the bottom stem of my african violet often seems to fill itself with too much water….they get ‘squishy’ looking and then seem to rot and that stem will die. These were my mother’s ‘pets’ and I’m trying real hard to keep them going. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
This is actually normal and is no reason to worry. The older stems at the bottom of the plant will die and fall off, leaving room for new ones to grow in their place.
Make sure you are not watering the leaves of your plant directly, they don't like that. Water only the soil.
African Violets need plenty of light but they do not like direct sunlight.
This article will give you some additional tips on caring for your mother's African Violet: