Thursday, January 10, 2013

“If”

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It’s a lovely old poem…one that I’ve read over and over again from the time I was a little girl...

Written by J.P. McEvoy, and printed  by the Buzza Company in the 1920’s, it became a popular “motto” print of the day…

My great-grandmother, Estella thought it was very special—important words for her daughter to take to heart, so a print was purchased…

Estella Stapley_edited-1 {Estella Vance Stapley, my great-grandmother}

…and was given to her daughter, Velda. 

Velda Ellen Stapley--young {Velda Stapley Ostlund, my grandmother}

Velda remembered reading it over & over again  and loving it when she was a girl, and when she had a daughter…

Karen Ann Ostlund, 1956 {my beautiful mother, Karen Ann Ostlund Smith}

…it was given to her.  Framed in one of those beautiful old frames from the ‘20’s, it hung in her room.  Velda would read it to Karen often, telling her that the poem had “always been very important to her”…

Karen's bedroom{the room my mother shared with her little sister, Judy.  A beautiful photo of the room taken in the 1950’s, and there’s the poem hanging on the wall} 

…and in Karen’s room it hung until after she was married, and brought it into her home, and it was given to her daughter…me.

Julie Anne Smith 2

I, in turn, kept it in my room, reading it often…and loving every word.  Although I didn’t have it in my home when my girls were young, I have a copy of it now, any my daughters are also learning to love it’s every word…

“IF, For Girls”

“If you can hear the whispering about you

And never yield to deal in whispers, too;

If you can bravely smile when loved ones doubt you

And never doubt in turn what loved ones do;

Ruby LaPriel Riggs {LaPriel Riggs Smith, my grandmother}

 “If you can keep a sweet and gentle spirit

In spite of fame or fortune, rank or place,

And though you win your goal or only near it

Can win with poise or lose with equal grace;

Pauline Udall Smith {Pauline Udall Smith, my great-grandmother}

“If you can meet with Unbelief, believing

And hallow in your heart a simple Creed;

If you can meet Deception, undeceiving

And learn to look to God for all you need;

Shirley Gorrell--1 {Shirley Gorrell Campbell, my mother-in-law}

“If you can be what girls should be to mothers:

Chums in joy and comrades in distress,

And be unto others as you’d have the others

Be unto you—no more, and yet, no less;

Ida Francis Hunt, age 16 {Ida Francis Hunt Udall, my 2nd great-grandmother}

“If you can keep within your heart the power

To say that firm, unconquerable ‘No’,

If you can brave a present shadowed hour

Rather than yield to build a future woe;

Anna Ostlund young in sailor dress {Anna Meier Brandley Ostlund, my great-grandmother}

“If you can love, yet not let loving master

But keep yourself within your own self’s clasp,

“And let not dreaming lead you to disaster,

Nor Pity’s fascination loose your grasp;

{Minnie Peterson Campbell, my husband’s grandmother}

“If you can lock your heart on confidences

Nor ever needlessly in turn confide;

If you can put behind you all pretenses

Of mock humility or foolish pride;

Fern Ellsworth--portrait {Fern Ellsworth Gorrell, my husband’s grandmother}

“If you can keep the simple, homely virtue

Of walking right with God—then have no fear

“That anything in all the world can hurt you--

And—which is more—you’ll be a Woman, dear.”

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Just like all their mothers before them, these three girls of mine inspire me every day…

I’m so grateful to the women before—and after me—that teach me who I should try to be…

Julie