Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Momma Couldn’t Go to the Funeral


Pictured at far left in the photo above is Myrtle Critchfield Reber with her sisters and mother in 1947. Myrtle was born June 7, 1906 and had a younger brother Arthur “Conrey” Critchfield, who was born February 4, 1908.

I want to share with you a short story that Myrtle has written about her little brother’s death at age 3 on August 19, 1911:

“We moved back to the house that Father had built for us. That was our home for many years. While they unloaded our things, Conrey and I played in the yard all day. That night Conrey woke up and asked Mother to put on his sailor suit because he was going away. He died that night of diphtheria. We were put in quarantine and Father, who was away at work, couldn’t come home. He made a wee wooden coffin for his son and it was passed through a window. Mother and Bonita lined it with white satin, placed Conrey in the box and passed it through the window to strangers to bury her first-born son. It was a terrible time. Mother was grief-stricken, but had to go on without Father to comfort her. I don’t remember how long we were in quarantine but I don’t think it was for very long.”

Myrtle’s mother Lettie (Mrs. Arthur B.) Critchfield is seated in the photo above.

A few months ago my husband and I were blessed with a gift of some family history that contained remembrances about his great, great grandaunt, Mary Campbell (Mrs. Absalom) Critchfield. The story by her granddaughter Myrtle is one of those many stories in the material we received. As we’ve read these stories, our hearts have grown so fond of Mary and the members of her family. We were so saddened when we read this story that her granddaughter wrote about losing her little brother. Learning of these difficult trials in the lives of our ancestors certainly changes our perspective of the trials we encounter in our lives today.


Greta Koehl said...

Becky, that story really touched my heart. My mother's youngest brother died of diptheria when he was about three and a half years old. You and your husband are so lucky to be able to preserve these family memories.

Mary said...

so sad. My dad's older sister died of diphtheria when she was 4..he never met her as she died 4 years before he was born.

Nancy said...

Stories of my ancestors not only change my perspective about hardships and trials that I face in my life, but they also give me an admiration for my ancestors and bolster me to be strong and have courage.

I think it's interesting that Conrey knew he was going away. And I can imagine the heartbreak of his mother at his going. How very, very sad.

Kathy said...

What a touching story. We are so lucky today that we do not face death from as many illnesses as our ancestors. So many died too yougn