Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Some Late Valentine's Day Love Stories....

On my wedding day with my parents next to me, and my husband's parent's next to him. Their marriages have brought a radiant knowledge that love is possible, attainable, real. No matter what. As Shakespeare said, ""I love thee, I love but thee, with a love that shall not die; not till the sun grows cold and the stars grow old."

"By getting to know our roots, we become closer as a human family."   --Orrin Hatch

I have been a lucky girl. To a large extent, I have always had a stream of truth near my path. Goodness, in many peoples and relationships, has made the way mostly smooth and clear. Providence has not eluded me. As I get older, I have particularly pondered more on the power of love stories in my life-- those who have been closest to me. As I have observed those real-life Valentine love stories, sometimes when hopes were dashed and money was scarce, I am thankful for their tenacious clinging on. They made love seem unconquerable, boundless. I have been a beneficiary of watching the daily beauty of real love in acton all my life. The people who I have known have allowed love to tether and strengthen them--to make seemingly ordinary people into extraordinary people.

In every family there are hopefully innumerable love stories--tales of marriages and people who stand by one another in tough times. Sometimes they write their prescriptions or elaborations for their posterity. Other times family will lovingly retell the love stories again and again. Nonetheless, the love stories need to be gathered, written,  and told--reminding our children and their children that love is possible in a world that can be uncertain or confusing. Love means: being loyal, kind, forgiving, faithful, and optimistic. It means you love--even when people get sick, injured, or the economy bottoms out like in the Depression.

I have spent countless hours unraveling and documenting my husband's and my family's life histories. As a child, I was always pestering my grandmothers to tell me one more story--like the time when a gypsy stole my grandmother away, a beautiful little blonde-haired four year old Icelandic girl in Canada, at a busy train station. And how her older brother, Alec, saved the day (and her life), by showing her parents and a policeman where the conniving gypsy-woman had taken her. But of all the reservoirs of stories that I hold dear, it is the love stories that grab my heart the most. They have been my North Stars.

                                                 H. Smith and Sarah Shumway

H. Smith and Sarah Shumway had been friends in college, and then their friendship grew into romance. But it was World War II, and Smith wanted to go to war--putting on hold a medical career. Six weeks after landing on D-Day, Omaha Beach, in Normandy, France, Lieutenant Shumway was permanently blinded. He was taken to a makeshift hospital in Normandy, on to England, and then for more hospitals and rehabilitation for the next two years in the US. But Sarah, back at home, never left hope. She learned Braille so the nurses wouldn't have to read the letters or "burn their fingers" with the" hot messages." He asked her to marry him in 1947--much against her parent's wishes. But they finally acquiesced, seeing there was no hope to quench this love. He asked her to marry him by saying, "If you will drive the car, darn the socks, and read the mail, I will do the rest."

Theirs was a love of always cherishing and seeing the best in one another. They continued to jitterbug, and hold one another dancing until Sarah died of cancer when she was 71. Since Smith enjoyed performing music in his later years, he supported Sarah in her oil painting--even though he never saw her artwork. Sometimes she would say to me, "He always thinks I am 22, just the way he last saw me." She would always find home projects for him, like tiling, painting, plumbing, etc. Since she grew up on a ranch, nothing deterred her from asking him to do things. And he did. He loved to please her--to make her happy. One of the things I always remember about them is that they were always laughing, discussing books together, and sharing what the other thought was important. Nothing, and I mean nothing, seemed too hard for them--if they did it together.

Little did Lietinent Shumway know that his eye sight would be shortly cut off from him.  One of my several posts about  Smith and Sarah: I Might Not Have Sight, But I have Insight

Smith and Sarah Shumway at their wedding reception in 1948. 

Six daughters and then twins at the end graced their lives. My husband, being their token son. They have 41 grandchildren, and host of great grandchildren. For the last year and a half of her life, I helped her revise, edit, and gather her life history. But Smith was the one who typed it for her first. I then read his drafts and composed her story, and of course their love story.
Keith and Paula Myres

My parents, Keith and Paula Myres on their wedding day in 1958 A blog for them called A Tribute To My Parents
For the last several years, I have had the daunting pleasure of helping to write my parent's life history. It will be three volumes. Yes, my father was a wordsmith, historian, storyteller. He loved to spin a tale, especially of the Depression, World War II, and about his Icelandic heritage. But his favorite story was meeting my mom. My mom and dad met on a blind date. My dad was hoping and praying to find a girl that would grace his life. He said, "As I sat in the Scera Theatre in Orem, Utah watching the movie Giant with Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor, I looked over to your mom to hold her hand. I just knew instantly that she was the one for me. She had this quiet strength about her that made me feel like I could do anything."

My mom, just 19, was up for the challenge. She had been "Miss Springville," her home town queen, and was known for her good nature and humor. My dad, a few people told me at his funeral, was the most handsome man at the time at BYU, his college. But there was so much more that they both saw in each other. My dad had a larger than life personality who would become a great business and church leader. Mom became a mother of nine children and so far 54 grandkids. Everyone loves my mom. People have been cornering me since I was about eight to ask, "Does your mom ever get mad?"

My father went through seven major surgeries in his life, mystifiying doctors of his stamina and resilience. He just kept popping up, like a cork, in the water. He could never be down for too long. You would never think he had fragile health if you saw him. But he did. His obstacles never detoured him. Mom, like the girl he saw when she was 18, had this steady, quiet resilience that never ebbed. Their main priority was their family. Last May when my father died on the night before we buried him, my mom said to us, "Dad and I gave up any ambition, activity, or hobby that competed with raising our children. We can see now that we didn't give up anything." 

Some families have been broken, but they can be mended. Both of my parents came from broken marriages. A Depression and heartache plagued my grandparents. But my parents choose to cherish marriage, family, and children--plus many other's children too. No storms brought them down. I am so grateful for the love stories in my life....

It is important not to just know our DNA, but the people whose stories we were put in long ago. Gather your family histories and watch your heart grow with understanding and love.
If you want to know more about family history, look up: https://ldsmediatalk.com/2018/02/08/2018-rootstech-family-discovery-day/

My parents on their 57th anniversary here in Doha on a dhow boat ride. My dad loved ships, and in a few minutes after  this picture, he would get to steer the boat.
Mom and Dad at one of our reunions. Since my last name is Myres, when my dad saw the "M" on the shirt, he said, "The M is not big enough. Ha!
If you want to know more about family history, look up: https://ldsmediatalk.com/2018/02/08/2018-rootstech-family-discovery-day/

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