Wednesday, October 06, 2010

All American Sue is Born -- Chapter One



















Helen and Curtis Wilkinson were fascinating people.  Curtis persuaded Helen to elope when she was just 15 years old, shortly before he had to report for active duty in Europe.  While he was learning to jump out of airplanes alongside the bravest men in the world, Helen was at home, singing and playing her guitar with her father and sister Mildred to earn gas ration cards.  He saw the Eiffel Tower and other sights in Europe, and she helped with the tobacco crop in rural Kentucky.

When Curtis returned home to Liberty Kentucky, it was not long before the two became three.   Helen was at home in their one room home on the farm when she went into labor.  In that rural area, it was common for a woman to give birth at home rather than in a hospital.  Helen was 19 years old when she had her first child -- a tiny baby girl.  It was June 20th, 1947.

They named their precious girl Bonita Sue.  Bonita is Spanish for pretty, but she was never called by that name.  To them, she was always "Susie", and a sweet Susie she was indeed.

One can just imagine Helen holding her precious child on a hot, still summer night.  Perhaps she thought her daughter looked like her handsome husband, Curtis.  Perhaps she counted her little fingers and toes, and hummed soft little lullabies.  Perhaps she planned all the adorable little outfits she would sew for her girl, and take her around to show to all her family and friends.  Perhaps she looked down the road at the years ahead and the myriad of conversations she and Susie would have.  She would be her forever friend . . . 



Changing her first baby in a perfect little nursery
I cannot say for sure what Helen felt or thought at the sight of her child, but knowing Sue as I did, and seeing her as a mother, I imagine that she must have been mothered by someone who loved her very dearly.  For you see, when Susie grew up, she wanted to be a mother so very much, and waited to become one for a very long time.  When the Lord finally answered her prayers for a child, and then again, and again and again, those children were loved as the most precious gifts she could have ever received.  Sue was a new mother at 29, and endured natural childbirth and inducement when she had her last baby at age 45.  Babies were a part of Sue's world her whole life long -- before she had her own, she and her husband would borrow other people's babies to hang out with, and after hers all became teenagers, she adopted the whole church nursery as her extra grandchildren.  Of course it is easy to love sweet and cute children, but for Sue, she loved them all, even those who were harder to love.

And she loved to hear the news of someone getting a baby.  Whether it was a young mom finding out she was pregnant for the first time, or a woman who had long been unable to have children adopting a little one, Sue would share in their joy just as if it were her own.  She once gave a silver spoon to a friend who had never had a child when she found out she was expecting.  "Your baby deserves to be born with a silver spoon in it's mouth" she told her.  That baby was taken to heaven before she ever saw this world, and I now have that precious silver spoon in my baby's room.  

Sue Wilkinson was certainly not born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but she had the love of her young parents. . . and was rich indeed.  

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Gretchen for this wonderful beginning to a remarkable woman's life. We are just blessed to be part of her journey. I see so much of your love becoming a mother as your mother had.. DAD

Mayhem Mama said...

I loved how you talked about her joy of children. Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to hear more!

denise said...

Great photos and details sharing her history and weaving in her influence on you...my favorite part is the last line which I imagine is true for you, too! Thanks for being our leader! I can't wait to get to know you and your mom better.

Maple Leaf Mommy said...

I love the picture of your mom "changing a baby in her picture perfect nursery".
I'm getting weepy eyed reading through all of these this morning, and feeling rather silly about it.

Beth (Elizabeth) LaMie said...

What a lovely beginning to your story. I can't wait to read more each week.

Susan McCurdy said...

Your post made me cry Gretchen! I miss your "sweet Sue". She loved much and was much loved.

Ginny Marie said...

Oh, what a wonderful post! I admire you so much for writing down your mother's story. I know how much you and your family must miss her, and these stories will be priceless for your children to read and learn about their grandma.

Jessica said...

Thank you for the window to see your mother. I didn't know her for long, but my children were eager recipients of her love toward them. What a blessing to do this memory of her!

Anonymous said...

Love the post! Did I tell you that Grandad told me that Gram's real name wasn't really Helen...! I can't remember what her name was though! She changed it. What a coot sing mom was! Love Grammy and Grandaddy!!!!

~Anna

Emma said...

Mom's name was supposed to be Laura Anne, but her cousin was born a couple weeks before, and they stole the name! As Mom told it, Gram was furious about it (apparently, since she told her daughter).. :)

LOVED this post, you are doing really well with the somewhat limited info that you have.

I miss her so much still every single day. Words cannot express. :/

Emma said...

PS--the point of telling you that name story was that I think it was part of the reason mom didnt like the "Bonita" name. She felt like it was last minute and didnt really mean anything. (Bonita was some famous movie star Gram liked.) lol.

Oh, and your pictures at the beginning were the PERFECT start to the blog.

Dusti said...

you shared her story beautifuly. i can picture a litte house in kentucky.

Janna said...

Those pics of Helen and Curtis are marvelous as well as sweet baby Sue.

This is so well done and I love how you tied in your mother's love and longing for babies at the end.

Karen said...

Gretchen: This is such a wonderful beginning for your tribute to your mother. I'm eager to learn much more about her.

Erika said...

This is beautiful, Gretchen! Your words seemed to flow effortlessly telling a beautiful story. I love how you tied everything together. I am really looking forward to reading more about your mom!

Brittany said...

Your mom was THE BEST person to tell that you're pregnant. I can still remember her squeal and clapping.