Monday, January 16, 2012

Alive in the Moment...

Sylvia Hall

"If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people."
By Thich Nhat Hanh 

My grandmother, Sylvia Hall-Hepler born October 14, 1901 -the anchor of our family is within me. She resides in the resilience and unassuming strength that drives my personal human spirit beyond life’s early stumbling blocks.
Sylvia standing (on right) with her siblings
As I delve deeply into the six acquired crates (read here) of old photos, letters and newspaper clippings that document people and events in my family linking back to my great-great grandmother I’m faced with an altered interpretation of family ties.  The attainment of these commemorations has taken me down memory lane; in addition, it has invariably linked points of information and answered questions although presenting other enquiries.


I’d like to begin with an apology to my grandmother. You see, in past conversations about obtaining my teaching and master’s degree, I proclaimed to all I spoke with that I was the first in my family to go to college; it turns out that is not exactly true.



Grandma's graduation announcement (click to enlarge)

On June 13, 1918 my grandmother graduated from Tiffin High School. In viewing her past report cards she excelled in spelling and literature; so I must come by my love of reading and writing naturally which makes me proud! Grandma didn’t do so well in U.S. History, Chemistry or Math. Hah! I guess I am her granddaughter; those are the subjects I could truly do without and never made the best of grades in those areas.

Her 9th-12th grade report cards (click to enlarge)
It seems when my alma mater, Bowling Green State University was founded in 1914 it began as Bowling Green State Normal College. Tuition was free in those early years and the college offered a 1-year short course for rural teachers which my grandmother was a part. A letter dated Aug. 24, 1920 to her uncle my grandma wrote of the courses she was taking and was soon to leave the rigors of the university to teach in Rockaway, Ohio.

School of children in front of the one room school house in Rockaway, Ohio.

To my sister Dawn and me, both ended up in teaching, the passing of the torch was without fanfare although nostalgia embraces tight the early conception.
Grandma was a tough durable woman who holds my heart at the core of her being. She remains in my nucleus as she whispers endorsements through similar likes, dislikes as well as choice of vocation. I clutch this melancholy softly keeping her alive within the palm of my hand.
"Other things may change us, but we start and end with family."
by Anthony Brandt



27 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

she sounds like a real go-getter! :)

Marydon said...

What a lovely write of your grandmother. And these photos are fabulous. TY for sharing ...

Have a lovely week ~
TTFN ~
Marydon

Susie Swanson said...

She sounds like my grandmother..This was a gret post and I love those old photos..Susie

Ginny said...

How beautiful and strong your grandmother was!!! Your writing about her is such a wonderful tribute, and what you have to say at the end, the beauty of your words, has brought me to tears. You are so blessed to have these documents and pictures!!!

Journaling Woman said...

Great post and photos. It's amazing to discover cool things about our ancestors.

T

Jeanie said...

What a great tribute to family and to your grandmother. How great that you are finding out such interesting things.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh My Gosh---this is wonderful, Tracy... You are so so so fortunate to have all of this information --and also to have had a special grandmother like that. I didn't know any of my grandparents since they were all dead before I was born...BUT--as much as I love Family History ---this information is AWESOME.... Thanks for sharing.
Hugs,
Betsy

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Tracy,

Wonderful quote. It is amazing to note that you have preserved all these memorable photos and certificates.Your grandma was a fantastic lady considering the fact that she graduated in the early 1900's.

Very few understand that we are products of our ancestors and their genes are living in us.This is indeed an education.

Best wishes,
Joseph

Daisy said...

What a lovely post, Tracy. How neat that you have found these links between you and your grandmother. All those old photos and other memorabilia are truly great treasures.

Myne Whitman said...

This post tugged at my heart. Your grandmother sounds like a real strong woman. I'm glad for you that you're able to connect with her through the pictures and notes.

Rita said...

Really enjoyed reading you this morning; you found a treasure of memories. Thank you for sharing this.
Rita

Max the Quilt Cat said...

HH made a book for her brother a couple years ago of all the old pictures and told the story of their ancestors. it is a good thing to know that past and where you came from. Me... I'm not so sure of my past before HH, but that's okay too.

Have a great day.

pawhugs, Max

Old Kitty said...

Love love love these memories and photos!! So much material here for a gorgeous memoir for the next generation. Amazing. thanks for sharing, take care
x

Jules said...

Isn't it funny how older generations won't boast about their accomplishments but rather smile at ours. :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Out on the prairie said...

lovely thoughts and photos, it is fun to learn more about our family

Bossy Betty said...

Such a wonderful post! Just looking back at the strong women in our families often reminds us to be just as strong and carry on.... Thanks for this lovely look at your family.

Robyn Cook said...

Very few times in a life do you get to know a person who is good to their very core. Grandma was that. Her love for God, her family and the beauty of nature has certainly impacted my life. Her goodness is evident in how terribly she is missed every day - even after so many years.

Jamie Burch said...

This is a lovely post! Thank you for sharing this story and all these wonderful photographs and quotes. Beautiful, Tracy!

Nezzy said...

She sounds like a strong woman before her time!

I loved the old stories and the beautiful pictures that frame 'em.

Great post!

You have a beautifully blessed day sweetie!!! :o)

Arkansas Patti said...

She was a strong woman when it wasn't easy to be one. Today we have all the tools, they had to break trail.
Wonderful post.

LV said...

A wonderful post filled with many treasure of memories. I strongly believe that things should be handed down from one generation to another.

Tina said...

I just found your blog, and what a beautiful first post to read! I love how you weave such a lovely story of your grandmother with the photos.

By the way, I'm a BGSU alum too!

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

Old photos of children are just the best. So innocent. Love the information about your grandmother too. :)

Catherine said...

It's fun to look through old photos and keepsakes to try and figure out where we came from ~ why we are the way we are. Very cool.

xo Catherine

Corine said...

What a treasure!!! :D I would absolutely do cartwheels to be handed such a crate of famiy memories! :)

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

It is nice to learn more about our heritages...realizing they were probably like us.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

How incredible to have those documents and pictures! It must be amazing to make discoveries as you look through them.