Friday, September 07, 2012

Pilgrim's Pride

I was thinking this morning about my ancestors and the great heritage they have left me. I am pretty sure that most Americans can say that they came from families without much money. I know I can. My family tree consists of paupers and Pilgrims, pioneers and patriots. Maybe even pirates, who knows? Yes, Patchs for sure! But no where on my family tree do I see dollar signs. They were salt of the earth, working class people. They did what they could and what they had to do to take care of their families. My grandfather went to college in Chicago to become a chiropractor. He never got to practice. Instead, the depression came along and he drove trucks. My grandmother didn't have a job outside the home, but what a worker she was! Though she was raised on a farm, she ended up living in the city of Buffalo, NY with a garden in her backyard. My grandparents rented out rooms in their home to make ends meet, and their children slept in the attic. Trust me, this was no bed and breakfast! At one point my father's parents lost their home and could not find a place to move into as soon as they needed. My mother's parents told them that if they got desperate they could stay in their cellar. Well, they actually did become that desperate, and for a few months they took up residence next to the furnace in a very small room with only a bed. This must have been in about 1947 because I remember (and I was only a year old) calling down the radiator grill in the floor to my grandfather and hearing him call back to me. A sweet memory for me, not so great for them.
Another family of mine lived on the plains of Alberta, Canada. They farmed their land and fought the elements and whatever else life threw at them. They were Mormons and from them I got my faith and my fat legs. No, not all Mormons have fat legs, I just happened to have been blessed doubly. 

My Great-great-grandfather Davidson died from an accident while chopping wood with an ax. No doctors were in the area and one of the boys rode as fast as he could to Lethbridge to get a doctor. The doctor wouldn't come. He said it wasn't worth the ride as grandfather would be dead by the time he reached him. Turns out he was right. 

When it came time for the crops to be harvested, neighbors came from all around, bringing their own harvesting equipment (whatever they had back in 1897) and they harvested all the crops for Grandma Davidson. I suspect there are many, many stories like this across America. Communities pulling together to take care of their own. 

Granted, this story took place in Canada, but the community spirit is the same. My grandmother used to love to sing Oh Canada.I love to sing America the Beautiful! I love this song! It is emotional and stirring and full of wisdom and inspires us to be better people, better Americans! It unites us! Click on the link and read the words. They are amazing. 

 America! America! God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood, From sea to shining sea! 

 My heritage was built on the backs of my ancestors, and they came from many different countries to build this nation into something great. They were paupers and Pilgrims, Pioneers and Patriots! I bet yours were too!


Gypsy Quilter said...

Marcie, you are so very right! My maternal great grandfather was shipped from an orphanage in England to a work farm in Canada. My maternal grandmother was hired out at age 12 as a nanny, housekeeper and cook. My paternal grandmother lost her husband when he was 42 and raised 8 children on very, very little. My dad told many stories of poverty growing up. He never liked to see food wasted and always taught me to make do with what was available. So many valuable lessons were learned from these hardships. Thanks for sharing that wonderful picture and a bit of your family history.

Libby said...

I'm sure you are so right - but not many of the stories have survived for me to retell. Except a funny anecdote: One of my mom's uncles used to tell Mom when she was young that she had ancestors. Poor mom was just terrified of the affliction she carried and wondered why none of the adults were taking steps to find a cure for her *lol*

Tina said...

Great post!!

Lindah said...

Thank you for a wonderful post, Marcie! And it is true in my family, too... paupers, pioneers; patriots all.

onlymehere said...

I saw this kind of community interaction first-hand as young child and then again in my teens. My sister had died in a tragic farm accident. The very next week during a lightening storm my brother was hit by lightening and so was our hay stack which started on fire. While attending to my brother neighbors came running and helped to move bales of hay to keep the hay stack from being a total loss. Later in my teens when my father was in a horrible car accident (hit by a drunk driver) our community came together and harvested his crops. He was in the hospital for nine months and they helped mom out with the work during this time. Finally when my brother died on a scouting trip our community and others came together to search the river for his body. During this time women brought in mountains of food and were there to support us emotionally. Also, once again, men came to move the sprinkler pipes on the farm and to help out. Yes, America is a wonderful place and a Mormon community is a great place to live (I'm a Mormon myself). Thanks for listening to me ramble!

JIM said...

Really nice Marcie. Strange that we have the same ancestors?? We must be related and I'm so glad you are my daughter. You bring joy to my heart and strength to my soul. Thanks for reminding all that was done in the name of friendship in those long ago years Wish it was the same now??


JIM said...

I neded to write another comment and this is about America. I'm glad you love it like I do.I tear up every time I hear it. Some where there's a line-up of my Remembrance Service at least I hope there is--a service, not a lineup. Any way I gave a program to each Bishop and I wanted you to know America the Beautiful is to be sung at the Memorial. Me again

Kat Bennett said...

Hi, Marcie. I'm new to your blog, and I loved reading about some of your family history. If they were only around to tell us more! I see Frances Grant on your blog. I'm a Grant. She even looks like my uncle- Howard Grant, who lives in central NY state (me, too). Your quilts are absolutely beautiful. The colors reach right out to me. Thank you for sharing all you do!