Monday, November 28, 2011

poor, poor Rosa lee

Over the years a lot of people have said I should be a writer, enough have mentioned it to me that I have toyed with the idea from time to time; but I never knew what I should write about. Well now I know. If I ever did write a book it would be about poor, poor Rosa Lee. She is my great Grandmother, and her life seems to have been one tragedy after another . Just when I think it cannot get any worse, my cousin Pat who shares my fascination with Rosa Lee unearths another sad secret. Rosa lost her father when she was a girl, he died in an insane asylum. Though her mother was alive Rosa was declared an orphan was sent to live with the people on the neighboring farm and they eventually got legal custody of her. She married James William Furney and according to medical records had 8 children, though only 5 survived to adult hood. One child we learned died tragically. While being tossed playfully in the air by its father, it hit its head on the door jamb and died. Not long after that Rosa herself was institutionalized and she died a few months later at the young age of 37. Her redacted medical records pile on more tragedy where it is stated that her family described her as "always being more or less stupid" Well, where do you go with that? I am left wondering just what really happened in Rosa's life. Was she really stupid, or just unloved by the people who describe her that way. Who is the family that said this of her, her husband and children, or the ersatz family that took her in, or her own mother who seems to have abandoned her...Did her baby really die in a tragic accident, or was it abused and she knew it and that is what drove her insane? The Doctor also mentioned that her fragile condition was compounded by overwork and lack of stimulation. What was her home life like? Was she surrounded by loving people who watched helplessly as she unraveled right before their eyes, or where they cruel and unmoved, maybe even complicit in her deterioration. So many questions, so few answers, but wouldn't her story make a compelling novel? I want to think the best of these people in such a horrible situation, after all they are my own family, but something in Rosa's story conjures up dark undertones that makes me question what really happened. Maybe its just my over active imagination.
Just now I am tempted to say that it is a story I will never write, but I have learned enough to know that I do not know where life will take me and one day I may very well put pen to paper, or rather fingers to keyboard... so until then I will keep Rosa Lee and her story filed away in the back of my mind, and maybe one day if I ever think I am up to the task I will try my hand at writing a story about poor, poor Rosa Lee.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Me and Murray Earl

Have you ever stopped for a moment and taken stock of where you are and what you are doing and come away utterly astonished at what life had in store for you? Its happened to me several times and almost always because of Steve's long and successful career in the Air Force. The picture captures just such a moment. We had the good fortune to spend a Sunday with a visiting dignitary from Australia, Air Commodore Murray Earl. He is the Australian equivalent to our Chief of Chaplains. Never once while I was growing up in Clovis NM did I think for even a second that I would have an Air Commodore over for lunch and feed him fried okra. Even after I knew he was coming I did not imagine that we would hit it off so well. As it turns out, Murray and I have a lot in common chief among them is a love for Hereford cattle. Not only is he a chaplain, but he is a rancher as well, and having both grown up in cattle country we had a broad base to build on. I proudly showed him my growing collection of ceramic herefords, and he told me about his farm...I had a good time that day and I guess he did too because a few months later I received a package in the mail. It was an Australian book on quilting that he had sent to me in lieu of a hereford for my collection. I doubt we will ever see each other again, but life is full of surprises!