Digital Camera

Digital Camera

That’s me, my daddy, my great-grandmother, and granddad.  Picture must be about 77 years old.

My great-grandmother’s favorite song was Farther Along.  “Farther along we’ll know all about it, farther along we’ll understand why.  Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine.  We’ll understand it all by and by.”  And take a look at this first verse.  “Tempted and tried we’re oft made to wonder Why it should be thus all the day long.  While there are others living about us, Never molested tho in the wrong.”  In recent decades that song has been mocked for its pessimism.

I think about her. That child of God had about half of her children come down with Huntington’s disease, one son who committed suicide (I think), two who were on the gangster’s path, no help from a Huntingtons-stricken husband, no government dole, no medical resources, no counseling or psychiatric help, no store for shopping, no car to run off in, and no TV to escape to.  She did have an outhouse, wash board, water bucket, twelve kids, and God.   I assure you I understand her “farther along” mentality.

Her earthly life did get easier.  She lived to about 85 years of age.  Her two gangster sons had become preachers and made good money honestly.  One of those sons became her mentor and my grandfather.  I have nothing but admiration for her and I’m not about to knock her song.

When she was sixteen, did she have a diary?  Did she maybe chronicle a letter to her mother in which she expressed her feelings about being pregnant with her fifth child, or how about how she felt at the birth of the eighth one?  Did she compose a song of thanksgiving that my two-pound daddy lived?  Did she write a eulogy to his first-born twin who died?  Did she make a grocery list for grandpa to take next time he went to the feed store?  Did she make notes in the margin of her Bible?

As far as I know no one has anything left from her own handwriting.  And we will not find anything on Facebook, Word Press, or in the cloud in any form.

Right now my life seems so unremarkable—live in a 2500 square foot house with heat and air, raised two sons, had a career as a teacher, had a television, and phone, —but seventy-five years from now, how will it be?  Will someone down the line ask, “Jay, do you remember Grandma Neta?”  She will, but maybe she can add on, “Let me show you some of Grandma Neta’s writings.  You can see how primitive things were back in that day!”  Or maybe she will say, “God really has been good for our family even back in her day.”

Who knows?  But that’s one reason I write.

(Lesson One, Writing101)




About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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33 Responses to JAY, DO YOU REMEMBER…

  1. dawnlizjones says:

    What an amazing story. Huntingtons? Wow. And I think I have difficulties. I think the song you mentioned is a fairly common theme throughout the Old Testament, and is certainly relevant to today. Your dad was a twin at 2#??? A miracle he survived! I’m glad you’re here!

    • oneta hayes says:

      Yes, he was the smaller; the twin who died was two and a half pounds. I got my generations mixed up in my blog. My great grand-mother did not have twins; that was my grandmother. I’ve got to correct that bit of family history. But it is amazing that daddy lived. He was born in the country, no town, no hospital. Years later I met the lady who was midwife at his birth. I’ve got to blog that story; it was quite a surprise how that happened! I’m glad you’re glad daddy lived; I am too!

  2. We’ve always been encouraged to keep a journal. I’ve one on paper since I was 12, and younger but they were left behind in the Philippines. I keep a blog too separate from my journal and I’ve neglected for a while. You’ve reminded of the reason why I started keeping a journal, I hope to keep up and then maybe in a few decades or so, I’ll be able to share something worthwhile to my posterity.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Kynna, I don’t remember having met you before. Welcome to my space! I will try to return your visit. And do leave some of your life in writing for the benefit of those to come.

  3. SarahC says:

    Farther along we’ll know all about it, farther along we’ll understand why. Yes I do like that song. I wonder if they will have computer like ours, but with all the saving online I guess they will get a good laugh 😀 always a joy to visit your space…

    • oneta hayes says:

      Sarah, thanks and I love your visits. I don’t have the kind of imagination to guess what the major form of communication will be three generations away, but I imagine technology will continue making way to save computer generated material material. I’ve seen projector tapes, turned to cassettes, turned to CDs, turned to power sticks. Yes, it does provide laughs. I wondered whether to use the picture because of its poor quality, but it seemed to fit the message of change.

  4. Oh my Lord, your great grandmother sounds like one resilient woman. Hard times, twelve children, care giver to her partner and later children with Huntington’s Disease… to survive all this with hope is no small feat! Thank you for sharing her.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Yes, when I was young she seemed a “non-entity” she was so quiet. She looks so old in the picture. She was probably about sixty. That seems young to me now. I got my grandmothers mixed up in my post. She was not the mother of the twins. That was my daddy’s mother. I’ll straighten out that error in a later blog. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Debbie L says:

    What a wonderful post! I sort of feel the same way…maybe one day our grandson’s or maybe great grandson’s will see what an adventure filled life we’ve lived and how we constantly give the Glory to God!

