While down in Florida I suggested to Sherry that I cut her mama’s cedar chest up into boards and line a closet with them. That way the chest would be used. I pictured burning Susie’s name and dates into the wood to try to preserve her memory. She was never acclaimed in news papers, but she was head and shoulders above most.
(A young Susie proably in the 1920s)
My mother in law, Susie Hawes Harris, had a tough youth. Born in 1904 down East in NC, small community called Nakina. Her dad left her mother and 7 children to fend for herself. They lived in a converted tobacco barn and worked on a farm. The mother moved her family to Belmont, NC so she could work in the cotton mills. The kids also worked in the mills. Susie went to work at twelve years quitting school in the 6th grade. She worked in the cotton mills until just before she died at the age of 61. She married a very handsome man, Wiley Aaron Harris.
They raised 7 children She would nurse them on her breaks at the mill. She was a tough lady, very frugal. I could never praise this lady enough. She was the EXAMPLE of a Christian lady. I never heard her say a bad word about anyone.
Gold treated mugs from England. The oldest dolls liying down, from 1957.
Mug from Plains.GA.remember that town?
SO, today I pulled the old chest out, not remembering what was in it. It was full. Knickknacks from some of my cruise’s. The oldest from 1957. But it was the treasure at the bottom of the chest. It was labeled Susie’s purse and shoes.
Susie still means so much to me. She practically died in my arms as I tried to resuscitate her using CPR. I used to visit her grave to chat. This was an Iron Lady with a heart of gold.
Carefully I looked in the purse. Of course there was a small bible. Some tithing envelopes for her meager tithe, a small pocket knife, I smiled when I saw 3 or 4 hair nets. The neatest ‘convertible’ little pencil with a scripture verse on it. The point was not apparent, so pulling it apart, I saw a neat little pencil.
I could see a stack of letters. The oldest had a 2 cent stamp on it. Several ‘free’ indicating a soldier and a couple 6 and 8 cent airmail stamps. I pried, I carefully unfolded a couple letters and read what I could. Several from her soldier son, Vernon. I smiled when he told his mama, "I am in Japan (1948 I think), I have 7 months left then no more Army." Vernon retired a Green Beret, E-7 sergeant over 20 years later.
A letter from her prodigal son thanking her for sending him money. There were several Get-Well cards she had received earlier when she had a heart attack and survived.
I could go on, but I am here to say, Susie Hawes Harris raised a beautiful family. I married the baby girl. She had the same work ethic and loving heart of her mama. Imma lucky dude!
I may try again, to cut that cedar chest up, but for today, it was a Mission Impossible.
The cars below were new when Susie was born.
This is trhe 1904 Sunbeam