We usually glide smoothly along through life, Cliff, Gabe and me; the last few months, though, have presented us with a few sticky problems; nothing life-or-death, you understand. We're doing fine financially and, for our ages, fairly healthy. Things like the CarMax saga keep coming up. It's just a matter of several plans seemingly going awry here and there in clusters. I say "seemingly" because I have learned that oftentimes, events that seemed to be bad at the time turn out to be some of the best things that ever happened.
Meanwhile, I look to my Creator.
Back in the 1940's, my parents were having problems with my half-brother, Jack. He'd been raised by my dad's aunt and uncle after his first wife died giving birth to the baby. When my parents got married a few years later, they tried to take custody of him, but the Aunt would not let him go; my folks would go get him when he was a little older, but Aunt Sadie would come and haul him back home with her. She had raised him from birth so my dad could work: Daddy's mother had also died in childbirth, so he lived with his dad, his brothers, and one sister, Gladys... I think she was about 14 when Daddy brought his daughter, my sister Maxine, into the house. As I recall the story, I believe Aunt Gladys quit school to raise the baby girl that apparently Aunt Sadie didn't want. But Sadie claimed Jack as her own until he was 12 and started to get in trouble; then she couldn't handle him and turned him over to my parents.
Yesterday Cliff said, "Kids these days don't know what "poor" is." "No," I answered. "and our generation really has no clue about it either, compared to what our parents went through."
Imagine one little girl, aged 14, not only being the cook and housekeeper of a farmhouse, but taking on an unwanted (by Daddy's aunt and uncle) two-year old, doing all that in extreme poverty. When Daddy and Mother married, they brought Maxine home to live with them. She has been a blessing to everyone she's met, and still blesses the world with her grace. But I've digressed.
So my parents were having problems with a very rebellious teenaged boy; Mother poured her heart out in a letter to her mom, my Grandma Stevens. Grandma wrote Mother in answer, and I have that letter. She had been widowed in 1938 and lived alone after her youngest son, Leo, married and moved a short distance down the road with his wife. Grandma never drove a car, so Uncle Leo and his wife took her anywhere she needed to go; when their children were big enough, they helped Grandma Stevens out in many ways around her yard and house.
I'm going to type the whole letter here; it speaks volumes to my spirit. I have no doubt she cried as she wrote the letter, and I know for certain my mom would have cried as she read it. I'm leaving all spelling and lack of punctuation exactly as she wrote it, except for adding periods to make it easier to read.
Dear Lola and all.
Well Lola I will try to rite you a few lines. I surely do sympathize with you all. It sure was bad. I sure hate it so bad. It just made me sick Lola when I read your letter. I sure feel so sorry for you all. Now don't take all the blame on yourselves. You were doing your best for Jack but he is just at that age he don't know what he wants to do. I hope he soon straightens up and trys to be a man and do what is right and I pray for him and you all that he will straighten up. Lloyds (this refers to my mom's sister and her husband) and Leo (mother's youngest brother) were here today and read your letter. We were all sick about it. Couldn't hardly eat at all. So you have all our sympathy and whatever you do don't go back on your dear Lord. he is your very best friend and will help you if you just pray and do your duty to your lord. I prayed for the last 4 years my son Paul would be spared to come home and see me and live with his wife & I feel my prayers were answered. (Uncle Paul fought in Germany in World War II) so I have faith he will hear your prayers if you just won't forsake him. I feel he has been with me the last 7 years to give me strength to go on here. It's been hard & I have tried not to complain. Been times I would give any hing just to go somewhere & see some of you children. I want to come up so bad & I think now since Lloyds have tires they might go and take me. Leo would in a minute if his car was fit but it isn't & he wants to pay you folks some. Hope all are well. Sure hope you feel better by now. Am so glad Donna is well. Hope she stays that way. We had it real cold a few days. Had some snow. Wish I were there with you tonite. Maybe I could comfort you some. Lola we all think of dear old dad when we are in trouble but our heavenly father is the one to look to. I hope and pray you will all be better and every thing will be alright so just keep praying and hoping for the best. Lots of love to you from your mom with deepest sympathy.
As I read this letter, I feel I can handle anything. I'm so glad Mother kept this and left it behind for me.
Enjoy this day, won't you? We never know which one will be our last on this earth.