I am the fifth child of six children. There were 10yrs between the youngest and the oldest. My mother decided to go to nursing school after the sixth child was a couple of years old. Can you imagine? She had gone through the tenth grade. I have great respect for the tenacity of my mother.
She worked double shifts after she graduated to help put food on the table. That meant the older siblings watched the younger ones. This was not always safe for the youngest ones, but I believe the angels watch over us. There were some broken bones, and I swallowed (my sister told me they were M & M’s) some of my Mother’s pills and had to have my stomach pumped out. Mom was home, and I can remember being walked around the house to stay awake till I could get to the hospital. Barry, the baby, had a tractor run over his leg and it was a compound fracture (my dad was driving it). But most of the “accidents” were when adults were around.
I was raised as a Seventh Day Adventist. (My Father’s parents were this religion.) We lived in a small community that had a Seventh Day Adventist college, high school and elementary school. There was a small public school that went from 1st to the 10th grade. That’s the school that I went to except for the one year I went to the “private” elementary school in the 5th grade. It was the only year I went and then it was back to the public school for me. After the 10th grade, I drove five miles to the high school with my sister, Beverly.
I went to the 7th Day Adventist church probably until I was about thirteen, when I refused to go anymore. No one else was going by that time except my Dad. Mamaw, my Mother’s Mom, and my Dad argued quite a lot about religion. She was United Pentecostal. There’s a big difference in these two religions. However, both of them are what I call “a don’t do” religion. I decided to have nothing to do with “religion” at a young age due to so much of that negativity.
There was a family of five girls in that small town where lived, that truly lived the way they believed. Right or wrong it was what it was in their home. I had great respect for Mr. and Mrs. Wetmore. JoAnn and Sandy were my two best friends growing up. We got into some silly mischief and when I went on to the 11th & 12th grade at the neighboring town, they went to the “private” school. I lost touch with them. But I will never forget their family “rituals”. They were faithful. I loved them, because they lived what they believed and were a very close-knit family. We would sleep out in the back yard in a tent during the warm summer nights, and go to the Cleburne State Park for swimming. Mrs Wetmore took us swimming at the city pool five miles away. I look back at those days with much love and affection. Mr. Wetmore was a strict man and consistent in his rules for his children. He had his hands full with five girls! Two of those girls had a diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis. One dying at a very young age. My friend Sandy was married and had a healthy baby before she passed on. Her sister JoAnn raised her child. It was a difficult disease to see her deal with, but looking back she did it with grace from above. This was a Christian family I am proud to have known.
I escaped my home life a little bit by going to my friends’ house a lot. That’s the point of the long previous paragraph. I was not very happy back in those days. We were scattered as a family unit due to my father traveling in his different jobs and my mother working double shifts. My parents did the best they could with what they knew. In the later years before both of them passed on, I was able to tell them I loved them. My father was hit by a car while riding a bike. This was in the mid 1970’s and he was in his 50’s. My mother passed on in her mid 70’s. They were divorced and had remarried. Both of them are in Heaven and at peace. I love them and know they did their best for all of us.
I am the person I am today and have some of the best work ethics, due to seeing my Mother work so very hard. I’ve passed them on to my children. ( As my sisters and brothers did to theirs.) We each saw our childhood in a different light according to our personalities. I am telling my story here. So I see it in the light of the way I saw it.
Take away is this: Even when you are raised in a legalistic religion, if you see love and consistency, the grace of God is shown in abundance. I saw that more than once with my experiences in the Wetmore family. Mr. Wetmore was Law, but Mrs. Wetmore was Love.
“The presence of God takes up residence in a person enabling them to live above human standards. That is grace.” Bill Johnson