Yearbooks, Memories and Such.

One of our grandsons was over at the house recently and we got to talking about chess.  This led to the attic and a search for a beautiful granite chess set one of our daughters brought from Mexico several years ago.  In the course of rummaging around up there, I came across a box with a bunch of yearbooks:  mine from college, one of my wife’s from high school and some of my mom’s from high school and college.

I got to looking at my mom’s yearbooks and was struck by the fact that almost every page was filled with autographs, well-wishes and mysterious sayings, which I’m sure made perfect sense to her and her friends.  My own yearbooks? – pretty vacant in comparison.

One of her college friends prophesied that Mom would become a famous biology professor at Harvard (her nickname was “Bugs”) and that she would marry a President of the United States.  Well, she did teach nurses, but she married a truck driver.  A good thing for me, otherwise someone else would be writing this.  My youngest son was born in a hospital where she worked as a nurse, and while my wife and I were there, this lady probably in her 60s (she seemed old to us at the time!) came and asked if I were related to ? – and she named Mom.  I was.  This lady had been one of her students in the hospital, and she told me what a wonderful teacher and woman Mom was.

It’s hard to believe that the yearbook with the prophecies is 80 years old.  It’s from 1933.  I doubt if Mom ever thought about her 73-year old son one day looking at this book.  There’s probably only one or two of all those girls still alive – they’d be around 100 now.  She herself would have turned 100 last year.  But she’s been gone for more than 40 years.

The books served as an interesting snapshot of an earlier, much different, time.  The fashions and hairdos looked funny.  But then, ours would probably look funny to them as well.  Probably embarrassing.  The interesting thing about her high school yearbooks was that two of them mentioned this club of boys whose goal was to advance Christian values in the school.  One of the books mentioned the Bible studies they held.

This is certainly in stark contrast to the internet article two days ago about a high school student who was suspended for saying, “bless you,” when one of her classmates sneezed.  Seems this expression was on a list of several “religious” words forbidden by the teacher.

TImes have certainly changed.

But they do that.  Children grow up.  Fashions come and go.  Some may come back, others may become a laughingstock in the future. Today’s treasure may become tomorrow’s trash.  The only thing that doesn’t change, I guess, is that things change.

If our focus is on this world, it’ll change.  That may be good; it may be bad.  I have some ration books from WWII.  Very precious at one time, but just an historical curiosity now.  I have a work history which goes back to 1961.  I can tell you every job I’ve held in that time and how much I made.  Interesting (perhaps only to me!), but pretty useless now.  I remember the first job I had making a buck an hour!  I was rich!

One of our children will have been with her employer 20 years next January (my! – where has the time gone! 🙂 ).  Some of our grandsons are thinking about college and what they want to do in life.  I kid my daughter that in just a few years, she can look forward to be a grandma!  I don’t think she’s ready for that 🙂 .  I think it would be great to be a great-grandpa. 🙂

The point of all this rambling?  There’s really only one thing in this life that never changes.  (And yes, I know you can think of exceptions to that generalization.  But you’ll see what I mean.)  In praising God, the Psalmist said, Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.  They will perish, but You will endure; yes, they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed.  But you are the same, and Your years will have no end, Psalm 102:25-27.  The writer to Hebrews quotes these verses in Hebrews 1:10-12.  Then he wrote, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, 13:8.

I really don’t know how to end this.  Just, I guess, an encouragement not to put all our eggs into one basket.  Better – we should put them into His basket and let Him take care of them.

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What Will We Leave Behind?

I guess I’m getting old.  Actually, there’s not much “guessing” about it.  I think about death a lot more than I did when I was younger.

Besides, it’s kind of been brought to my attention lately.  I wrote a post a few weeks ago about an elderly neighbor who was found dead in his home.  My next-door neighbor was the one who told me what had happened.  Two weeks later, he died.  He was my age.  [added a day later: Now there’s a “sale” at his house.  Cars parked up and down the street.  People going through the house; strangers dissecting a life now gone.  Got me to thinking about such things.]

Our daughter who lives in Florida was here last week to visit us.  While she was here, she went through a container of things which had belonged to my grandmother and had been in her china cabinet – which we still have, with some of her things, with some of ours, on display.  The daughter has a china cabinet now herself.

While we were up in the attic, I came across a box of old letters, etc.  Report cards, all kinds of stuff.  One problem with all that.  Several years ago, my other daughter came across one of my report cards from elementary school.  Said she knew where her kids got their problems from.  🙂

I have a little box of things from my grandfather – razor, cuff links, things like that.  That’s all, plus a memory of him lying in his casket.  I was six.  Never really got to know him.  I regret that.  He was handy with tools and building.  Grandma told me that, in today’s terms, he flipped houses.  Maybe I’d have learned something from him.

Grandma and Grandpa were Mom’s folks.  Never got to know my Dad’s folks.  Dad, either, for that matter.  They divorced when I was too young really to remember.  I have two memories of my dad.  That’s all.  We have Grandma’s dining room table, a nice desk that stood in her living room for as far back as I can remember, a couple of other desks…. Nothing from Mom, just a couple of pictures.  And some potholders she used to crochet.

I stood by Mom’s grave in 1970 and thought about all the arguments we’d had while I was a teenager.  All the heartaches and sleepless nights I must have caused her.  I was not a model son.  If I’d’ve lived in OT times, I might even have been a candidate for stoning to death.  I regretted it all.  But it was too late to tell her that.

Grandma gave me something more valuable than “stuff.”  I spent most summers with her.  During that time, she saw to it that I listened to Christian radio.  Nothing like we have today, but still there were good, godly men teaching on the radio.  M. R. DeHaan, founder of the Radio Bible Class, Theodore H. Epp, First Mate Bob and the crew of the good ship Grace, and others whose names I’ve forgotten. *sigh*  (good, happy memories)  It didn’t matter if I was outside playing or what, when time came for these programs, I was called in and had to listen.  She saw to it that I went to SS and church.  Gave me as much of a start in the Christian life as anyone, till the guy I worked with who kept inviting me to church and I finally went, just to shut him up!  Strange, that’s where the Lord met me and called me to Himself.

Grandma was a SS teacher herself.  The church was fairly liberal, even though she was conservative herself and taught that way.  Now, she didn’t have the radio on all the time. To this day, I dislike having the TV or radio on in the background.  I have nothing against peace and quiet.

Mom never minded if I went to church, or not.  She was happy when I went to Bible College.  Came to my graduation.  I’m sorry she never got to meet her future daughter-in-law or be a grandma to our kids.  She’d’ve been a good one.  But she died, too.  Two months before I got married.  But she had had trouble with church.  I don’t know the story, but she was told she wasn’t welcome at the church Grandma went to.  Kind of soured her on the whole “church” thing.

The point is,  we all leave this life.  And we leave stuff behind.  Things and memories.

What are we leaving behind for our kids, and their kids?  And their kids?  God grant that it’s good stuff, good memories, good upbringing, most of all, the “good things” of God.