When I was asked to write a piece about myself for the Wayside Beacon, my first thought was “Oh no, I can’t do that — I don’t want to do that.”
Then I quickly thought of a quote I’d recently read. It went something like this: “You must do that which you think you cannot do.” More importantly, I thought of a quote from the Bible that I had written on a 3×5 index card 50 or 60 years ago when I was raising four young children. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians IV, 13).
I referred to that index card through the years of the usual small problems of childhood: the noise, the squabbling, the messes, the illnesses. And that quote on the index card did give me strength. Phil was a very good husband, but a farmer works long hours and doesn’t have much time to change diapers, etc.
So how does one write about her life without using the words I, me, my or mine too much? Well, I don’t know, but I’ll try.
I was born on a farm in the small (population at that time was less than 1,000) town of Roxbury, Connecticut, the youngest in a family of five children. It was at the beginning of the Depression – the “real” depression, a time when most people were impoverished. Most people, that is, except our wealthy neighbors, some of whom lived and worked in New York City during the week and came out to the country on the weekends. One such childless couple wanted a baby and asked my parents if they could adopt me. Fortunately, my father said “No.” I cannot imagine how my life would have been if I had been adopted.
My days as a young child were spent playing with one of my sisters who was only 20 months older than I was. We would freely wander through the fields and woods, play in the barns and in the brook, go wading and fishing and get excited about 6” trout. Often, we would make up games as we went along.
We went to a one-room schoolhouse, (one teacher for all eight grades) and to the Episcopal Church, though not every Sunday.
“Church” had no special meaning to me. We sat and listened; didn’t understand but behaved as we were supposed to behave.
My mother was very strict. She also was quite sickly and died at the age of 46 when I was 10 years old. My father was more lenient and loving, and I idolized him.
After high school I went to UConn, where I met my future husband, Phil. At the end of my freshman year, my father died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 54, just before final exams. I was 19. My life was turned upside down.
After graduating from UConn with a 2-year certificate in agriculture, I was at loose ends, so I went to Chicago where a good friend was in nurses’ training. I got at job in the hospital and rented a room in a private home for $10 a week. That lasted for three months. Chicago was too much city for a farm girl. Besides, Phil was in Connecticut. I came back and we were married 1 1/2 years later, in 1951.
We joined the Broad Brook Congregational Church, which was Phil’s family church. It was quite different from the church I grew up in. I liked the less formal service, the minister Rev. Ralph Beets and the friendliness of the people. I soon became involved and assisted with the nursery age children and have been on various committees, including Mission, Trustees, Stewardship, served as a historian and am presently on the Friendship Committee.
Phil and I have been married for 61 years now, and have been members of the Broad Brook Congregational Church for 60 years.
Oh – the index card? I still have it and occasionally look at, as I did a few days ago when asked to write my story.