This poem had me weeping. Just one more joy that comes from “climbing the family tree.”
In the year 1870 on a day so fair,
About August 14th though I was not there,
Our father and mother were united in marriage
Though they hadn`t so much as a carriage.
Two years they lived happily together, alone,
Then Minerva came to bless their little one room home,
She grew to be a little lass four years old
Sassy and stout as you still can behold.
Then came Nettie so little and frail
But no wonder, for just eighteen months and I was on the trail.
Somehow that nearness and likeness then shown
Made mother dress us like twins till we were grown.
Amzy came next that home to bless
And oh! what a blessing – a son to caress…
And methinks I can still hear father say:
`One boy is worth more than three girls any day.`
One spring morning about April five
Ella made her appearance, and did she thrive.
A big fat child indeed was she
Never a worry but always carefree.
One by one our family increased,
Keeping father quite busy our shoes to be greased.
And mother was very anxious indeed,
Trying so hard her little brood to feed.
Well this is not all for a cold winter night,
On February nine, and Reuben came in sight.
A stout and robust youngster was he indeed,
Always doing for others, was his motto and creed.
Another two years and Lovina was here.
Fairheaded and pleasant and such a little dear.
And now, they thought, surely was the family complete,
For seven indeed, is plenty to furnish shelter and heat.
But ah! no, it seems they have just begun,
For lo and behold!, here is daughter and son,
Now what in the world are we going to do
To find names suitable for these two?
I shall never forget how that storm did blow
On December seven so many years ago,
With father walking around with one on each arm
And mother watching over, so they came to no harm.
Claude and Chloea were well on their way
When Virgil appeared and decided to stay.
Now this is the baby and lucky is he
To even get his name on the family tree.
For many years our happiness blended
With that love and concern that could never be ended.
Though one by one we left the old nest
Choosing our mates as seemed to us best.
Grandchildren without number began to call
But I believe Amzy`s outdone them all,
And great-grandchildren are many now
To do for them all, we hardly know how.
All too soon the family circle was broken
And over our home came sadness unspoken.
Out mother was called and left us grieving
But in her faith we are still believing.
How soon, how very soon did Reuben follow on,
How hard to bear, how hard to think they both were gone,
And when side by side in the grave they were laid,
Their work was done, the price was paid.
Lovina was called in just a few years,
How sudden her going that left us in tears.
Her life was well spent though short it was here,
Her mission was always to fill you with cheer.
Next we stood beside our father dear.
God called and we were silent here,
He knoweth all, His way is best,
Side by side he and mother do rest.
May we who are left take courage today,
And strive to keep traveling that Heavenly way,
That some day in that sweet by and by
We all may meet in a reunion on high.
………… Ida Roose Beckner
Written for, and read at the annual family reunion
September 5, 1937 South Bend, Indiana