Wednesday, September 16, 2009

An Unexpected Treasure

Since my Grandmother's passing, we've been spending time searching through old trunks and photo albums. Everyone has pulled out their favorite pictures of her and stories have been told and retold. I promise to tell some of them here and share some of my favorite photos, but for now I want to go back a little further in time to my great-grandmother, a woman I knew as Mama Harris.

Buried in the photos my mother had brought back to her house was a tiny notebook, about 2"x4". It was a journal of sorts written by my great-grandmother. It is full of names and dates, addresses and small tidbits that she didn't want to forget. The names and birth dates of her four children appear several times, including the day and hour of each birth. She was definitely proud to be their mother. Some entries are funny, some heart-wrenching. Many births and deaths are recorded. Many names of boys going off to war. Her son Raymond was in the army and she wrote of the letters she received and the times she sat waiting to hear from him.

This is a photo of her family taken in 1945. In the back row, from left, are her children - Helen (my grandmother, wasn't she beautiful?), Manuel, Raymond, and Nell (Nellie Ruth).

Here are a few of her writings.

Helen and Henry Patman married April 1, 1944 at Kaufman. Manuel and Nellie Ruth and I was present. A Baptist preacher married them in his home.

Helen and Henry wedding. The preacher talked about God in the home and said life begin there. And referred to marriage as to streams of water finally coming together.

For lockjaw heat a half of spoon of turpentine and pour on the place that caused the trouble.

I obeyed the gospel on July 14, 1940.
Raymond obeyed the gospel Aug 13 1942. Young George Baley helt the meeting and did the baptizing at night.

Jan 22 1945
Helen got word at 10 oclock that Henry had been wounded Jan 4th in action and is in a Belgian hospital.

I set here on June 8 just wonder where my boys are at today. Raymond in army some where. Maybe still at Ft Mead. Manuel up _________ working on rail road I guess. Oh if I could only have them back with me.

A. Harris killed by train at Garrett on the 15 of Sept 1925. Grandpa Harris got killed being 97 years old, buried 16 at Bristol Texas. We all lost a dear and beloved friend.

Today is 14 of Nov 1940. Albert has gone to help kill hog for Walker. Was to be back by dinner go to Kaufman with Jickard (?) but here it 2 oclock not back yet. Helen will be 20 years old tomorrow.

Dec 13 1944
Yesterday was the saddest day I ever spent. Raymond left for army. Oh it was like tearing my hart out. I could not hardly stand to put away his things. May God keep him is my prayer. Mother

Don't worry; God indeed answered her prayer. My Uncle Raymond returned from the war and lived a long, full life.

This last entry is my favorite. The advice Mama Harris wanted to give her children back in 1944 is just as applicable today as it was back then.

Jan 22, 1944

As I sit here and my mind wanders back over the years, nearly 45 of them, I have seen many changes in things, and people change as much as anything. I have 4 grown children. I know it won’t be long before they will be out and gone from home. One has left already. The utmost thing in my heart and mind is for them to think of God first and last and always. And to live a clean and honest life. And when in trouble, surrounded by evil, if they will trust in God, they will come through with flying colors. Always shun evil and temptation, always tell the truth, shun evil companions, go to church and Sunday School, and read your bible.

Love, Mother


Rob "Bubba" Hines said...

What an encouraging legacy, phenomenal witness.

Anonymous said...

Oh Valerie, she loved the Lord and her children. What a wonderful example you have before you. I bet she would have been a blogger. Our prayers are with you and your family. We love you! Tracey

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the pictures and journal entries. They help me appreciate your family a little more.

Jess said...

Still praying for you and the girls. Joy and pain all mixed together right now...