    • oneta hayes says:

      We know for sure that is God’s will for our children. Some seem to be pretty pesky about learning however. (Pesky – is that a word? Yep, I looked it up. I don’t think I ever used it before.) But He never fails. He will love and reward all who trust in Him. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  6. pamkirst2014 says:

    Lovely, though-provoking post. The first thing I thought, when you wrote about ‘Farther Along,’ was how comforting those words might have been to Depression kids, living every day with not enough of anything. What a remarkable life you chronicle–love it that the gangsters became preachers! Thanks so much for sharing this….


    • oneta hayes says:

      I have one living aunt who knows more about the conversion of “the brothers.” I must give her a call and see what else I can find out about their stories. She told me one time that “dad got saved in the broom corn field.” That sounds like the makings of a story for a “nostalgic” like me. Yes, we don’t hear so much about Heaven now when people are so comfortable on earth. Do you know the song, “When We All Get to Heaven?” “What a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we will sing and shout the victory.” That was a real hand-clapper in my ancestor’s day! Me, too! Thanks for the visit.

  7. Jackie says:

    It’s amazing how much history we in America are losing. In many other countries, it seems more common for peopke to know about their familiy’s padt. Here, many immigrants wanted to forget the Old World, and learn how to fit in, to be an American. So, they didn’t pass down a lit of their stories. Sad. Thanks for sharing your faith history, though-a powerful testimony.

    • oneta hayes says:

      You have a point, Jackie; that may be a reason we have sort of lost touch with ancestors. When they came as immigrants, they saw it as a beginning anew. And in their busyness written family histories may not have been as important as spending their time lookingforward. It does make sense. Good for those with the sagacity to do both.

  8. Faye Roots says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post. What a testimony of generational faith. So many cannot trace but faint glimpses of that generation. As Australians with all of us except our indigenous people coming from many nations on this earth. I was born in Oz, My father was just.(ie born here but not expected to live beyond his first birthday.(He miraculously survived and even lived through extraordinary events in the 2 World war.) His Italian father, grandmother all the others are lost in the mist of time but somewhere there must have been tremendous God consciousness because my Dad had absolute unflinching certainty that all else may fall apart but Jesus Christ IS. Even my mother was born in Scotland and much history is lost there BUT John Calvin brought to Scotland a black and white hell and damnation. concept of God inherited by one side of my family.
    Your history Oneta is inspiring. Your stories will last. My prayer is that like Debbie blogged above legacy of a wonderful God-life through… inspired (by Him) journalling and writing will be a testimony of His Grace to generations yet to come from each one of us now living.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Yes, Faye, we have abundant resources to be used now that were not available before. Even free, like this Word Press resource. Sounds like you have quite a bit of information that would be important as family history. We both have “miracle” fathers in our lives. What a blessing! “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…” Thanks for comments. I enjoyed your “color” comment today (red).

  9. shoreacres says:

    Hand-written bits and pieces are so important. I don’t have much, but I have some hand-written recipes from my mother, and some letters from my dad. You have reminded me of one treasure I need to get out and put where I can see it.

    After Mom died, and I was clearing out her apartment, I found an old envelope that was tucked into a pile of magazine clippings and such. On the back, she’d written, “Being disorganized is not a moral failing.” How I laughed — and how I wished I’d known she struggled with such thoughts. Everyone has their little secrets — tracing them is one of the joys of life.

    • oneta hayes says:

      That is priceless! Reminds me of David “encouraging himself in the Lord.” She was encouraging herself with the original thought or perhaps she found the statement in a magazine or someplace and she decided to take it to heart. Maybe I need to make a placard… I need two – one for my desk and one for my table! As always you add to my day. Thanks.

  10. Wonderful 😊 They will find you all over cyberspace and the vintage touch that you will leave behind . They will find you in the memories that you create and leave behind. Keep writing 😊

  11. oneta hayes says:

    When this body’s gone, I plan to have left some tracks. Who knows? They might figure out that Gramma Neta flangipropped them!

  12. Colette B says:

    What a fantastic post in response to the assignment! I just loved your wonderfully original approach to answering that question 🙂

  13. Vibrant says:

    Even for her times she had a difficult life. I don’t know how she perceived it, maybe you also don’t!

    I feel in the same times many people have different lives though technologies do make a mass change!

    I feel your life would be perceived as a better one even after 70 years 🙂

    You are a wonderful writer!

    Love and light ❤

    Anand 🙂

  14. Dawn Marie says:

    An indelible footprint of words you leave for the world, erasable marks on the heart for those who find them. Hugs & Blessings!

  15. Pingback: and the winner is….wait, what? | hugsnblessings

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