Faye: The Good of Society

June 24, 2011 3 min read

“There is nothing in the world that is as important to me as my family. I believe that family will last forever and that kinship bonds that we create on this earth will last with us forever throughout the eternities.”

“It would be wrong for me to say that my Heavenly Father isn’t the most important being in my life … of course He is. But I don’t know where I’d be without my husband and my family and friends that have become like family.”

“Family has always been good to me.  Better in fact than I was to it. As the oldest of 6 children, I was supposed to help with the smaller kids.  And, usually I did, but not always. I was a little selfish when I was a girl.  Then when I got into high school, I wanted to sing and dance and spend time with my friends.  I loved all of those things.  I probably spent too much time working on my dresses and doing my hair.” 

“Before I knew it I was pregnant with my own child.” 

Here Faye pauses.  She never tears up.  But just a hint of pink emerges around her eyelids.

“Of course, that baby didn’t survive.”

“That was one of the saddest moments of my life.  But because of that little baby, one of the happiest things in my life happened – Jay and I got married.  Jay was two years older; he was graduating and going off to summer jobs and college; I probably wouldn’t have stayed in touch with him after high school.  But because of that baby, Jay and I were married just a week after high school graduation.”

“His family disowned him for a while.  My family was busy caring for me and preparing a good home for the new child.  It was the middle of the depression and Jay was lucky enough to have found a summer job in the mines in Nevada.  When he returned, his parents barely talked to him.  So he moved into our small home with all of my brothers and sisters.  He immediately started commuting to college  –  he was up before sunrise and home well after dark.  I didn’t see much of him, but I had plenty to do taking care of my brothers and sisters and helping with the family business. I took care of my family, but really we were helping each other.”

“We had two beautiful little girls while Jay was in college and then our third came along right after he graduated.  It was well into the Depression by then and jobs were impossible to find.  He got a quarter-time high school teaching job.  I was about as busy and as tired as I’ve ever been in my life.  One summer, the girls and I survived mostly on vegetables that we grew in the backyard.  We really didn’t have any money to use at the market.”

“At our lowest point that year, our neighbor – a widow who was no better off then we were– brought us a small boxful of canned meat.  I knew those were probably her last cans of food, but she was sacrificing for us.  Her kindness, allowed me to take care of my family. I never ate anything in those cans, and stretched one can over two days of meals for the girls.”

“Then, out of the blue, through one of his professor’s recommendations, Jay was offered a position as a research assistant in a lab at Berkeley.  The job would pay enough to keep us alive.  They sent some money to help us with the move.  I took some of that, without telling Jay, and bought a carton on canned meat and left it on our neighbor’s front porch the day we moved.”

“Jay and I weathered all of those tough times.  My kids grew up and moved away, and I found a new family in neighbors and friends who were there to help and encourage me.  My community has become my family – people are the most important thing to me.  When you get older, you realize that houses, and cars, and clothing matter very little.  People you care for are the only things that really matter in the end.”