Just arrived back from Fredericksburg, Texas from the Kelly Family Reunion. It was so quick but always good to see family. It has been a long five years since the last reunion I have attended. So much has changed since then….divorce, marriage, family sickness, death, births, aging and family tragedies. When I leave these gatherings I have such mixed feelings of gladness of coming from such a wonderful family legacy and sadness of missing loved ones all over again.
This picture is my grand parents, Lawrence Woodrow Wilson and Ina Mae Kelly Wilson, my Uncles Roger Wilson and Ronnie Wilson & my mom, Sue Wilson McGown.
Here is a poem by my mother wrote that shows my feelings exactly:
The words are hard to come by;
The words are hard to find.
The feelings are real;
But the words stay hidden away.
When I am with you,
The moments go so fast,
There seems no time to say,
The things my heart feels.
When I am away from you,
My thoughts are with you still.
Please know that I love you-
Who you are and who you are becoming.
Sue Wilson McGown
While traveling home on the plane, I’m overwhelmed with thoughts and memories of my visits to my grandparents home in Waco, Texas. Even though is was a small house, some how the whole family would stay there for several days at a time with no problems. We ate, played games, told stories, played football outside and watched football on TV together. We would have sixteen or more family members staying there and it just grew and grew as the years went by. Not only was there always enough beds, seats and food for everyone, grandmother had each family member’s favorite dessert ready to go at all times. At the end of a long hallway was the kids dream place. There were all kinds of toys, books and anything a kid would love. All the grandchildren and great grandchildren rummaged through that dream closet from the 1960’s through the 1990’s. My sister Cheryl calls it “Miracle on 4117 Pine”. My grandparents not only welcomed all family but family friends, church family and Baylor University students for as long as I can remember.
I will always be so thankful for my grandmother, Ina Mae Kelly Wilson. She was the most loving, giving, unselfish Christian lady I have or will ever meet. She has given me such a representation of the kind of woman to strive to be every day. I would be woken up by the smell of bacon, eggs and cinnamon rolls baking in the oven first thing in the morning. She was always the first one in the house awake, dressed and already had time to read a few scriptures, pray and start breakfast for the whole family. Grandmother was a quick bed maker. If you ever decided to crawl back in bed after dashing to the bathroom, the bed was already made. You might as well get up and head to see who was in the kitchen hoping it was just you and grandmother. It was one of the times I cherished and was our best conversations. She always made me feel like I was the most important person to her. I know we all felt the same way.
I wanted to share the following written thoughts from my cousin Glenn J. Cook:
As I sat on the aisle at Denise’s wedding yesterday and watched little Christi as flower girl, it reminded me of the generation before her that I had known. Her father, Wayne, in his white coat seeing that everyone was seated properly for his little sister’s wedding; her grandfather Roger, who will be 50 this year. It seems only yesterday that he was a kid who might kick you on the shin. Her great grandparents, Ina Mae and Lawrence whom I knew when they were courting. When I mentioned that Sue’s girls, Karen and Kathy, simultaneously wanted to know what their grand daddy looked like back then. My reply, just as now: tall, straight, quiet and easy going. They said they could not visualize him asking their grandmother to marry him; Sue said maybe he didn’t. Anyway, when his back went down the aisle, Margaret said he didn’t look 75. His grandsons, Wayne and Richard ushering, sharp and straight with white coats and black shoes, it seems to me qualified and would be a credit to the Honor Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown, Washington, D.C.
Christi may be fortunate and get to know and remember her great grandparents, her grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. But then Christi will not know about Papa and Mama Kelly and further back unless someone tells her. It would be great if some of us lived to tell Christi’s kids about their heritage. So, I see Grandpa Wood, a tall thin man with a beard and walking cane; Mama Kelly with her stooped shoulder and combing her long hair telling her grandson that “Love Lifted Me” and Ina Mae with her strength and attention to others, especially her own and then to Roger and Wayne.
Or, I might go back to Grandma Kelly, whose funeral I remember – Viney Morris, daughter of John Morris and mother of Papa Kelly. Every youngster ought to have a Papa Kelly, at least every boy.
It was great to see Ina Mae and Lawrence’s family; Ronnie, the lawyer, Linda, Michael, Lesli, Sue, Kathy, Karen and the Aggie, Jerry, who watched the squirrel steal one of Margaret’s pears. Then the beautiful wedding, the minister telling Denise and Buddy how a marriage ought to be. Then the final note, Karen (unless I got them mixed up again) asking Margaret and me “Would you like to come to my wedding in September?” You bet we would. I might have another though!
Written in church, unedited; grammatical and spelling mistakes a natural talent.
by Glenn J. Cook 7/24/88