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The treasure I got in my mailbox

This heartfelt article just arrived from my Aunt Jessie, my mother's eighty-something-year-old sister, following a recent telephone call that I had made to her, asking about our family history. I had come across a portion of this article when doing some research, and called to get more details from Aunt Jessie. She told me that it was sent to her, and asked if I'd like to have a copy of it. This beautiful tribute was about my great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Gable Jackson, who was born in 1851. It is hard to fathom, but she was born 156 years ago! What an amazing woman she must have been and I'm thankful that someone took the time to write this. I hope that this letter, written by the daughter of my grandpa Jay Jackson's only sister, Julia, can put life into perspective for you a bit more clearly, as it has for me. And in no coincidence, my mother was named for this Aunt Julia. (Today is my mother's birthday, and that is a coincidence.)
I Remember Grandma
by Mollie Ruth Carpenter Lee Hummell

It was very difficult for me, a little girl of ten, to stand alone and see my beautiful golden haired mother of twenty-eight reach up and ask me to be a good little girl and mind grandma, then slip into eternity.

Plans had already been made for me to live with another relative, so after the funeral was over, I was taken to another city to live. Having lived in the country all of my ten years, loving all the wild things of nature, being an only child, I found it very difficult to live in a large town and have other children around. Being lonely was a part of my every day life. Trying to adjust to the ways of large schools, being dressed differently than the other children made it harder. I missed the cute little starched dresses my mother made for me. Having to comb my own hair, which was long and hard to manage (which was finally chopped off) was very difficult. I somehow finished out one term of school.

My aunt told me I could spend the summer with my grandmother. No one ever knew how glad I was as I had not seen her for nearly a year. I felt and knew how she loved me. How glad she was to have me with her as I had spent much time with her, as had all of her grandchildren. Seems as Grandma's house was such a good place to leave the children during the summer--her big yard, orchard, cows, chickens, the peace of the hills and Grandma's wonderful food made all the children love it.

As I look back, I wonder how she stood us. After raising seven children of her own, it must have been very trying.

When the time came for me to go back to school, I refused to return to my aunt's home, and for the next seven years I lived with my grandma. I learned so much from her through those years which laid dormant until the things I learned have unfolded like I'm sure she meant them to. I feel so glad as I am now a grandmother and had her as my guide and teacher. She was never idle--mending, canning, cleaning, visiting the sick, delivering babies. She delivered many babies, me included. When anyone in the whole countryside was ill, or if someone passed away, they sent for her. When any of her children hit a rough spot, they moved in with her.

I have seen Grandma raise and put up fifty gallon barrels of cucumber pickles and could not eat even one bite. They were just for the rest of her brood.

I can remember her back door, always bare, was swept as often as her kitchen. I remember the pan of moss roses always watered and blooming by her back door. I remember the braided rugs she made. She never discarded anything of value.

I remember never once did we sit at our table without grace--our family prayers at evening. I remember our horse and buggy, the miles she and I have ridden together, to church, to see the rest of the family. She never left me alone.

As the years passed, I longed to have my mother and daddy as other little girls had, but then there was always Grandma for me. Never once did she suggest I call her "Mama," which she really was to me.

As the years go by, I am amazed as I look back on the things she accomplished, this mite of a woman not five feet tall.

As I look at the grandmothers of today, with their curls, polished nails, clubs, social lives, modern homes, stylish clothes, I wonder which is the most important.

I believe if she were living today, she'd be the same useful person. I have never known another woman whose life was so completely to the service of others. I remember Grandma, her lessons of devotion to God, home and neighbors.

If all could be interested in his own neighborhood instead of trying to reach out and meddle with all other neighborhoods, this would be a happy world.

Comments

Heidi said…
That is motivation for us all to keep memoirs of our loved ones I think! Blogs are a good starting place.
Lonna said…
Kelly I am so glad that you posted this little letter. My grandmother is a lot like this. She is so short but so independent. Thanks for bringing back a lot of great memories for me. I really needed this.
Amen to Heid and Lonz :) This got me all emotional. I'm so glad I get to go to Cali and see my Grandmas again in a few days. They are AMAZING women as well. Thanks for the touching post Kel.
Kelly said…
How it touched me too, to read this. Especially because I come from basically a non-LDS family and these sort of treasures just don't exist in abundance. So it was extra special to me and I will treasure this glimpse into the past of my great grandmother. I read the letter to Lindsey last night and she LOVED it, and was so happy to hear that her great, great grandmother was under five feet tall, like her, and provided a lot of service for others.
Julie V said…
Oh how neat! I love this letter. When was it written? I would love to have a photocopy of yours. That is so special to me, to know that I had a grandmother like that. Is the author still alive? I have been wanting to have an inspiring connection to my ancestors so badly and this is so perfect. Thanks for keeping in touch with Aunt Jessie and asking her important questions!

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