Papa

11/27/97  This is my one-hour history. …The place I was born is located on what is now Rice Road near the Camp Springs/Cherry Grove area.  The house I was born in was very small with a small front porch.  The house has since burned to the ground.  I know it’s exact location and on occasion my wife and I visit the spot.

Many years ago, my brother decided we should participate in a Family History project.  He would assign a topic that would spark a memory, and we would spend no longer than an hour writing what we could remember.  Copies were sent to each of us, and I compiled mine into a treasured notebook.  At my insistence, the first topic given (our one hour histories) was handwritten.  I have always treasured handwriting.  Here are some snippets from Papa’s history.

Mama on left, Papa on right

Mama on left, Papa on right

 

…I have no memory of living in the house I was born.  When perhaps I was 2 or 3 years of age, I recall we lived in a house beside another house in which children lived.  The time that I remember I believe was Christmas.  The neighbor kids got toys that I wanted to play with.

Papa grew up without a lot of money as I suppose many did back then.  I can see in my mind’s eye the little two year old version of him, watching the other  children play with their new toys.  I can see the longing in his tiny eyes.  Eyes that are deep as an ocean now.  Eyes full of things they won’t say.  Wise eyes.  Eyes that see clearly.  Even as I picture him as a tiny tot longing to play with the toys, I can only think that he would have watched, and played with the toys in his mind’s eye and still have been happy in the moment.  He has never been one to complain about the things of the world that don’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things.  Still.  This is a memory he chose to record.

…When about 3 years of age, my family moved to Alamance County and lived in a house that was behind a country store – perhaps 300 yards.  I can recall quite a number of event/activities that occurred while we lived there.  One is that both Donnie – my older brother who is dead – and I got the measles at the same time.  We stayed in bed together since at that time we were pretty much in a quarantine time.  Medicine then was not what it is today…

Papa’s handwriting

 …By the time I was 5 years of age, we had or were in the process of moving to a house located on what is now Mine Creek Road.  This house was the first my parents owned.  My Papa and Mama bought 8 acres of land and on it had a 4 room house built.  There was – typically of those days with us – no electricity, and no running water or bath facilities such as are today.  Nevertheless, we did alright.  I was to live in that house until I was 17 years of age. …

This is the house I remember in this post.  The house holds deep memories for me.  I grew up going to this house every Sunday after Church, in my childhood.  We ate Grandma’s famous homemade biscuits that no one alive today can replicate.  I remember fried chicken, playing down at the creek, and annoying all the aunts and uncles while they tried to watch the animals on National Geographic on the old fashioned TV.

Papa

Papa

…One of the most difficult tragedies that happened to our family was the death of Donnie.  Donnie was struck by a fast moving car when he was 10 years of age and was killed instantly.  My parents never really recovered from that tragedy.  Mama would say that the memory never failed but that it got easier with time.  I have very poignant memories of the whole time.  It was very sad.  Adding to the tragedy of Donnie’s death was the lost hope of Donnie’s future being.  Donnie was a favorite son.  He was quite talented and held much promise.  Donnie and I were great playmates.  After he was gone, I sorely missed him.

This is a story I got bits and pieces of over the years, but never a glimpse into my Papa’s child heart.  Donnie had gone to the little store and purchased some candy with his pennies.  The story was told that he was so excited when he arrived home that he didn’t see the car as he crossed the road.  If my memory holds true, my Papa was with him.  Donnie’s shoe was thrown 30 yards away.  I don’t know why I remember this detail.  This is all I ever knew about it until this handwritten history.  My Grandma and Pap had nine children total, one died in birth (the only girl), another shortly after birth, and Donnie at age ten.  I imagined my Papa as a child lying in bed at night…all the boys slept in the attic as I understand it, so he would probably have slept next to Donnie every night.  There is no escaping the missing playmate at any time of day.  My daddy would have been 8 at the time.

The story continues about his joining the military when he left home at age 17, joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, serving a 2 1/2 year mission in Japan, going to BYU and marrying my Mama.  I suppose the legacy my Papa has left to us kids is his abiding faith in God.  We will never doubt that he believes in his Savior.  He is a quiet man now.  In his retirement he sits in his chair and reads many things, but always Scriptures.  He is deep in the thinking, ponders a question carefully before he answers, and several times he has calmed my mother heart as he takes my sobbing self in his big bear arms and whispers “everything’s gonna be alright Julie.”

I write this hour that I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true and all that appertains unto it that is based on the scriptures and the words of the Latter-day Prophets is verily true.  The Lord in numerous ways and seasons has shown me the truth.  I know the Lord lives and guides the Church today.  May all gain and hold to a testimony of the truth….I’m so very grateful to the Lord.  It matters not the views of man toward myself.  I know the Lord looks upon me and mine with kindness, mercy and love – I’m so very grateful.  May the Lord bless you each one and all…

This, my children and grand children, is your Papa.

julie_nc_2012_002

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