My niece Valerie and I are three years apart in age. She was always a beautiful sweet girl with red hair and sky blue eyes .Valerie and I have entered the senior citizen category. My mama was a plain woman as far as society was concerned. She was born in Rogers Arkansas and lived all across Missouri Kansas and Arkansas. She moved to St.Louis when my sister Cecilia got very sick and almost died. In those days you moved near a hospital if you had a very sick child. Mama had a very hard life. Now that I am in my senior years I can see things more clearly. Of all my sisters, Cecilia is the one who had an almost identical life to my mother. They both had 14 children, both of them suffered a lot of hardship, and both of them didn’t want other people to know. They were proud and humble women. I thought about why they had all those children. Mama didn’t have birth control pills in the 1923 when little Jesse was first born. Cecilia started having her babies 60 years ago and she was about 16. She also said she used every birth control measure available at the time. Do I believe in predestination? I don’t know. My dad’s brothers were married but had wives who couldn’t have any children.
All of Cecil”s kids turned out well. They all became a loving and beautiful family even though they were very poor.
I have seen some families that had every blessing known from God only to become a very dysfunctional family.
It broke my heart to see my niece Valerie, three years my junior constantly babysitting when she was a young girl. Cecil didn’t have a choice, Valerie had to stay home and watch the kids because Cecil was going to the clinic constantly. Valerie and I are about the same age but we had a different life. I didn’t have much either but I was the thirteenth child of 14. Mama was 41 when I was born. When I was growing up there were only four of us kids left. My other sisters and brothers had their own families. Valerie was the first born and she was the little mother. My oldest sister was over 22 years my junior and she got married and had her own family. My sister Pauline gave my brother and me a lot of attention when we were little. She got married at 16 but we were like her children. She taught us how to write, our ABC’S and The Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 23. We received special attention. My sister Ruby would take me to play with my niece Brenda the whole summer as a child. I remember Valerie had a whole bunch of kids to watch, when she was 10 years old. She had to help take care of them. Cecil did the best she could, I know that. It’s just that I felt Valerie missed out on being a kid. Lowell, my brother-law had epilepsy and he couldn’t hold a job long. He stayed with his family and in those days, a man who stayed with his wife could not get any funds from welfare. Life was just hard.
Today Valerie is a very happy grandma, aunt, . great mother, and is gorgeous as ever. She has a beautiful smile, shiny auburn hair, and sky blue eyes . She looks much too young to be a grandma. I love her very much. I hope Valerie takes good care of Valerie. Love, Auntie