Gloria Louise was a private woman, one that I struggled to know throughout my childhood, teen, and young adult years. She lived through most of them, dying recently at age 95.
One gift Gloria liked to give in her later years was spiral bound books of her life.
These are gifts that I treasure and feel close to my grandmother in a way that I didn’t while she was alive.
Gloria writes “I don’t propose to write of great trials though I have been through the refiner’s fire…Therefore, let it suffice to say…I have had my trials but through them all, life has been beautiful. I am grateful for the many happy, wonderful experiences I have had.”
Perhaps Gloria learned how to suffer trials gladly by this story she relates of seeing her own mother, Nida, go through a difficult time…
When Gloria had just started school her mother’s youngest sister died of Tuberculosis. For many weeks before this aunt (Shirley) died, Gloria remembers riding to the Sanitorium with her younger sister, her Mother, and Father. The children would sit in the car while the grown-ups would visit. Gloria remembered Shirley fondly, she said she had beautiful red hair, and would share her pictures of movie stars and lacey Valentine hearts with Gloria and her sister.
Losing her was Gloria’s first memory of loss. Shortly after Shirley died, Gloria’s own father became very ill, because he was a veteran of the first World War, he was sent away to the nearest VA hospital on the other side of Washington State. For three months he would write letters home to his little family. Gloria was so young she could not read so her dad sent his daughters cartoons of himself, leaning out of his hospital window and crying buckets over being away, he missed them so.
During this time, Gloria’s mother Nida was pregnant with their third child and they had no income while Dad was away. On one occasion Gloria saw her mother on her knees scrubbing their floor, they were out of wood, but while Nida scrubbed she sang a hymn and wondered aloud “How will all of this turn out?” As the question formed in her mind, she looked out of the window to see her brother, Morris, coming with a truck load of wood. He told Nida that one of his friends wasn’t using the truck that day…and the thought came to him that he should borrow it and get a load of wood for her. Gloria said her mother was always a great example of faith.
I learn many things when I read about Gloria, she was and will always be an example to me of how to endure with grace and see beauty through trials.
One response to “In which I write a Personal Interest Story…or How Well Do We Know Our Grandparents?”
Love these stories of Gloria. She truly was a great woman.