Reginald Mason was 11 years old when his father died, which left his mother, a tough woman who worked her hardest to provide for them, to raise him on her own.

At StoryCorps, Mason, 47, remembers the struggles he overcame growing up, and how much pride his mother took in his success before her death in 2009.

Originally aired January 4, 2013, on NPR’s Morning Edition.