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The examples of other pioneering mothers

I was touched by Richard Cohen’s poignant column about his mother, who died just before her 100th birthday [“The president we never had,” op-ed, June 20].

His story on her rich life caused me to reflect on the life of my mother. My father was devoted and hardworking, but Mom was the glue that held the family together. Unlike Mr. Cohen’s mother, my mom managed to move beyond then-stereotypical women’s work.

She was truly a woman ahead of her time. She started her own business, typing addresses on envelopes for large advertising companies in Manhattan. She picked up and delivered the heavy cartons of envelopes herself.

As her business grew, her income enabled my family to spend summers in the Catskills and my brother and I to go to college debt-free, but she never took credit for any of it.

I don’t know if my mother would have been a good president like Mr. Cohen’s, but I know that Mae Benna was the best mom my brother and I could ever ask for.

Bob Benna, Potomac

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Thanks for the beautiful tribute by Richard Cohen to his smart, hardworking mother. It reminded me of how much a wonderful mother enriches our lives.

My mother was one of the first female employees of Social Security in Baltimore during World War II. They hired her only because the male employees were serving in the war. She worked in the claims office and figured out what people were due — without the aid of a calculator.

Women have come a long way, thanks to strivers like my mother and Mr. Cohen’s mother.

Norma Lewis, Selbyville, Del.

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