Monday Musings for 5.11.20
We’re going through a hard time right now. A lot of people are hurting. A lot of people are scared. We don’t know how long this will last or how much harder it might get. We’re in the middle of things right now, which makes it almost impossible to gain perspective. So I thought today I would offer something that might help put things in perspective. I’d like to introduce you to my grandmother, Nellie Watts.
She was born November 11, 1901 in Chandler, Oklahoma. Before her first birthday, she moved with her parents to Central Oregon. They acquired land under the Homestead Act. Her dad was a dry land farmer and a carpenter. The crops were good about every seventh year. Hardly anyone had money to pay a carpenter. It was a struggle to survive.
She was 13 when World War I started, 16 when the United States got involved, and the war ended on her 17th birthday. 22 million died in that war.
As the war was ending, people were dying from what came to be known as Spanish Flu. A third of the world’s population became infected. 50 million died. She was 18 by the time life started getting back to normal. And normal was far from easy.
She was 20 when she married. The stock market crash of 1929 came just after their 7th anniversary, just before her 28th birthday. The Great Depression that followed would last ten years.
In the middle of all this, her husband died. He was 34. She was 32. They had three children. My dad at age 10 was the oldest. The family legend is that he would pretend not to be hungry so there would be food for his brother and sister.
Pearl Harbor came not quite a month after her 40th birthday. Both of her sons fought in World War II. They were among the lucky ones who came home. 75 million died.
She was 49 when the Korean War began. 5 million died.
She was 54 when the Vietnam War began. It didn’t end for 20 years. 4 million died.
The Cuban Missile Crisis came just before her 61st birthday. Life as we know it on this planet might have ended.
She lived to be 84. November 13, 1985 was the day she left us. She was a big part of my life. And, as you can see, she was a survivor.
We’ll survive this, too.
I know there are a lot of good jokes out there about what we’re going through. I have shared a few of them in this space. It’s important to laugh. But this is serious.
We’ll get through it — with faith in God and with the inspiration of those who came before us, and who lived through times worse than this.