ON THIS DAY
(I spoke at my mother’s Celebration of Life service on August 29th, 2016. Here it is.)
For the past several years my mom was living her life in a wheelchair unable to do much of anything, losing the strength to hold a book or spoon, stay awake very long or to even speak.
This could be frustrating at times for her, this once independent, active person. And, I’m sure when she thought back to her prime years, that she found joy and satisfaction in those memories.
Sometimes on my visits I would read from one of her old journals she’d so faithfully kept for most of her life, and we’d both marvel at how much she used to do in one day. As her memory failed, her own written words from years past were interesting and enlightening to her.
My mom kept a diary for at least 70 years, beginning during her teenage years. Her entries were written in a standard diary from the dime store, plain lined notebook paper, tiny notepads and backs of envelopes. She wrote in beautiful penmanship, or used a manual typewriter. Chances are, many of you are in those pages.
ON THIS DAY..
August 29, 1937: (15 yrs old) played at SS and church. Went to Aunt Nora’s for squirrel dinner. I washed dishes. Came home at 3:15. Rode Bicycle. Supper with M. Hall. Babysat at church.
February 27, 1937: Ross over for breakfast. Our family went to Danville in afternoon. Went to an old mill. I drove both ways. Had a nice dinner. Listened to Barn Dance.
I couldn’t find any diaries from the 1940s when she met and married my dad, but from the 50s on, her life is well documented.
Note that when she writes ‘C’ that’s my dad, ‘J’ and ‘L’ are my sisters, and any other first initials are for family members.
April 11, 1953: Scrubbed the kitchen and living room floors. Did rest of cleaning. Baked rye bread, cream pie filling, and chocolate cake. C and I practiced for tomorrow’s duet in evening.
August 29, 1954: Us 4 to church. Lovely afternoon at home. Feathered and cleaned 2 spring roosters. Us 4 to evening service.
August 29, 1964: Washed clothes in forenoon. L babysitting. J with friends. C to the cities. I washed my hair and Dotty put it up in rollers.
January 25, 1972: Today I am 50 yrs or half a century. No school because of road conditions. Worked 11:30-5:30. Mom had us 3 for supper. C. built fireplace. I looked at the newspaper. Received 11 birthday cards.
May 23, 1983: Sunny – comfortable. C walked to work. I biked to pipe organ practice 8:45-10:45. Mailed a box to L., a book, 3 pair of her shoes and rusks and couple of hotpads. Watered the onions and radishes. Picked our first radishes. Small but tasty. Tulips still pretty. Had pancake supper. Went to visit my Aunt M and Uncle G’s He’s 92. Gave M all the grease I’ve been saving. Stopped at Will and Ellie’s but no one was home.
August 31, 1995: Cooled off during the night. C and I sang at the Senior Center and stayed for supper. I did necessary ironing and pressing. Pick plums off the ground. C busy with pocket door. Addressed Claudia’s birthday card.
August 29, 2005: Counted monies at church. Cammie and Kate here for lessons. Darlene gave me apples from their trees. Made a couple quarts of applesauce-my favorite. Dorothy stopped in.
My mom didn’t write about world events, newsy gossip or feelings and dreams. She wrote about what was important in her world; her family, her home and her friends.
My mom reminds me of the Proverbs 31 woman of the Bible:
A wife of noble character, who can find?
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm.
She set about her work vigorously, her arms are strong for the task.
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hand to the needy.
She is clothed with strength and dignity and she can laugh at days to come.
She speaks with wisdom.
She watches over the affairs of her husband and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed.
Many women do noble things but she surpasses them all.
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but the woman who fears the Lord in to be praised.
Among the many pages of my mom’s recorded housework, what she ate, what her girls did, I found, just yesterday, one unique journal entry that is not even close to any others. This one does not make note the weather, food, daily chores or who stopped over.
So, ON THIS DAY, listen to a message she left for all of us:
August 22, 2002: (80 yrs of age)
Whoever reads this. Be sure you keep memoirs whether you think you have anything interesting to write about because, rest assured, some day those words will be so very meaningful to so many people.
If I remember correctly, it was very shortly after C having left for his heavenly home, that I thought of writing a book particularly to bring out how I(we) saw God in all of this.
Then upon thinking further I realized God has been leading me all thru my life even though I may not have been aware of it when I was very young. My prayer for all who read this is that you can someday look back and say that this great God, Creator, Sustainer of this universe has been leading you.
HE HAS A PLAN FOR EVERY ONE OF US.