Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Story to Tell by Cindy Hester

"With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding." Job 12:12

Before I begin today's writing I must send out a plea to all of my dear readers - please take plenty of pictures, print them out, and label them for future generations. Also, preserve family stories in writing before they are forgotten. I am fascinated by the history revealed in records left behind by my  grandparents. Maw Maw Hood must have loved pictures since she had numerous boxes in her possession, whereas Maw Maw Moore preferred to record her memories in writing. I can still close my eyes and see her sitting at her dining table, steam rising from her coffee cup with one notebook dedicated to writing gardening tips from Dewey Compton, and another to record the day's events. Perhaps this explains my obsession with photographs and my love for writing.

There are many potential tales emerging from the pictures left behind. I am attempting to take photos  related in subject and savor the stories they reveal...I have a different plan for the written diaries. My story today revolves around my grandmother, Mrs. Winnie Wright Hood. Imagine a time in the mid to late 1920's. This was the post-war era of economic growth, especially in the south, leading up to the Great Depression. Automobiles were becoming more prevalent, and the oil boom had brought about economic diversity in an area previously dominated by agriculture and the timber industry. Spindletop oilfield produced an unprecedented volume of oil, which marked the beginning of the petroleum industry we know today. Prohibition, women's suffrage, immigration, and racial discrimination were but a few of the political realities of the day.

My Grandmother, Winnie E. Wright Hood
Imagine now a young woman in her late teens or early 20's leaving her small farming community during such a time, and entering the world of door to door sales for Davis Baking Powder. I wish I had spent more time asking her questions about this time in her life. I remember a few stories she told, but as a young child, a preoccupied teenager, then a busy young mother, I had trouble seeing her any other way than as my grandmother. I am sad that I did not understand the hidden adventurous person she must have been. I wish I knew more of the events surrounding her decision to go, how long she was gone, the challenges she faced, and the memories she made.

My Grandmother and fellow employees at the Davis Baking Powder building.

 My grandmother, Winnie Wright (Hood), on the far left-hand side with work friends from Davis Baking Powder (note the car)

My grandmother, Winnie Wright (Hood) - second from the right - visiting Spindletop near Beaumont, Texas during her days at Davis Baking Powder.

I wish I knew the story of what drew my grandmother and grandfather together, her being 24 and him 35 when they wed. I wish I had paid more attention when she spoke of the troubles she had being able to carry a child full term before finally being able to give birth to my Dad, almost 10 years into their marriage. I wish I had seen her more as a person than simply as my grandmother.

My Maw Maw (Winnie) and Paw Paw (Arch) Hood
My Maw Maw Hood and my Dad, Frank Hood

To my children, nieces and nephews, read these stories and treasure them. Learn of your heritage and pass it on. Remember that each person you meet has a story to tell, and the longer the life, the richer the story. To my readers, live your story. Each new day is a fresh tale waiting to be told. Your adventure does not end until the last breath is drawn. Quite possibly the most powerful chapter of my Dad's life was the last. The final paragraph impacted me beyond anything yet experienced, and for that I am grateful. Each of us is a memory in the making. Dear Lord, please help me to be a good one.

"Every believer must be a kind of psalmist, either literally or privately, that living itself has been given, at least in part, as a way of knowing God intimately. Every event takes on a significance in that context, for there is no waste in experience."
Phyllis A. Tickle


A Poem for Bear By Maw Maw Cindy My dear little Bear who sleeps soundly and tight So peaceful and trusting, your cares free...