Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Memories of Resilient Women

While straightening out the mess in my basement from the upheaval of a renovation we're doing, I came upon letters and cards I'd kept for many years. Part of my problem with clutter is that I can't throw out anything with any sentimental value. Therefore I have the letters my father wrote to my mother in 1922. I have cards and notes written to my mother from dear family members like my cousins Omie, Vivian, and Aunt Josephine Council. I came across photos of family members taken years ago at the Council family reunion and at the 90th birthday party of my Aunt Hortense (Aunt Judy) Tinsley.

That was such a special day. Although Mother had suffered the stroke that left her damaged for the rest of her life, she was there and enjoyed the party. The aunts, uncles and cousins came from long distances and gathered at our new house for bar-b-que and birthday cake. Aunt Annie, her daughter, Vivian, and her granddaughter Pam sat together. Uncle Charlie's children, Paul, Walter and Monteen along with their spouses, came to honor our dear aunt who had no children. I'll scan those photos and post them soon.

Reading a letter from Vivian, who is gone now, brought images of her mother, Annie, and the deep love those two had for each other. Annie was unfortunate in marriage, and after her last husband was killed in an accident, she moved next door to Vivian and in time became more dependant on her daughter. Vivian cared for her until she died. Pam followed in her mother's footsteps and cared for Vivian in her home until she passed away. This family of strong, devoted women never failed in their loyalty to each other. Aunt Judy lived within their circle in her later years. Vivian took care of her just as if she had been Judy's daughter.

Council women, even in the toughest times, never gave up or gave in.

Sarah Brock Council, wife of Tom, was left a widow at an early age. But she had been head of the household in the home in Pelham, Georgia for a number of years because Tom, her husband, continued to live in Florida on the farm. Sarah, mother of grown children as well as a young son, Coy, age 10, rented rooms in her home to help make ends meet. She taught her children to be resourceful, and, while the girls, when single, earned money and bought pretty clothes, they grew up with a strong woman as a role model.

Sometimes we don't know we are resilient, but we do what we have to do, what is expected of us, and others surprise us by saying, "You are so strong." We may wonder, "what choice do I have?"

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