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A trip back in time.........long ago.

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I have mentioned my grandmother wrote a "book" for her grandchildren.  Her name was Elizabeth Parthenia Matlock Wise, and she was born one very cold day in January of 1899.  She married at 15.  My "Daddy Wise" was 27.  We have our grief, but this grief happens to so many people.  We all live an epic life.  That is why I do not watch epic movies or read epic novels.  My reality is an epic life.  I like fairy tales.  Unfortunately, that is only in children's books, but sometimes we live a fairy tale as long as we can.  I did, then it was an epic tale.

These are my grandmother's words:  "When we were married, I was half child and half woman.  I know I vexed him many times, and he hardly knew what to do with me. I could have made him a better wife had I been older." (Somehow, she had him seven children in ten years, I think she must have been a wife.)  While he was dying, he told me "Kiddie, you are the best looking woman in the whole hospital.'  As for myself, my husband was my all.  He was father, husband, lover, adviser, inspiration, and the best friend I ever had."  (He always called her Kiddie, because she was such a kid when he married her).  Remember, this was 1914, these things happened in those days.

On other pages she says:" I have been alone now for ten years.  I  have ten grandchildren, one great grandson and am expecting two more great grandchildren.  But for me, the light went out on that March day in 1956.  I miss him so much and the longer he is gone, the worse I miss him.  I want what I have lost and can never have again."........it goes on for pages telling about her life as a child, her first banana (hated it), political rallies at the churches, the different wars she had heard word of, her relatives fighting in the wars, and knowing older people that had fought in the Civil War.  Her travels (as far as West Texas from her little community near Plain Dealing , LA.) She owned a little crossroad country store.  The ones you see in the pictures of the old country stores, one like that.  Miles from a big town.  She told about the cotton gins, walking so far to school, then school buses being driven by horses.  It was a history that I go back and read often.

But, the sentence that rang true with me, one of them was this: "Living with him and having his love and protection was as near heaven as I will ever be until I do reach there indeed."  She went to be with him in the early 1980s.  

A story "old as time" but the pain stays as fresh as now.  

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I love family history. My roots are in West Texas, also. My mother was one of 13 children, 4 boys born to my grandfather during his first marriage and the rest during his marriage to my grandmother who was 17 at the time she married this 37 year old man. She and her youngest son died in the flu epidemic of 1917 when my mother was 7. He was left to raise 3 young girls on his own. He was very stern(a Baptist minister) and did not do well with children. They were very poor and my mother spoke of the treat of receiving an orange for Christmas from an older brother. She was raised by her 9 yr. old sister as they cared for the 2 year old. It is hard to imagine living in such times as by the time I came along, my parents were not poor.

I am the 2nd cousin to the original Gerber Baby(our grandmothers were sisters) and on a whim contacted her through her website before Ron became ill.  She introduced me to her sisters, one of whom(in her 90's) is a Genealogist. She, in turn sent me a CD of all our family history. Shortly afterward, Ron became ill and I have never taken the time to view it. Shame on me!

My father died in 1977. We were very close and as I look back, I don't know how much comfort I was to my mother. It seems she handled his death much better than I have handled Ron's. I often wonder if I could have been more of a comfort to her. Life went on for her and she lived alone for the next 30 years until she died. I wish I had her strength.

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Karen, dear heart, I believe that you DO have your mother's strength, even if it doesn't feel that way to you. She is in your DNA.

As our friend Christopher Robin said to Pooh, "You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."  

Maybe it's time for you to take a look at that CD. 


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Thank you for sharing that, Margaret!  I think all of us have rich family histories if we're able to trace them back far enough.  I am related to Ben Franklin, Lawrence Hills (founder of Greenwaters Park & Mayor of Oakridge, and Edmund Hunter (founder of Veneta).  It's fun to trace your roots and see what you can find!  I also have Folgiers in my family line, too bad I don't like the coffee!  :)

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