Grandpa’s Birthday

Charlie & Alice Heath

Charlie & Alice Heath

There’s quite a difference between my family and Judy’s. Lucy’s family lived close enough to each other that visits were not unheard of. My mother’s family lived several states apart so rarely visited.

Another difference was the depth of religious influence on the families. My family went to church as required, but this was different!

Lucy writes:

Mother would gather us all together and announce “Grandpa’s coming!” Now he was 6’4″ tall, wore a black suit with a white stiff collar, and was about as handsome as a man could be. He was also “terribly” religious. We had to hide all the playing cards (a sin) and all the music that wasn’t hymns, and he called my mother “Daughter.” Now every night before going to bed we had to get down on our knees on the floor, by a chair, and he would pray and pray and pray. Well Pat, Loly and I would all be at the same chair, and could not be quiet for very long, so would giggle. Grandpa cleared his throat – we’d stop. I thought it strange his (2nd) wife called him “Reverend Heath.”

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Origins

Jim and his mother c. 1927

Jim and his mother c. 1927

What is clear from this letter is that life on the farm was a challenge for Jim, just like it was for Grace and Lucy. Jim had the extra hurdle of being adopted into the Corser family, something neither Grace nor Lucy had to deal with. In the photo at right, it’s clear that something is amiss in the relationship with his adoptive mother.

The part of the story that hits home for me is the influence of religion while on the farm. My religious beliefs have always been a little out of the ordinary, perhaps unconsciously influenced by Jim? Maybe some of my future posts will go a little deeper into religion, one of my favorite reading topics.

Jim writes:

The year was 1949 … I was 25 years old and it was to be the first time I would meet and speak with my natural or birth mother … but that is a story for another time.

In 1926, at the age of two, I was “put up” (as they called it then) for adoption. In those days it was unthinkable for a young, unwed mother to keep her child. Bias and prejudice compounded by pressure from …

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