to know I was loved. I left home at age twelve to do housework where I could have better food and clothes. ...
Rosa graduated as Valedictorian from Roundhead High School in 1938. There were 10 students in her graduating class.
She graduated from Ohio Northern University in 1957 with high distinction.
Her first teaching assignment was a 5th and 6th grade combination class at Alger, Ohio. She was her own student teacher.
She taught for 23 years at Bath Local Schools, Lima, Ohio.
A Tribute to My Mother, Rosa Pratte Dotson
by Rosalie Dotson Yoakam
My mother, Rosa, was the youngest of the five Pratte siblings. As I consider her family history I see great hardship and poverty but I also view greater faith and triumph.
Her mother died when Rosa was still a child. Mother was only 8 years old. The family lived on a poor Ohio farm and her father was crippled. Jesse Pratte was only crippled in body, however, not in spirit or faith. Although he could not give his children monetary gifts, he gave them the more valuable gifts of character and spirituality. Mother often recalled how gentle and kind her father had been. She told how he read stories to her, rocked her, and sang songs.
Childhood, though, contained more than these pleasant memories. The children had to work hard in order to survive. Uncle Ira, her older brother, as a teenager had a magazine route. He gave some of the money he made to a generous aunt, who in spite of her own hard times, allowed Rosa to live with her family. The aunt in turn used the money from Ira to buy a much needed washing machine.
As Rosa matured she took on the job of earning her own way. One summer she worked for an uncle weeding onion fields. This involved crawling on hands and knees in the hot summer sun. Later, as a teen, she worked for a wealthy family in Cleveland as a maid.
Through perseverance Mother received an education degrees and later a Masters in Counseling. She became a highly respected member of society.
Mother graduated as valedictorian of her High School class. She soon married and had me and three years later my brother. College graduation was always a goal for her. She began attending college when I started to grade school. Through my school years I have memories of her teaching at neighboring school districts during the school year and attending summer classes at the local college. At that time they needed teachers so badly that you could teach with a temporary certificate with just a few hours of college provided you continued your education. She graduated from college with an elementary education degree the year that I graduated from high school. Later she took graduate courses and received a Master's Degree in Counseling from the University of Dayton. She was a highly respected teacher for 24 years. In retirement she counseled numerous people and authored several articles and a few books.
She sometimes spoke for Ladies Days at churches. I introduced her on one of these occasions. I asked her before hand what she would like me to say. She said, "Just tell them I am a Christian." I chose to read a list of her accomplishments and then said, "I know this woman is a Christian because I lived in her house for eighteen years and observed how she lived her life." I will always be thankful for her faithful example.
Mother has passed from this earth but her deeds live on in many people's hearts as she lives on in Jesus. Others will be and are in heaven because of her life and example.
Mom was the prototype 'Working Mom' of the 1950's
Few women her age ever considered attempting the things she accomplished. Although she could cook and clean house when necessary, she obviously thought her time was better spent on less mundane activities. When I was 6, she placed me in the only kindergarten in town, and started working on her college degree at Ohio Northern University which happened to be in our home town, Ada, Ohio. I remember helping her with college projects throughout my early years, many of which were beneficial to me because she was working toward a degree in Elementary Education. In 1950, older women were not often found among college student bodies, a fact which seemed not to bother Mom in the least.
By the time I was in the Fifth grade, she had earned enough credits to qualify for a cadet program which permitted her to teach full-time while attending classes in the Summer sessions. She started in a small school in Alger, Ohio teaching a class of 5th and 6th graders, mixed since there were so few of each class enrolled (this is slightly before the Baby Boomers generation had reached that age). She eventually was accredited as, of all things, a Physical Education Instructor and took over the girl's athletic program at Bath Local Schools, a suburb of Lima, Ohio. I never considered her at all athletic though she claimed to have been a 'Tom Boy' in school, hence my use of the phrase "of all things". Later she received her Master's Degree in Counseling, a discipline I consider much more indicative of her role in life.
She had a wonderful sense of humor
One of her students had been honored by participating in a special event in another school- an achievement of which he was justifiably proud. Upon his return, Mom asked him to share his experience with the class. He seemed unable to recall anything that happened until she asked if anyone had told a good joke. His eyes lit up and he said "Oh yeah! These two cows are standing in the pasture when a milk truck drives past them. The lettering on the truck says Milk- Homogenized, Vitaminized, Pasteurized, etc. The one cow turned to the other and... and..."
"And what?" asked Mom.
"That's just what I can't remember" he replied. His answer may have caused more laughter than the real punch line, which we later learned was "It kinda makes you feel inadequate, doesn't it?"
She was the consummate friend.
I remember many people who sought her counsel even during their adult lives. She was capable of greater compassion and empathy than anyone I have known before or since. Although others sometimes hurt her by taking advantage of her generosity, she never allowed it to change her willingness to help. Her influence extended beyond our home into a great part of the world through her efforts in school and church. Her writings have inspired many who were never able to meet her, particularly during her bout with cancer, which ultimately took her life.
The world is a lesser place in her absence.