I have never really known what it is to be truly hungry. In America, we say, “I’m starving” all the time, but usually we aren’t even close. I never had to worry about whether I was going to have food to eat or not. Or If I was going to have something clean to wear. Or if my family would have a roof over our heads.
My parents grew up fairly poor, with single moms. My dad’s mom was widowed when he was four; my mom’s dad deserted the family when she less than two.
I never knew my dad’s mom as she died just before I was born, so I grew up with just one grandparent.
I wish I’d gotten to know Grandma better. I’ve learned so much more about her since she died, which was over 25 years ago. I know she had a difficult life working to take care of five children. It hardened her in many ways, but I never saw that side of her. To me, she was always old and sweet with white hair kept in a bun with hair pins. She smelled of Dove soap and made great, lumpy mashed potatoes. She wore lavender dresses and sensible shoes. She never owned a home or a car and she didn’t believe man really landed on the moon. But, considering she was born the year the Wright brothers made their first flight, I imagine it was a hard thing for her to believe.
I never knew this grandfather who left his family stranded in Florida with no money. I’m still trying to piece together all the stories I’ve heard. Still wondering how he could do such a thing. And amazed at the way his life unfolded, because years after he walked away from my grandma, his second wife walked out on him, leaving him with their children.
Even though the family history is one of struggle, my parents did well. For never having known a father, they parented very capably. They did not fall back on excuses of poverty; instead they raised me and my brothers in a very comfortable home. It was a house earned through hard work and a home built with love. It was not perfect, but it was the place where I came to trust the LORD as my Savior. It’s where I still look back fondly and from where I still glean lessons.
My grandfather, Aunt Billie, Aunt Betty, Grandma, Uncle Carter circa 1930