Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

8.07.2009

Love, Your Great-Great-Great Grandmother

I hold in my hands a part of the past. A scrapbook, the tale of Elmira Meadows' life. One page brings uproarious laughter, but the next draws tears. There is a newspaper clipping from when Teddy Roosevelt was president (1901), a report of the casualties of the Spanish American war in 1898, obituaries from 1894, and, towards the end, something from 1929. Elmira passed this precious book down to her daughter, Edna, who passed it down to my Great Grandmother, Irene.

My treasure trove is not all black and white, as my Great-Great-Great Grandmother filled the pages with carefully cut Victorian flowers, emblems, and stamps. Above, the first page, gives instructions for a superior scrap-book paste made of cornstarch and water. "It is said to be the kind used by all daguerreotypists on gem pictures." The right page contains the announcement of Elmira's wedding to Mr. Jesse O. Meadows in Wallowa County, Oregon. It thrills me to imagine their quiet romance and the hard but sweet life they led!
Only the next page over, though, I feel her tears as obituaries tell first of her parents' deaths, and then of her beloved husband's. "He leaves a wife and five small children to mourn his loss" the obituary says. It also adds, "The family were unable to attend the funeral on account of being under quarantine for scarlet fever."
She still knew how to laugh however, as she carefully pasted in a column of small town news.
"Mr. Tracy Whittaker, of Pearisburg High School, came home to spend the holidays, but after wearing out several telephones in trying to talk to his best girl in Pearisburg, he decided that it was cheaper to stay in that place and returned several days ago.
"Mr. C.L. Eaton added much improvement to his already good looks by getting a new hair cut last week." This is attributed to "Tootsy Wootsy."
(-:

Another clipping reflected on the things that have happened on Fridays. "Lee surrendered on Friday. Moscow was burned on Friday. Washington was born on Friday. Shakespeare was born on Friday. America was discovered on Friday. Lauren posts on her blog on Friday." (Whoops! How did that last one get in there?)

The pages are stiff, thick, and yellow. They report Mrs. Grover Cleveland's taste in dress, and the fact that the "whitest, worst looking hair, resumes its youthful beauty and softness by using Hall's Vegetable Sicilian Hair Renewer." A quote informs us that "a steel thimble is as good as a gold one for a girl who cannot darn her own stockings" while another article deviously lays out tricks to play on Grandpa.


One yellowed page informs about the reprehensible tradition of throwing rice at brides, and it speculates that the "next device will probably be a rice shower, arranged on the principles of stage rain." As I flipped through the pages, an article entitled "Being a Good Sister" caught my eye and my heart. It urges that "it takes brains, heart, conscience, womanhood, to be a good sister....There is no nobler missionary work on this planet than to give [your brother] at least a good sister. You can make no grander contribution to the world's treasure....Every time you add to your worthiness or independence, you add to the capital of the race and the quality of your future."

It is only a book, yes, but from it I learn of this woman who braved the rough life of the West over one hundred years ago. From the clippings she saved, I learn that she was a noble woman and a true follower of Christ.
I am favored with a glimpse into the life of this woman whom I would otherwise know nothing about, and I can't help but wonder if she looked into the future. I can't help but wonder if, as she rocked in front of her fire one cool night or helped her husband on their land one sunny day, she thought about her great-great-great grandchildren.
I do.


8 comments:

  1. How blessed you are to have such a treasure! My question to you - are you keeping/making one of your own? If I ever make it over your way, I would love to take a look at it! :)


    I can't help but realize how much MORE blessed we all are to have God's "scrapbooks" so readily available to us!

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  2. Indeed! I agree with Victoria - you ARE blessed to have such a wonderful treasure passed down from generation to generation in your family! I only wish that my great-great-great-grandparents would have left something for me. :) That is one reason why I am SO determined to have journals, notebooks, a hopechest, filled with things that I can pass down to my children...and with a little something to tell them about each specific item. And yes, if you are making one, I would love to see it sometime! :)
    Blessings,
    ~Miss Raquel

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  3. Yes indeed, girls, I agree that I am blessed! This blog is one form of a scrapbook, another is a photo scrapbook I am working on, and still another is my journal. I need to be even more diligent with them, though!
    What a wonderful thought, Victoria, about 'God's Scrapbook'!

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  4. Hi Lauren and Mikaela,
    I know I am a day early, but I want to wish you both a very happy and blessed birthday!! I hope your day is special, memorable and touched by God in a significant way.
    Just wanted to say, too, that both of you are a blessing to me. I so appreciate your examples of following after Jesus with all of your hearts - and encouraging others to do the same. You are brightening a lot of corners. :)
    May God continue to guide you with His eye on the path ahead!
    Love ya!
    Ruthie

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  5. Oh--how sweet, Ruthie! Thank you so much! That was the best compliment you could have given us! We love you, too!
    --Lauren and Mikaela

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  6. Oh, what a treasure! Thanks for sharing about this, it is encouraging and inspiring! May God bless us each as we leave a legacy for our grandchildren.
    Blessings to you two!

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  7. Thank you, Amy Ellen! You and your family are definitely an inspiration to me in thinking generationally!

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  8. Lauren and Mikaela,

    What a delightful blog you two have! A real joy to stumble upon it via a FB post.

    May our Lord continue to bless you as you serve Him!

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