Graphic: back to Boynton IndexBetsy Ann Shaw Crocker: (1856-1940) Journal Excerpts

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graphic of children playing in treeSeptember 7, 1936   Can it be that eighty years I have followed this trail of life-through sunny lanes where dazzling sunshine shed its rays around me - then on hilltops grey where tears like rain descended - and today while somewhat nearby and waiting my heart is filled with the hope which looks beyond the sunset far.

While in my somewhat lonely hours of meditation I think of all my dearest ones departed and place them like "apples of gold in pictures of silver" and hang them on memory's wall and hold them there as a shrine to gaze on as long as life lasts.

Yet there are still many left to love me and blessings still to count. I often say in the morning, "Just for today, Lord. Just for today," and before the day is over little arms are clinging round my neck, and bright faces of youth surround me.

I try and make their interests and joys mine, even if my stories and happenings of long ago fail to interest them. I will try and walk the rest of my journey with them and call them the gifts of my old age-given by Him, the giver of all good gifts.

As I gaze on the surrounding beauty of nature, that too gives me an uplift, and "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help." I love to see the grand old hills in the distance and sometimes feel they are like arms of protection around our home, children, and friends who mean so much to me.

Today I feel drawn nearer to all these gifts, and to the dear Heavenly Father who has so blessed me these eighty years of life.

September 7, 1937   Eighty-one years finds me thinking of that long ago when a baby girl was brought to a pretty country home in old New England. Such a long time.

Graphic of woman hanging laundry on clotheslineMany pleasant memories I now recall as God gives me a keen memory of the many happenings, as the youngest of the flock and the child of my father's old age.

I seem always to be at his heels. I never see a field of yellow pumpkins in autumn but what I think how I used to go with him to gather ours, sure of a ride in the wheelbarrow on the trips to the garden. His "Betty had to sit on top to keep them from blowing away." I feel now he just wanted me there.

This beautiful morning as I write these lines - miles and miles from my old home - memory takes me back to the home where I was born and loved for over 60 years. I see it all so plainly: the pretty white cottage, Mother's lilac bush at the end of the kitchen window, her sweet red roses on the front side by the door where in childhood I used to wait for the girls who lived next door to come along to go to school.

Yes, and three brothers much older that I had to love and tease me ... after all these many years I love to recall their affection, and in the home was the dearest of mothers always looking after our needs.

After all these years I realize more than ever what a happy home mine was. We all loved each other and our thoughts and interests centered on each other, and that is what makes a home.

And oh, the lovely tall oaks that surround our home under which I have spent so many happy hours playing, gathering acorns, and listening to the songs of happy birds around me.

At the corner of the barn was a grand old elm, and every year a golden robin would build its nest in the lovely branches, and all through the long summer days would send forth sweet notes of song. I seem to hear them now after all these years.

I have read they build their nests of thread and weave a nest for their babies, and line it soft and nice with feathers from their own breasts. How wonderful the instinct God gives to all His creatures both great and small.

NOTE from Judy: I contacted Massachusetts Audubon to determine the identity of a golden robin. The response: "Though I have never heard of the name 'Golden Robin' used in reference to orioles, based on the rest of your information, especially the description of the song, and the mention of them nesting in elms, I have little doubt that the bird in question was in fact a Baltimore Oriole," says Simon Perkins, Field Ornithologist, Massachusetts Audubon.


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