Here is the home where you grew up with your parents and three of your siblings.
Here is the church you attended as a girl and where I was given a blessing by my grandfather.
Here you are in Sunlight with Louise and Dwight
Family photo minus Dwight and Elizabeth
I was fortunate to spend only seventeen years of my life at home with mom and dad. Those years, however, were enough to light my life with memories to last a life time. One of the saddest times of my years was when we moved back from Pennsylvania to Wyoming to be near our families only to have dad and mom move far away only two years after we returned. I was only privileged to see mom a precious small handful of times during the rest of her life. The influence that mom had on me during my years at home and the support she gave me by writing weekly letters during my four grueling years of college have enriched my life forever despite our limited contact during the later years.
I remember Mom reading to us from her college Children's Literature text, one of the few books we had. I remember re-mopping the kitchen floor at her behest when I had given it only a lick and a promise. I remember her long nights of care and concern during the lonely years when dad was gone so often. I remember Mom and Dad letting me leave for college at age 17 without a penny in my pocket without either of them stopping me and asking me how on earth I thought I could get through college without any money. I remember mountains of fried potatoes and invalid eggs and pancakes and orange cake and chocolate pudding and beans and tomatoes and macaroni and applesauce and canned peaches and pears and beans and peas and anything else she could can. I remember Mom turning the water from the Shoshone River down the rows of her garden where she raised everything that could be raised plus gladiolus and dahlias. I remember the worries and concerns our parents had during the long days and weeks of various illnesses that we children seemed to excel at experiencing.
I watched Mother teach Sunday School and then I knew how to teach. I watched Mom and Dad work and then I knew how to work. I watched my parents subsist on practically nothing and then I knew how to be frugal. I watched my parents persevere and then I knew how to tough it out, how to get by. I learned not to cut corners, to do the best job possible and I learned the penalties of shirking one's duty. These are the eternal gifts I received from home in lieu of money. These are the gifts that have guided my life and have lit my path during troubled times. These are the gifts that have made my own accomplishments possible in the face of overwhelming odds against success.
I know that somewhere Mom is in a garden picking big red strawberries and raspberries and digging new potatoes and picking corn and fresh peas. I know that she is in a field of flowers, tall multi-colored gladiolus and gigantic dahlias. I know that she has spent every day of her existence both during and after her earth life with feelings of concern, hope, and love for each of her six children. We were never perfect and I know you never considered yourself perfect. But, thanks to you, we were good enough. We made the grade. We learned our p's and q's and our abc's. And we owe it all to you. So, once more, happy birthday. May your flowers be beautiful and your pain be long gone and may we all look forward to a reunion some day. With love from your children.