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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Friday's Favorites - Mack and Vera

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Friday's Favorite Family Foto
Sponsored by Deborah at "Pictures, Pots, Pens"



These are my paternal grandparents, Warren McClellan and Vera Mae Heavilin.

They raised thirteen children to adulthood - - - right through the depression - - - right here in Marion. I am the oldest child of their ninth child.

Grandpa was a "jack of all trades" with major carpentry skills. However, no work was beneath his dignity.

Once, he was given a large truck load of cleaned chicken feathers. Dad and some of his siblings packaged these feathers up in sacks and took them door to door selling them, 15 cents for enough to fill one pillow, 25 cents for enough to fill two. It was hard times - - - many ladies bought the feathers.

When they had "saturated" the market in their neighborhood, they moved over to a small neighboring town. One lady bought enough feathers for two pillows and was ECSTATIC to get them, thinking them a very THRIFTY buy. That evening she proudly showed her purchase to her husband saying, "Look what I bought from those nice Heavilin boys!"

Her hubby said, "You bought those from the Heavilin boys? I GAVE those feathers to their father!!!

As you can imagine, Grandma had her hands full raising thirteen children. Each child had specific assigned chores - - - had to do it that way to survive I imagine!!!

Grandma RAISED thirteen children, but she had FIFTEEN babies. Two of her precious little ones only survived a few days or weeks. She told me once about the pain and sorrow of losing the second child.

She said she just couldn't go on. She just couldn't get past the loss. She went to bed and the older girls took over running the house. She said she stayed in that bed for several weeks in deep despair.

At the end of that time, one evening while the family was sitting down at the large oval dining room table for supper, Grandpa came in and gently scooped grandma up in his arms. He said, "Vera, we have corn to hoe." (No, they weren't farmers - - - it was an expression that there was work to be done and life must go on.)

You know what? Grandma got up and resumed her life. That's what you did. There was no such thing as counseling. You just got up and went back to hoeing your corn.
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13 comments:

CRY said...

I ENJOYED READING THIS SO MUCH!
13 CHILDREN! WOW!
THEY SOUND LIKE THE NEATEST PEOPLE.
I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR MORE STORIES OF THEIR LIVES. HOW MANY GRANDCHILDREN DID THEY END UP HAVING ALL TOGETHER?

Keetha Broyles said...

You'd think I'd know how many first cousins I have, wouldn't you??? Well - - - I never can remember. There are so many of us and we are spread all over the US and we have a broad age range. BUT I know it's in the 40's and I THINK it's 42. That's just my first cousins - - - we ALL have families and some of my first cousins are already great-grandparents.

BIG family.

And that's just dad's side - - - my mom had 9 siblings.

Kirby3131 said...

What a task to be raising so many during the depression...I cannot imagine what heartache it would have been to lose two children. I'm sure it was incredibly hard to go on, even after her husbands intervention. What strength it took to go on.

Pam said...

Good post - I didn't remember the feather story. (If Dad has it in his little book, my brain is in trouble!) One small correction on your comment above - Mom was one of 9 children, so she only had 8 siblings :)

Headless Mom said...

Neat post, great stories.

Am I wrong, or does Greg resemble your grandfather? ;-)

LV said...

I really enjoyed this post on your family. I can relate to all those things. Maybe one day, I will share some tales of my backwoods family.

Just Breathe said...

Love the story about the feathers.
Can't imagine raising that many children. How sad for your grandmother. I was just thinking about that this morning as I was reading a post and watching a video of the child who passed. I was thinking that how wonderful it is to have a video to watch when others in the past only had a picture to look at. They didn't have the threads of a blog to share their stories on and they didn't have theraphy or pills to pop!

Keetha Broyles said...

Oooops Pam - - - my brain THOUGHT I typed out "one OF 9 siblings" but my fingers must have had a mind of their own.

Diane said...

Hi Keetha! I have been SOOOOO absent lately and I apologize for that. I absolutely LOVED this story of your grandparents. What a wonderful family! I especially loved the story of your precious Grandma Vera's grief and how her loving husband came gently to her to remind her of the necessity of going on with life. The feather story was wonderful! I'm stilling smiling as I think of that poor man's disbelief when his wife told him she had bought back the feathers he had just given away!!! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful glimpse into your family with us. Have a great weekend!

Many hugs...................

Diane

Leigh of Bloggeritaville said...

I always enjoy your stories! Great that you are preserving them!

Lori E said...

As a genealogy researcher I have come across many families that had to deal with the loss of multiple children. Some would lose a spouse and two or three children within days of each other due to spreading illness. I don't know how they got through it.
One of my grandmothers had a baby almost every year for 20 years. Not all survived but the woman was always pregnant. My mom once said her mother was rather mean. Gee I wonder why.

Dawn said...

What a wonderful family story! It makes me tired though to imagine raising 13 children and especially being pregnant that many times!

mannequin said...

Oh... what wonderful people it sounds as though they were. What a sweet and gentle way he led her back to the family. I think I love them :)