This page is the continuing story of my life and experiences. It will give you the information that will tell you of how I became who I am.
My passion outside of writing is to grow in spirituality and to allow that improved nature to touch others in a way that will be of benefit. Please call me Marie. I am the youngest of five children, the fifth child of a fifth child, of a fifth child. I was born in a little Texas town which was named for an Indian Chief, who was the last of the Plains Indians to allow his people to go into captivity. Chief Quanah never lost a battle to the white man; however foreseeing a future in which his people would need to blend in with the white man, he surrendered himself and his people.
How I Became Me
The time in which I was born was during the Great Depression. It was a difficult time to burden a family with a fifth child. My father always teased me by telling me that on the day I was born, the banks all closed. He was off by a few days, But I understood as I recalled the telling of that story later that he was implying I was “the straw that broke the camel’s back” so to speak and that neither the government nor the banks were able to bear this one financial burden. Of course I was not involved in that at all, but the problem was that neither was my father able to handle this one more mouth to feed. At least not in the “city”. He packed up the family and moved us out of Quanah which is not, even to this day a city, but it was harder to survive there even as small as it was. We left that environment in exchange for a stretch of barren land in Delhi, OK.
My father was an excellent farmer but the possibility of being successful on that dry, burned out piece of land was improbable. As he planted his cotton and prayed for rain, my mother planted and tended a garden. Every drop of liquid in the house that in another time would have been thrown out was saved to water the garden. We survived because of that garden, but we also survived because my father toiled day and night making do with only five hours of sleep at night. While the crop was small, prices were up because it was so desperately needed. I recall a number of stories such as this one that involved my family and other families and it burned into my mind the truth that those who succeed don’t quit. Incidentally, when we went to Oklahoma, my parents took two extra people with us who had no means of support, his mother, (my Granny) and mother’s Aunt. Aunt Parry’s twin begged to come along also, but someone was already caring for her, and it was decided that it was best to leave her where she was. Aunt Parry was eventually able to go back to her sister when our family moved away from the farm.
I began school in Oklahoma and learned one of the biggest lessons one can learn in this life. I loved letters and words and used to play around with ones I’d been allowed to cut out. I longed to know what these ‘toys’ meant but everyone was too busy to teach me. Finally, I was old enough to go to school and was assured by everyone in the family that I would learn to ‘read’ there and that reading meant putting my letters together so they ‘spelled words’.
When the teacher passed out a book to each child, my heart began to race and I touched it carefully. The class was instructed that we were not even to look at more than the few pages we were going over in class, like about three pages. At the end of the lesson I had the hang of it. You’ve probably guessed what I did. I read the entire book there and then. When the teacher gave me that look of sorrow I knew why. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, I did, but the temptation was too great. Let me just say that there were circumstances to deal with following that incident, but I never forgot that temptation could be stronger than knowledge, and that something more was needed to survive the attack when it came. Of course, I couldn’t have expressed that idea then, but the knowledge was there.
There is another ending to that story. We moved to Lubbock after that year in school and I was very much aware of the difference of opinion in this new school in regard to my ‘speed reading’ than how it had been in the prior school. I was praised and held as an example. While I didn’t like being in the spotlight, I was aware of a warm feeling inside that came from having someone appreciate what I had accomplished. The final result of learning to read so quickly was that when the school year ended instead of passing me to third grade I was promoted to fourth. For awhile I felt I had been cheated out of grade three, but I got over it.
There were many other changes in our lives. Jobs were still difficult to find and the pay would seldom support a family of our size. My mother went back to school while we were at Lubbock and again in Abilene. We actually moved to Abilene so all of us kids could go to college. Mom and Dad figured that living in Abilene and not having to pay for room and board would enable us to get a college education. Unfortunately, World War II was a factor in their decisions and they went instead into the war effort work force. Mom graduated from ACU the same year I graduated from high school, and I enrolled the next fall. After a year and a half my parents and I were advised that I should stop either my job or school as my heart was not able to do both. Now that decision was easy, because I was paying my tuition. Mom grieved because she had gone back to school wanting to be able to help, but she was a little late, and I was a little too soon so I stopped at mid-term of my second year.
As the years moved on my heart was erratic but didn’t get worse until several years later. Eventually there were medications that helped and I have had a good life with my husband of sixty years and my five beautiful daughters and their families. I was even able to pick up some more hours in that education I wanted so badly. I went back to ACU and took as many hours as I could based on what else I had to do. Later, I took courses at Colorado College and at The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and many years later when my husband was transferred to Casper, WY I applied for and was accepted in a two year nursing program. My hunger for learning is still with me, so I researched and wrote a book which was published in October. I have another written but have not yet arranged for the publisher. There is a statement in one of the poems I wrote as lyrics in a song that states how I feel about doing nothing. I want to stay busy until I die. The line goes “use me until I’m gone dear Lord, don’t let me static lie, for I would do this one more thing, before you take me home on high.” (From Good-by Marie Hunter Atwood)