"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.
|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.