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Living by Faith │ A Portrait of My Mother Frances Berthena Miller Beard Pt. 1│ By Rev. Charity E. Sephus

All night, all day, angels were watching over me: My Lord!      

Mother, a classic of delight   

When first she appeared upon my sight

A lovely apparition sent          

To be my life’s example and ornament
Her eyes as smiles of sunshine fair 

Like twilight’s, too, her pretty hair
But all  other 
thingsabout her drawn

From May-time and each cheerful dawn
dancing shape, an image gay     

To taunt, to admire, and waylay.

I was very small, and I recall standing beside my mother’s chair; my new brother was in her lap.  He was about 14 months younger than me. Mother never knew that it was probably the loneliest few months I would ever experience. My sister Verline was only two years older than I was, but I had three older brothers who were 4, 6, and 8 years old. 

My demeanor was quiet, and as I lived; I began to understand by hearing conversations that I was not so physically strong. Mother kept me close by without explaining why my activities were limited.  My places were in my yard, on our front porch, or inside. Across the backyard, kids would play baseball in the Furness yard, but I could only watch from home.

Walking to school was so far that I usually couldn’t keep up with the crowd, so I intentionally lagged.  Often, I was tardy, but it was much easier to get there at my own pace, so I picked flowers on the way to make my teacher smile.

As a pre-teen girl scout, I found myself pretty good at skating, but when I asked to go to the community rink, Mother always said no without explaining.

The good times were during summer vacations when kids played in our yard. Dad taught my brothers how to make toys and games. First were the old Elm trees surrounding the home from which they hung a rope and made a swing. Oh, it was so much fun. Especially for me, because remember, home was my place unless I went to school or church. On the sidewalk, we drew a Hopscotch. A board across a cinder block became a teeter-totter. Tall sticks with tin cans nailed to them became stilts, and many other ways we had of keeping ourselves entertained at home.   OTHER GOOD TIMES WERE when Mother packed up food and took us to the park early in the morning before it was so awfully hot. Glen Oak was so close; it was our favorite.

Read Part 2 in the December issue of The Traveler Weekly.