My Grandmother Hamilton was a wonderful woman
My Dad grew up in a family of six boys. By the time I was on the scene my grandmother still had one of her boys at home, my uncle Wayne, who was three years older than me. He used to let me tag along with him and his friends. My grandmother used to make him play with me. Actually I considered him like the older brother I never had. Some of my memories include the 1930 something Willys auto that had to be “cranked” to start that my grandfather kept in the garage out back near the outhouse, which many houses on the edge of town still had before indoor plumbing was available. I remember at least once my uncle taking me for a “forbidden” ride in that old Willys.
My grandmother Bertha, or as Wayne sometimes called her teasingly, “Bert,” always had a substantial garden. When I would stay with her, toward the end of summer, she would take me out to the garden and we would pick a dozen or so ears of sweet corn, “shuck” them together, boil them in a big kettle, and sit down with a big brick of butter and eat them all for lunch. This could be one reason for my difficulty with my weight while growing up.
My Uncle Dean
My grandmother was a devout Seventh Day Adventist who used to tell me the most frightening tales from the Book of Revelation that filled me with images of the agony and suffering of those who rejected Christ. But she always kept my attention. She was in many ways a simple woman who tried to live her faith and always spoke of Jesus as though she was speaking of her best friend. She was also one of the kindest persons I ever knew. I never heard her say a negative word about another, which amazed me in later years knowing that her firstborn, Francis, died an alcoholic; her second, Edward, also an alcoholic, died after spending the bulk of his adult life in prison; my Dad, Floyd, gave her years of grief from his alcoholism, though he finally recovered and led a somewhat happy life; her 4th son, Robert, the light of her life, became an Adventist missionary to Pakistan, then returned home to divorce his wife and marry a young “adopted” Pakistani girl brought back with them; Dean, the 5th son, returned from the Korean War and was killed while walking along a highway at night in a drunken state; but my Uncle Wayne, after the usual rebellious years, some of which I witnessed, graduated from high school, spent a distinguished career in the Air Force, married a wonderful woman and raised a family and now lives retired in Iowa. We keep in touch through my mother but only see each other on occasion these days.
But I wanted to get this down in writing before I’m gone as a testimony to my grandmother Hamilton, who also had a hand in raising me and who loved all of her sons and grand children with the love of her best friend, Jesus.
My Uncle Wayne and me at my Dad’s funeral in 1976