Thursday, September 24, 2015

Strawberries and Rugs

Strawberries and Rugs
by Cynda Lawry

When I go to the back of my mind I can only remember two things about Great-Grandma Lawry. Her strawberries are my most pleasant memory about her. They were mashed and full of sugar. She had to satisfy the Lawry sweet tooth.

Dad tells a story about Grandma Lawry and one of her sisters. They were bickering over whose strawberries were the best. He would always laugh and say that mixing a pint of each would make the best strawberries ever.

My second memory of Grandma Lawy endears me to her even though I hardly knew her. She was dying. I didn't know that then. She had been admitted into St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Smith. Her condition was absolutely hopeless. The doctor said she was going to die and might as well die at home rather than in a lonely hospital room. My parents, Grandma Pat, and Aunt Opal took me when they went to get her.

When we entered the hospital it was new and intimidating. The hospital seemed humongous and overwhelming. Nothing in the small town I lived in could compare to this. Pale statues glared at me critiquing my every move. I carefully contemplated each step because I didn't want to be convicted of some terrible crime.I gazed curiously at some funny looking ladies in bizarre clothes. They wore plain black dresses that came to about the middle of their calves. Long black fabric was draped over their heads.

Grandma's room was upstairs so we took the elevator. In front of it their was a brass plaque in the shape of a tree. Light reflected off of it scattering the colors of the rainbow everywhere. Each leaf was an individual plaque thanking some hospital supporter.

Riding the elevator was extremely exciting because I hardly ever rode in elevators. The First National Bank was the only building in Mena (the town where I lived) that had an elevator

"Ding", the elevator stopped. I exited quickly because I was afraid the doors would close on me. Even today I'm afraid of being squeezed to death by those doors.

To the left of the elevator was a gift shop. Its walls were made of glass. Through them you could see all the neat but useless trinkets that attracted the eye.

Aunt Opal took me inside. She bought me a little Christmas ornament. It was a green stuffed cat. The cat laid with its head up and it tail hanging slightly curved. I still have that ornament, Every Christmas when I see it on the tree I think about Aunt Opal and Grandma Lawry.

When we went into Grandma Lawry's room I didn't care about my dying grandmother. I was captivated by the Rudolph special that was playing on the small television in the corner of the room. The only good spot to see television was from Grandma's bed. So I immediately began to crawl into it. Daddy jumped to stop me, but Grandma objected. She wanted me up me up there with her.

That is all I remember about my Grandma.  My parents thought I was too young to go to her funeral.  Even though I only have a few tidbits of information about her, I love her.  I know she loved me too.

Memories of Hazel

by Lloyd Lawry

My relationship with Hazel got off to a poor start. Daddy had brought her to Wichita where I lived with my mother and step-father. Daddy said, "this is your new Mama," which of course, was the wrong thing to say to a little boy who loved his mother as much as I did.

The other thing I remember about their visit didn't mean much to me at the time, but it certainly touches my heart today. I can still see in my memory Hazel sitting at my mother's bedside crying because they both knew that mama was on her deathbed. I'm sure mama must have known Hazel would be good to me, because in a letter to Grandma Lawry in January 1928 she said, "of course I want to stay with Lloyd, but if I can't I know his Daddy will care for him and that makes it not so hard."

Daddy brought me to Buffville in June of 1928 to visit with him and Hazel. Of course they knew my mother would die soon. I enjoyed my visit as there were lots of things for little boys to enjoy in Buffville. On July 11,1928 Hazel wrote Grandma Lawry that Leslie and I "put in a lot of time fishing and swimming." For some time Hazel would clean the little fish I caught, but when she tired of cleaning them and told me I must clean my own, I quit bringing home so many!

Mother died July 19,1928, and I came to live with Hazel and Daddy. I was grief-stricken and resentful of Hazel, and I wasn't very nice to her. In spite of my attitude she was very patient with me. However, I remember her switching me twice - once when she left me to watch Opal on a blanket in the front yard and I ran off and left her sitting alone, and once when I ran off and avoided going to Sabbath School.

After the brickyard closed in 1929 we moved to a farm east of Buffville where we rented a house with a garden and pasture for our cow. I was lonesome and Hazel tried to find something to relieve my boredom. She had me scrub my own overalls sometimes, and had me work in the garden. I felt abused, but I thought it was all right for her to scrub the clothes!

In early September of 1931 Daddy and Grandpa Reeve left home to hunt for work. They found it in Campo, Colorado harvesting broom corn. They got 10 cents an hour and had to provide their own board and lodging.

While they were gone Grandma Reeve lived with us. The rural ice man came by twice a week and we could buy 12 1/2 pounds of ice for a dime. We would make a gallon of ice cream and the three of us would eat it all before the evening was over. Small wonder that Delbert weighed 11 3/4 pounds when he was born on September 27!

The night he was born I had to walk about 1 1/2 miles to have a neighbor phone for the doctor. I was 12 years old, but still little boy enough to be scared. I stayed with the neighbor all night and they told me in the morning I had a baby brother.

Hazel wanted me to be able to manage for myself when I left home so she taught me how to sew on buttons and mend my clothes and a little bit of about cooking.

Ruth has a small cedar chest I made when I was in the 6th grade. Hazel sold some old hens to get the two dollars to pay for the lumber.

Hazel's care for me was echoed throughput the whole Reeve clan. All of her sisters and brothers as well as Grandma and Grandpa Reeve accepted me as their own. Grandpa Reeve told me many times that I was as dear to him as his own grandchildren

I was completely grief stricken at Hazel's funeral. Losing her after the loss of the other relatives and friends in the past two years was just, the breaking point. When I told Dr. Beltz before the funeral he said that no human could comfort me, but God could.

God is slowly easing the pain and He has given me assurance that I will see Hazel after this life - as I remember her singing in the "Land of Unclouded Day."

Written by Lloyd Lawry 1/11/95