The first love I had with Everett turned out so good, lasting 56 years; we never grew tired of one another. We were always side by side together everywhere we went, and to this day I miss his arm around me in church, and that occasional pat on the back that I'm sure meant, "I love you." He was my best friend, and I missed him so much when he passed away in May, 1987. We had known for two years that he was coming to the end, because in June, 1985, he was told by our good doctor he had cancer of the lungs, and that two years was likely what he had left. So we traveled; we went camping with four or five couples from church, and made our next year or so as enjoyable as we could. After his death, I was a very lonely person. I worked at my quilts and visited one day a week with other widow ladies in the church. I hoped to cheer them up, but I always came home feeling I had been rewarded. It was so good for me to see others in life's same boat who needed company, too.
After two years of being alone, a man at Branson, a fellow Christian who had lost his wife and was also lonesome, started writing me. Soon he was calling, and my life changed considerably. It was great to think I'd found someone who understood my loneliness. We were both hungry for companionship. Even though I was 76, and Tom was 81, it was so great to have a friend and once more feel happy. So in April, 1989, the Branson preacher did the wedding ceremony in their house: What a lovely extended family I had become a part of. God really does work in mysterious ways. Now, for three years, I was no longer alone. At the age of 84, Tom had a massive stroke; he lived three days, then I was alone again with another death to overcome. Tom only had one son; he had lost a little son in 1932. But his son Carl and his wife have been such a blessing to me in my later years. I have about covered the twentieth century, so now I will sum up a few of my life's events:
I was born May 21, 1912.
I was baptized in the Church of Christ April 5, 1925.
I married J. Everett Allen December 24, 1932.
I lost a baby by miscarriage December 24, 1933.
In December, 1934, I had a damaged ovary and tube removed by Doctor Reid in Reid Hospital; the total bill was $83.00.
In February, 1935, we moved from Missouri to Iowa so Everett could work on the farm, where he was paid $30 a month plus a house to live in. He had only been getting $15 a month in Missouri! By 1936, he was getting $40 a month, so we were coming up in life. That was also the year I got a job at Boone, Iowa, in the poultry-processing plant. For every hen I picked the feathers off of, I got two cents. It was a short-time job, but if I worked hard enough I could pick 100 a day, and $2 was big money in the '30's.
In December, 1937, our second baby, a ten-pound boy named Lonnie Ray, was stillborn... another disappointment. In June, 1938, my dad died. That year we had moved to southern Iowa, closer to our Missouri roots.
In February, 1944, we moved back to Missouri. In July of that year our baby Donna (now 52) was born. Maxine was 16 at the time, and Jack was 15; so Donna was well-spoiled, I'm sure.
In 1953 I became very ill and had to go by ambulance to Princeton, Missouri, to Axtell's Hospital (now long gone) where I had surgery for complete hysterectomy. I got along great, and after two weeks in the hospital I was back home.
In 1962 I had a scare of kidney infection. I ended up in the hospital for 27 days, and they removed a left kidney with a malignant growth in it, but again I overcame. I'm like a cat with nine lives, because one hospital at that time had said I had a short time to live.
In 1988 I had a car wreck in which I was thrown through the windshield of my 1982 Toyota pickup; I was found by a neighbor who went for an ambulance. The paramedics revived me, after thinking I was dead, and called the Life-flight helicopter, which took me to K.U. Medical Center. I had a terrible skull injury and a fractured spine, but again I survived, and have had many good things happen to me since then.
I think the best thing that could ever happen to a person has been my lot in life, and that is that I can look back and be so glad I have led a clean life; and I kept myself clean and pure for my husband. Whoever may chance to read this, I hope you will present yourself to your life's companion as a virgin; by experience, I know I will never be sorry I kept myself in the right path.
I love this final paragraph: it's my mom at her finest! We've read all the hardships and trials she went through, and she considers the crowning achievement in her life to be the fact that she was a virgin when she got married. I'm not insinuating that's a bad thing, mind you. But somehow it just cracks me up.
As far as the clean life goes, she speaks the truth. Never drank, never smoked, never had sex with anybody but her husband. Never missed church until she got to the place where she couldn't go any more.
When my mom wrote all these words, she lived in a mobile home here on our property. Later she decided she wanted to be closer to her church and her friends, so she moved to senior citizen housing in Oak Grove. After a couple of years there, she figured she was ready for a nursing home and put herself in one at Bethany, Missouri (near a couple of her brothers). She enjoyed life there until she got to the place she couldn't see to play cards any more, and couldn't really wait on herself much. In her last year spent there, she had to have one leg amputated at the knee (diabetes). All her brothers have died since she wrote her story; Uncle Leo's wife, my Aunt Mary, is still kicking, and stubbornly living on her own. My dad's only remaining sibling, Aunt Gladys, is in the same nursing home where my mother lived out her last years.
I'm reminded of the last line of a poem: "This is the way the world ends; not with a bang, but with a whimper."