“My mother is like the great Wonder Woman”, responded Leon Brown, when asked, “Who would you compare your mother to?” This great fictional heroine whose mission was to bring love, peace and sexual equality in a world that was dominated by men, is Leon’s summation of his mother, Mrs. Maxcine Tugwell Brown.
Like Wonder Woman, Mrs Maxcine Tugwell Brown is a heroine. Not only is she heroic but she is as beautiful, wise and strong, as Wonder woman is described to be; as wise as Athena (goddess of wisdom), strong as Hercules (son of Zeus), and as beautiful as Aphrodite (goddess of love). Although Mrs. Tugwell Brown may not possess super hero like strength, with a mission to protect the universe, at thirty five, being a teacher by profession, a widow, and a single mother, she is a hero in her own rights. Her ability to protect and serve not only her family but also others in the small district of John’s Hall, where she grew up, makes her a hero.
Her wisdom and mental strength is attributed to the fact that she is a strong believer in Christ. This is reflected in her philosophy that is the popular Biblical text, Philippians 4:13, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ Poverty was not enough to demotivate her, neither was death; love and determination overpowered the negativity and thus the taste of success was as sweet as it has promised to be for her. Growing up with five siblings and most of the times, one poor parent, was not very encouraging for Maxcine to strive for success but surprisingly it was what gave her the drive to want to be something better in the future. It was also the passion of becoming a teacher that kept her motivated and focused. As Benjamin Franklin had said, “If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.”
The family and friends of Mrs. Tugwell Brown knew she had potential and as such helped and supported her, both financially, when they could, and emotionally. Her future as a teacher was predetermined by the ones around her, while to her it was a complete surprise. Corretta Brown, sister of Mrs. Tugwell Brown, painted a vivid picture of the type of person she was as a child. “She would always want to play school with us and she always wanted to be the teacher but sometimes we refuse to play with her and when we do she would go outside and play with the grass” reminisced Corretta, then bursting into laughter she said, “Oh my! Maxcine wudda kill d poor bush dem wid lick.”
Maxcine is described as an altruistic person. Her students and her children are her main priority. She always does everything in her power to make sure her students and children were comfortable. Outside of that, she is a people person and is very down to earth. A teaching diploma and a Bachelor’s degree was not enough for her to put herself on a pedestal and belittle those who are below her educational status. As a mother, she cared for her children and taught them good morals and values. Also, she treats everyone who walks her path with love and compassion. However, though she may be compassionate, as a teacher and mother, she is stern, and has strict principles that she sanctions her children and students to follow. For this reason, she is looked up on as an exemplary figure and also plays the role of mentor not only to students but also to various members of the community.
Parenting and teaching are co-dependent jobs and Maxcine is master at both. Her presence demands so much respect and initiates complete silence both at home and at school. One past student reflects on when Mrs. Tugwell Brown was his teacher, “Bwoi mi memba wen wi deh in a class n Miss nuh deh dere a pure noise wi mek, but yu si as soon as wi hear Miss shoes a come towards the class, if a pin drop ina d class yu can hear it, she nuh afi open r mouth n se a word.” As a parent the situation was similar as it was outlined by her son that anything that is unacceptable to her, he knows it and if he is in the act of doing any such thing, whenever she is approaching, all that had to cease. She emphasizes good principles and proper upbringing as she strives to produce better men and women for the future.
Maxcine’s outstanding qualities at the work place and in her community make her an outstanding role model. Having gone through so much in her life, she surprisingly functions as a pillar of hope for many, as she gives optimism to those who think they cannot make it. Christians like herself would describe her achievements as a testimony. She has risen above expectations and she tore down barriers. She serves as a constant reminder that God will make a way somehow.
Opportunities are sometimes once in a lifetime and Maxcine has no regrets where that is concerned because she made use of every opportunity that came her way. As a parent she did not chose the vicarious path but she made her dreams come through on her own with the little resources she had. Her life as a parent is reflected through her teaching as she treats both like a fragile job and handles both with care.
“God is the only ruler of my destiny and whether there is money or not, support or not, if it is God’s will then nothing can stop me,” says Maxcine. Her exercise of faith alone is enough to make her a hero and it will sure be an inspiration to many lives. She is a “Wonder Woman”, as her life testifies that no one is deprived of their dream because of where they are from, their financial status or the struggles they face; with faith and determination all things are possible through Christ who gives you strength.