When I was a little girl, I think I didn't ask a lot of questions of my Grandparents because it never dawned on me that we would be separated by any amount of time. The idea that they would be in Heaven with me one day, was very natural, even though, I was not a Mormon at the time, and I was not taught any particular doctrine. So now, maybe you are like me. Are you kicking yourself because you didn't ask enough questions? I think that is why Heavenly Father has given us the gift of technology to ascertain the records and documents so easily that it is not so heartbreaking to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
For my family, Texas and Oklahoma in the 20s and 30s was a miserable, hot, dry place to live. In a severe drought, the "Dust Bowl" was the basis of the story by Hemingway called "The Grapes of Wrath". Yet, they never complained, because they didn't know any better. Without this calling, I would never have found that my Great Grandfather survived the most destructive storm in United States History and it's toll on my Grandfather was a great one. When there was any kind of Tornado warning, he would grab the children and get them into the cellar as quickly as possible, then would break down in the corner of fear. When you see this picture of Galveston, TX in 1900, you will know what I mean.
|Wall of water 90 feet high crushed the island of Galveston - 10,000 missing|
I always feel like if I can touch something they held or used, then maybe I will feel something special, and I'm usually right. There is something deeply emotional about holding a crocheted tablecloth that your Grandmother painstakingly labored over....for your good. When she was making this particular tablecloth, I watched her very carefully and she didn't bat an eye while she chatted and giggled hardly even looking at her work. Unfortunately, that loving picture is marred slightly by the sight of a cigarette dangling from her lips as she talked to Mom. I say unfortunately, because that is what killed her. In 1983, her little body finally succumbed to to the rages of Cancer, and I am left with this beautiful tablecloth.
My grandmother was married at 15 years old in Oklahoma and a widow by 19. She had three children and had to live with her Father-in-law because in 1929, there was no way for her to work and take care of children easily. So, Gran and her six year old son labored in the cotton fields all day, while my Mother's job, at four years old, was to take care of the 18 month baby sister.
I think of all the questions I had for her and never asked. I wish I had a chance to get to know my Grandfather and listen to his stories, as his Grandparents walked the Trail of Tears .from Indian Bayou in Lone Oak Arkansas to Oklahoma.
This another area of study that I am undertaking so that I can learn of their plight across America on foot. And I complain if the airconditioner is set above 80......
I am hoping that you are searching for answers too. In my church, I believe that I can be sealed to my Grandparents for time and all eternity. I know that I will be with them again, and I hope that they will be proud of the way I spent my years on this earth, but I am especially thankful for what they endured. Because, but for the grace of God, I would cease to exist.
Contact me today if you need help getting started. I would love to show you how to find your ancestors. It is a great love and passion of mine, not just a Church Calling that I volunteer to do.
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