I wonder what my mother was doing 74 years ago tonight?
I don’t remember any stories about February 24, 1937. The day before I was born.
*sigh* WelL, TODAY—all these 74 years later—I’ve cleaned house. Over the course of the last month or so, I’ve had to sort through miscellaneous physical challenges and today was a really good day!! So, I tackled my house. Why? Oh, just ‘cause. Waking to a clean house in the mornings is one of my joys. Guess I’d like to wake up on my birthday to an orderly, things-in-their-places, relatively “clean” home. These days, that is an unusual gift!
It is funny that as the story-keeper of the family, I don’t know any of the stories about the day before my birth. What did Mother do? When did her parents and sister get to their tiny apartment in Hearne? Did Mother clean house all day? Did neighbors drop in? Did she cook? Did Grandmother Alice bring a week’s worth of meals? Probably. Mother kept a record of my first year in a little, pink book but that was about me. I wonder about her. How did a 25-year-old expectant mother feel in 1937… on a cold day in February
Well, I do know a LOT about their beginning.
After one week of marriage, MayBeth and Mack Hoyt walked home from church, arm in arm. MayBeth dropped her Bible and her new groom immediately retrieved it. Then Mack stopped in the middle of the street and looked at the Bible. He looked at his new bride.
“Sweetheart?” he asked, with a puzzled look on his face.
MayBeth smiled and said, “What, Darlin?”
“Well, this IS your Bible, isn’t it?”
“Then why does it say: Mary Elizabeth Hughes?
“Well, silly, that’s my name.”
Mack handed the Bible to MayBeth but did not move along He just stood. Looking at MayBeth. They had met at the First Baptist Church in Hearne, Texas two years earlier. They both maintained it was mutual love at first sight and Mack had traveled the 20 miles down Highway 79 to Milano, Texas to see MayBeth any time he could “hitch” a ride. In between their times together, they wrote letters to each other. MayBeth saved some of the letters she received from the young man from the big city who stole her heart.
So, in early August, 1933, there was a bridal shower at the home of her parents, Luther and Alice Isaac Hughes then on Sunday afternoon, August 20, at the home of the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Hearne, Mack Hoyt and MayBeth Hughes were united in holy matrimony.
The following Sunday, the heat in the Texas air hung hot and heavy but Mack kept standing in the middle of the street staring at MayBeth with his hands on his hips. She blushed and smiled and twisted the small gold band on her left hand.
Finally, a broad grin began to spread across Mack’s face and he said, “Well, we’ll settle one thing here and now. You kept your real name secret for two years, but our first child will be named Mary Elizabeth! Now, let’s go home.”
It took a while, but when their firstborn crashed the scene, I WAS a girl. I’ve often wondered if my brother Jerry had come first, whether he would have liked the name Mary Elizabeth. When our daddy set his mind….
Sometime around mid-afternoon on February 24, 1937, birthing began to call. Time seemed to stand still for the young couple, but at eight o’clock the next night, Mack and MayBeth became parents for the first time. And, it was a “they” thing because Mack stayed in the bedroom through the whole ordeal. So, with birthing done, Old Dr. Bo handed the screaming baby girl to Grandmother Alice for cleaning while he tended to the new mother. Mack went out to the small living room to announce the results of those long hours to the waiting family.
When all the commotion settled down, Mack went back to the bedroom to hold his new daughter. He just stood at the foot of MayBeth’s bed a long time, rocking his daughter back and forth.
Mother said, “Darlin, is she all right?”
Mack grinned and said, “Well, yeah. But, Sweetheart? Well, gosh, half her legs are turned up in feet.”
In spite of pain, MayBeth laughed.
Mack regained some of his composure and sat on the edge of Mother’s bed. He said, “Mamma. I want you to meet MARY ELIZABETH HOYT. Your first AND your last child. We’ll not be doing this ever again.”
J Mother had to do a lot of whatever it was she did to convince my Daddy, but four years later, they did bring forth into the world their second (and last!!) child, a son, my little brother.
Thank you Mother and Daddy for giving me life. For showing me the Way. For standing by—no matter what. But, mostly, thank you for introducing me to Jesus!
Dearest love, from your first-born who was always knows as