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

12.23.2011

With Love From 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.

This is a reposted article from 2009.  Especially at this time of year, I love dwelling on and thanking God for the heritage of family He has given me.  I wish you all a Merry and Blessed Christmas!

11 comments:

  1. What an amazing gift! I love stuff like this. Fir Christmas this year I created an ebook cookbook for my siblings with my mom's favorite recipes. A couple of them came from my dad's great great great grandmother and we found a handwritten cookbook that she had written these recipes in so many years ago. I was able to include pictures of that book in my.

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  2. Hi Lauren!

    This was such a nice post~ and it's such a blessing to have relics from the past like that scrapbook! How amazing :)
    And I was wondering~ can you tell me how to get the new effect that you have on your blog, the little white dots that look like snow falling across the page? Thanks!
    ~Danielle
    http://www.loveliftedyouandme.blogspot.com/

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  3. Hello once again: Your blog is very well done and I so appreciate you both using your gift in writing and communicating as the blog is based from the firm foundation of God's Word defining you both. I allow my daughters to read your blog as often as they like(which is a big compliment)because I know they will love God and their neighbor more because of it. I can use different aspects of the content in your blog to start conversations that encourage young and older women in a Godly way and talk to them about real pressing issues of our 21st centuryness..being feminine in a world of distraction and dismantlement of femininity etc. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. Thank you again for regular updates,content gotten from the greatest resource- God's Word not defined by yourself but from research and I can tell you have a relationship with your parents that make you deep rather than shallow wells. The Lord bless you both .. from the mother of Havilah.

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  4. Hi Dani! I'm the snow master every year, so I thought I'd respond for Lauren on that question. ;-) This year, I used the code from Shabby Blogs. Just click on that link, and it will provide you with the code and instructions for installing it. I'm glad you like the "snow"!

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  5. That is so amazing, and looks like such a precious gift. I love looking at really old things! Thank you also for the comments you leave on my blog (I always look forward to them :)

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  6. Simply beautiful. Thank you and may the Lord bless you and keep you.

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  7. How special to have such a piece of history from an ancestor! A true treasure!

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  8. I do have to admit that at first I thought something was wrong with my eyes... but now I love the snowflakes. What a beautiful touch! :)
    I loved reading about your scrapbook... it looks much like one that my great-great grandma made from a wallpaper sample book. Isn't it wonderful to know how our ancestors were living for His Kingdom too? not to mention the people we still have around us (whom I often forget to love and thank fully). May we live up to the great examples He's blessed us with!
    -- Lydia Holt :)

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  9. Tamara--What a great idea to make that cookbook! My mom has a handwritten cookbook from her mother, who is now passed away, and it is indeed special!
    Dani--Thank you! I agree that it is an amazing blessing!
    DebbieLynne-It is always wonderful and encouraging to hear from you!

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  10. I always hoped I'd simply happen upon a book like that. This is beautiful...what a sweet gift she created, involuntarily, for you.

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