It’s Single awareness Valentine’s Day, and I’m sure your expecting something snarky and cynical, but I did that last year.
So, this year, a little different take on it.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t post this month about the most important love story of my life. Afterall, without it, I wouldn’t be here.
But today isn’t really about me, or my folks, it’s about my sister Judy.
Today is her birthday. She’s our very own valentine.
Mother and Daddy met when he was about 16 years old, she was close to 19. He had gone to Goshen, Virginia to work for the “Sand Plant”. I have no idea what the name of the place really is, I’ve seen it a million times, driven past it, but all I’ve ever heard is “the Sand Plant”.
He was the office manager. He’d “finished” school, and his Daddy, a no-nonsense guy, had told him to find work. It was the depression, 1937 or so.
He ended UP boarding at my Grandmother’s home in Goshen. Mother was there.
In his own words, from his writings to me, he said, “…the minute I saw her I knew she was made for me.”
It was love at first sight. For him.
She took a little longer.
They married on September 16, 1939. He was 17, a little more than a month away from 18, and she was 20. I never doubted my father’s love for mother nor hers for him. They were great examples, and were married for 71 years and 16 days.
In February of 1940, my sister, their first child was born.
She was “early”, really early. She was a truly a seven month baby, and weighed 2.5 lbs at birth.
By this time, Daddy had lost that job. He admitted to being a ‘hot-head’, and I get the drift. He was canned.
When Judy was born, Old Dr. Lloyd said to my Grandmother Brads, “Wrap that baby UP, she’s going to die.”
Grandma was not taking that. She responded, “There’s not been one to die in my house, and this won’t be the first.”
She cleaned Judy UP, wrapped her in a baby blanket from a layette, and placed her in the seat of an old wooden, leather bottomed rocker, and moved the rocker by the fire. It was February, it was Virginia, it was cold.
Grandpa Brads, who was 64 and retired, sat in his rocking chair at an angle from her and rocked hers with his foot. The rocking chair was Judy’s baby bed for nearly a year.
The rocking chair is still around, in my living room.
She was so tiny and “scrawny” that Daddy said, she looked like a skinned squirrel. My Uncle Walter, who was a character all his own, removed the ring he’d made while in prison, and sliped it over her hand and wrist up to her shoulder.
Like I said, she was tiny.
And didn’t have much of a chance.
But, Grandma was right. She never lost a one.
Judy turns 71 today.
Happy Birthday, you’re our Valentine, and we love you.