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Thanks for stopping by, whether you got here by a link or hitting "next blog" -- I am glad you are here. I've also done some writing on homeschooling, and what I learned thinking I was teaching.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Remembering An Anniversary

Seventy -eight years ago, on February 7, 1932,  my mother married my father in San Juan Puerto Rico. Their marriage ended on March 5, 1978 with my father’s unexpected death. They were married just over forty-six years. How a child sees their parents’ marriage is rarely accurate – how they see their parents is oft equally inaccurate. I am hardly a child – but I confess to never having seen either my father or mother  clearly, much less understood them. 

I know very little about my father – I don’t remember many conversations, although he was a distinct personality in my life; but, he didn’t talk much. He wasn’t much interested in the persistent genealogical endeavors that consumed other family members’ time; He never talked about God, except to say thankfulness to “the man upstairs” was important. He joined the same church my mother attended, and was a church-goer. 

Long after he was gone, his younger brother and sister, then  in their seventies,  told me he was expelled from high school. I knew he never finished high school; the reason was never given.  I assumed hard times in a small, rural South Carolina town was the reason my father’s education stopped. And he never corrected my assumption.

About 1926, shortly before graduation, the school expelled him and another student, whose lineage was not as old, but whose family was as poor as his. My father was caught in an unfortunate game of “hot potato.”  That potato was a new product only recently available in a pharmacy – a condom. The small town,  without much else to divert attention marked both young men.  I wonder how deep that humiliation went?

Within in weeks, my father boarded the train for Baltimore, where his older brother, an engineering graduate from Clemson, had made a successful start – financially and socially. He earned an accounting degree at night school, and found  a promising position with the Federal Land Bank – marrying  a beautiful young woman with a few family issues herself.

Not many people are alive who remember my parents, or their anniversary. Horace and Mildred Williams’ life together  formed so much about what makes me, me – yet as the years slide by, I see how fleeting  my understanding was of the people they were. 

So, what’s my point, I can almost hear my son ask?

Take time to get to know people you think you know like the back of hand – whether it’s a parent, a sibling, a spouse or a child, or a  friend.

4 comments:

cincysue1 said...

Well said, Barbara. It's interesting, but right now I'm working on my mother's family history - of which she knows little. Every fact I uncover, she listens to my report of intently, and is slowly putting the puzzle pieces of her family's life together - at the age 84.

Flo said...

Amen. We have so little time to learn about and love those closest to us.

Betty said...

Well, my neighbor and childhood friend of elementary years, I would love to know YOU like the back of my hand. And I am one who does remember your parents, although I did not know them well, being too busy playing baby dolls with you. As mentioned in previous emails to you, I have fond memories of meals at your dinner table and even being able to use little dinner or sandwich trays on Sunday evenings .... at least that is my memory...not sure if we used them for the treat of watching TV, which definitely would be a treat since dinners in that era were traditionally around the family dining table. And I remember your mother when she would come to my home across the street to play bridge with her neighborhood bridge club, which included my mother. My, they lived in that home a long time, and she was in the club for years. I know she was missed when they moved back to South Carolina to live out the rest of their lives. I feel honored to be one of those few who do remember your parents. They were always gracious to me allowing me to spend time with you and sharing meals with their family. Wonderful and many fond memories from my childhood, Friend. Blessings to you.

bwsmith said...

Thank you all for taking the time to read and comment. Your words mean a lot!