Thursday, March 12, 2009

Where I Come From

I have always been intrigued by history ... well, Ms. Arenz from High School history class would beg me to clarify, I have always been intrigued by MY FAMILY'S history.

I can remember sitting in my Grandma Straight's bedroom begging her to tell me stories and names of the people in the many pictures there. If it sat still in that room, there was a picture on it! I loved to hear her stories of growing up on the farm in Iowa, the winters spent in town with her grandparents so she and her sisters could be closer to the school, her long train rides on Sunday and Friday evenings to and from her first teaching job ... and so many more.

Grandma is gone now. She was one of four daughters and there are now only two of the girls left - Aunt Buddy (Beatrice) - the youngest, and Aunt Jessie - the oldest. Grandma (Lois) and Aunt Edna have gone to Jesus. I think that the family, realizing that the bearers of our history are not going to be around forever, have found a renewed interest in that history. I, for one, am so Blessed by the fact that initiative to preserve the wealth of knowledge and love in the family line is being taken.

My Grandma and her sister Jessie both married Straight boys - two brothers with the last name of Straight! Aunt Jessie - being the oldest of the sisters - married Uncle Vernon. Vernon had taken over the running of his family's farm and during harvest time the sisters would take turns going to help Jessie keep the farm hands fed and cared for. On one such round of duties my grandparents fell in love. They were married later, even though (as I have heard it) my Great Grandma Mamie was none too happy about losing another daughter to "one of those Straight Boys" - I think she wanted more for her girls than farm life, not that she had anything against the Straight Boys, per sey...

I always thought that it was such a sweet story. Still do! I never had the pleasure of meeting my Grandpa, he went Home to Jesus before I was born. But I LOVED to hear my Grandma talk about him, the love in her voice was so real and strong. His death was sudden and completely unexpected and I believe it was a shock that she never really got over. The sadness was, often times, as evident as the love when she spoke of him.

So, why am I telling you all of this?

I am really not sure, except to say that I was recently emailed some family tree info, as well as copies of some of the same portraits that I remember from Grandma's bedroom. And, while I am still not sure of ALL of the names, I wanted to share with you the three that I DO know. There are my Grandma's parents:

Mamie Charity (Ledgerwood) Nickle

And Roy E. Nickle

This is one of the two of them together. I cannot say for sure, but I seem to remember my Grandma saying that this may have been their wedding portrait. I could be wrong.

I was also given a copy of a letter that Roy wrote to Mamie while he was away from her during their courtship. In it he says that he has no intention of leaving again until he can take her with him. Isn't that sweet? I love it!

I also learned that I am legally qualified to be a member of the Daughters Of The American Revolution - meaning that I have ancestors who, there is documented proof, fought in the American Revolutionary War!!!

Also, on my Grandpa's side (the Straights), there are Mennonite descendants who had come to America to avoid religious persecution. They were pacifists so they refused to fight in the war, but DID pay the taxes to support the war.

So, not only am I a product of people who fought valiantly to protect the country they loved, but also of those who fled their homes and stood up for the right to worship God the way they saw fit.

And THAT makes me so very proud of where I come from!


4 of ya left some love:

Kelly said...

Awesome pictures. I love history also. I am drawn to it. Thanks for sharing. Interesting fact, my grandparents had a farm in Iowa long ago also.

sara said...

I love family history too! I used to sit by my great grandma and listen to all her stories...I loved it!!

this was a great post!!! can you imagine wearing those hats?!

Bev Brandon said...

that is some wardrobe...
but the clothing of the heart---ooohhh! they took off the ornaments---I verse I read today in Exodus 33. very touching.

and i LOVED Roy's letter...
reminded me of that song
Love, Me

happy spring break!

calista said...

I love things like this. I think it comes with age....don't ya just love the way they always felt it necessary to look so serious in all of their photos. I love that.