My Dad often said that "Hazel Marie" (as he often referred to her) taught him much about love and family. In some ways she was his conscience, as are many wives for their husbands and children. However, he also learned a lot growing up in a large family that had to work hard just to survive.
On his 70th birthday, June 6, 1987, he must have been feeling very nostalgic about his life because he wrote a short piece about his it. This attracted my attention because I too am approaching my 70th birthday in August. I think he wrote this with little or no prodding from Mom. It sounds like him in his later years. But of course, Mema had to comment about it too.
"All to soon you are just a memory. A lifetime is soon over, even if we live to what we think of as an old age. It is unreal that I have been in this world seventy years. It seems just a short time ago when I was a boy living at home with my Mom and Dad also brothers and sisters. We were dirt poor but we did not think of being poor because we had each other.
There comes to mind some great happy times as well as some of trial and sorrow because times were hard in those days. We all worked very hard in those days because it was a matter of survival, we had to eat. One thing our parents drilled into us was no matter what, be honest and truthful, always be fair and even if it literally takes your hide, never lie. I believe these principles are the only thing that will build character in a human being. It never entered my mind to disobey my Dad when he gave me instructions for the days work. It never entered my head to ignore his instructions.
Somehow in those days on Thanksgiving and Christmas we managed to have great feasts. Those were two times in the year we kids would really stretch our bellies and were miserable all afternoon. Those were happy times in our lives. But now even though the old home place is still there, none of the people who were so important are there. Some have gone into the next world, some are scattered here and there, but many great and precious memories are vivid as yesterday.
It is with great pride and comfort to think of our parents who have gone on. They left us very little of the world's goods, however their legacy of good, caring people is priceless. No one could leave their children more than a great name. I pray it can be said truthfully of me, that 'he shared his life and soul with others', and the world was made just a little better by my having been part of it."
Then on November 20, 1996, Mema added this comment to what Dad had written -
"What a beautiful man to live with for 54 1/2 years. Our family now numbers 30+ sweet souls to follow after us. We praise the Lord in thanksgiving for graciously making this great family possible. Without the Lord this was impossible."
I too am very thankful to be where I am at this stage in my life and am thankful to have received from he and Mom the same heritage they both received from their parents and ancestors - a great name, a spiritual heritage and family. HALLELUJAH!