This young woman was just married. She smiles thinking about her future with this man who will share her life. They are not young, she 27 and he one year older, but the promise of a future together causes her to smile.
She will bear three children; the first, a son, in less than two years. Five years later, a daughter whom she will name after her mother, and after two more years another daughter.
Time was hard in what came to be called The Great Depression, and one prairie winter saw her husband succumb to the hardship as illness took him from her. Her youngest baby daughter was only four months old when she was faced with life without her husband.
Her husband’s family were good people. They built her a little house next to theirs in the prairie village where they lived. She raised her three children under the watchful eye of her husband’s parents, thankful for the help they provided.
Her daughters would marry young, both to older men, perhaps seeking the paternal influence taken from them so tragically. Her son would not marry and would continue to live with her in the little house in the prairie village.
Almost forty years after her husband had died, she went on to be with him. She had lived a quiet, simple and difficult life, and she had raised three strong children. In another time, may have built a life with a second husband, but that was not to be her path.
This young woman’s name was Belle and she was my grandmother. I don’t recall her smiling or laughing, though I’m sure she must have. I don’t recall her hugging me or playing with me, and I’m sure she didn’t. I can’t say I knew her, more tragically I can’t say I loved her, but now thirty seven years after her death, I honor her.