To call Mary
busy would be to state the obvious.What is not so obvious is why some one with a degree from Harvard
would want to return to Madison County, where the latest census shows that fewer than 20 percent of the people have bachelor's degrees.Mary
came back to Anderson in 1997 to be close to her
family. Mary is named after her mother, who works at the Women of the Church of God ministry.
Mary's father, Ted, is the director of scholarships and annual programs for Anderson University
.All the Baker children, now grown, take their names from other family members.
Brother Ted bears his
father's moniker and oldest sister Rebecca is named after an aunt, as is his
youngest sister, Leah.Mary's son Stephen takes his
name from Mary's brother.
"We have a strong sense of tradition in our family," Mary
said when asked about repetition of names."We have strong ties."
Those strong ties are what took Mary
away from the big city and back home to Indiana, she
"I just got tired of the big city," she
said."I wanted to go home."She
also had another reason to come back to her
family in 1997.She
was about to become a single mother.
As a single mom, Mary
is part of a growing trend in Madison County.The number of single parents in Madison County has increased by 10 percent since the last census. Mary
said that she
did not want to discuss the circumstances surrounding her
situation, but did want to set the record straight about single parenting and the meaning of family.
"My son and I are family," she
said."Right now, our situation may look a little different than what I grew up with, but it is just as loving."
To help balance her
need to earn a living and to raise little Stephen, Mary
turned to the church and family.
goes off to work, Stephen is off to the day care center at Park Place Church of God
.Mom and Dad are handy, too.
"They are wonderful grandparents," Mary
said."Stephen gets the double blessing of having them."
Additionally, Leah, Stephen's godmother, and fellow church members help babysit.
In a way, it is like Stephen, who Mary
said has an interest in dinosaurs and all things green, has a family that consists of more members than he'll ever be able to count.
has to wrestle with the accusations some may make that a single parent is not as good for a child as two.
"Everybody has some situation that they consider ideal," she
said."Right now, my situation looks a little different than that."