Thursday, February 7, 2013
LIKE THE GIFT OF THE MAGI
Grandma Campbell had a fierce and determined love of all learning, and she determined fiercely that each and every one of her children would finish high school. Today, this does not seem like an unusual ambition...it is generally expected that our kids will graduate from High School and go to college. But when Grandma was 13 her father decided that the high school was too far away, the neighbors might talk, it was not seemly for a young lady to ride all that distance, her mother needed her at home to care for the littler ones, and that was that. Even with the backing of her beloved teacher she could not change the mind of Matthew Nettle, "gentleman farmer", who, by the way, served on the school board! When they married, Grandpa Arthur loved her so dearly and supported just about anything she wanted, as long as he was not too much bothered with the details. All the children attended school. When they outgrew the little one room school house on the farm they were shipped off, usually two at a time, to friends or relatives in town for the school year. When it was time for Mom and Arby to go, they stayed with distant cousins. Arby had a job and Mom helped in the house and they paid their room and board in money and in service. That first year, although she loved school, Mom missed her mother, Hazel, and probably even Girly and Art desperately. Arby could hear her crying herself to sleep every night. There was no expectation of going home for holidays as we would do today. It would have been a wagon trip of the better part of a day each way, and the bus fare was beyond dreaming of. A few days before that first Christmas away from home, Arby presented his little sister with the most amazing gift, a round trip bus ticket home. He had shoveled coal for neighbors, toted feed bags for farmers and any other odd job he could find to save enough for the ticket that would mean that while he spent Christmas alone, she did not.