On the advice of friends I shall write you this week - not of the Food Show, flour mill, and vitamins - as I had planned, but of a wonderful couple, who celebrated their Golden Wedding last Tuesday, March 18th. I was a bit reluctant to write about my adopted father and mother; but my friends think you will like to read about a couple who have found the formula for a remarkably happy marriage. Dad (I say "Dad" at his own request) wanted to be a preacher. Mother wanted to be a nurse. Each has done plenty of work in his or her chosen field - but without remuneration. To really know a person, you have to go 'way back to his childhood. So come with me, to the green countryside of England - to the tiny villages of Trebarweth and Treligga, near the rocky cliffs of western Cornwall. Dad and his brothers played around the ruins of the castle. They scrambled over the cliffs, in search of sea gulls' eggs, and down to the beach, when the tide was out, to gather the succulent shrimps and mussels. When Dad was nine, his father was killed in a "slide," or cave-in in the slate quarry where he worked. Dad had a narrow escape, years later, when a swinging cable knocked him over the edge of the deep quarry, and only a jutting ledge saved him from certain death. That experience cured Dad of slate quarrying. There was little else to turn to for a livelihood. He had managed one year in a seminary, preparing for the ministry. But the family funds were exhausted. He had now found the "right girl," and was determined to come to America, the land of opportunity.
In the meantime a tiny brown-eyed girl was climbing hedges, trees, and even school-houses, laughing at danger - as she has laughed at danger ever since, undaunted by the blows life has given her. Mother's people were very poor, as was nearly everyone in Treligga, but Mother had a thoroughbred for a mother, who taught her children that it was no disgrace to be poor. "In kindness and consideration for others," she would say, "no peer in the land need be above you." From her father Mother learned independence of spirit. "Owe no man," and "He who steals another man's time is a robber," were two of his mottoes. Mother took the sterling qualities of her father and the tender kindness of her mother, and brought them with her to the New World. one week from their wedding day Mother and Dad sailed for America - coming directly to Cleveland.
The man who wanted to become a preacher took the first job that he could get - as a stone-cutter. He received the unificent sum of fifty cents a day. They say that "the first year" is always the hardest. Of all the fifty eventful years, I am sure the first was the hardest for Mother. She was so homesick that she cried every day that first year. Then came the first baby, a beautiful, perfect boy, who was surely meant to live. But an inefficient woman doctor completely lost her head, and if it had not been for the assertive skill of the attending nurse, Mother would have died, too. The next year twin boys came, to bless their home. Mother was content. Dad had a better job now - with the Van Dorn Iron Works. And always Mother managed. The twins were a joy.
In midsummer a triple blow fell. Father Taylor came down with typhoid fever, and the twins, five months old, took sick with cholera infantum, passing away within three days of each other. Mother - still so young - only twenty-three, was over-whelmed with grief. The doctor came, and found her engulfed in tears. Kind to his heart's core, he could be gruff when the occasion demanded. Taking her firmly by the shoulders, he said, "My dear young woman, do you realize your husband is very ill? Dry your tears, and look after him, or you will lose him, too." So Mother had to dry her tears, and battle to save her husband. The debt that piled up was terrific - with no money coming in. The undertaker, the doctor, the butcher, the baker - all trusted them. The debt was paid. (And I know Mother didn't rest until it was paid.)
In the fall of the next year the second set of twins arrived - Phillippa and Virgil; two and a half years later, Margery. Surely no children ever had a happier home. The heartaches and trials of the early years had made Mother and Dad strong and patient, and grateful for the little lives spared to them. Back of every successful marriage there is sure to be a fine woman. For in her hands are the health of her husband, nine-tenths of the care of the children, the managing of the housekeeping funds, the creation of the home atmosphere. Dad trusted Mother implicitly; and she never betrayed that trust. As an example of that consideration for others, she told her three lively cherubs, "make all the noise you like through the day; but remember that your father is working among noisy machines all day. When he comes home, he must have quiet and rest." Mother was on the job - all the time. No whist parties for her, nor afternoon teas. But I have never known a more gracious hostess. Mother is the kind of person that you can confide in utterly. She and Dad each have a grand sense of humor. Mother has supreme self-confidence; and she built up that valuable asset in her children by never scolding or nagging, or "belittling" them. She always treated them with dignity and graciousness. Their little indiscretions were buried and forgotten with the passing day. Mother keeps peace in the family, because no one could bear to hurt her by quarreling.
Mother and Dad saved their money, and bought their own home. But when Virgil's teachers told Mother that V. was cut out to be a teacher, she was determined to send him to college. She took up the study of nursing. The fine old doctor, living next door, mapped out her program, and helped her all he could. The long hours of study, after her day's work was done, affected her eyes - none too strong, because of congenital cataracts. Atrophy of the optic nerve set in. When the doctor told her that she would almost certainly lose her sight, she went to her room and met her Gethsemane alone. She came forth, determined to rise above her affliction. And oh, how superbly has she won out! She stands out, as a marvel of courage, sunny sweetness of disposition, and ability to look on the bright side.
The Golden Wedding is over; but the radiance of two warm, kind personalities leaves a lovely after-glow.
Florence B. Taylor
Next -4/3/41 - Jean and the Palm Sunday Program