Friday, November 28, 2008

Flashback Friday, Writing Genes

It's Flashback Friday again, peeps! :)

For this installment I'm actually going to flashback to my Great Grandma, Marie Frankl. Marie was my Grandpa Gerald's mother, and I've discovered that part of my love of writing may have come from her. My Aunt Janella sent me a few articles that Marie had written for the church bulletin, and others that she wrote for the newsletters that were published at her nursing home as well.

 U B & Mary Frankl
Urban Bernard & Mary "Marie" Mulligan Frankl
(I may have also inherited her hair, but that's another post...)

The nursing home is where I have my memories of my great-grandma. Mom and I would go visit her when I was little and my older siblings were in school... I can remember sitting in bed with her and she would always have some sort of fruit in the room, like oranges, that she would sit and share with me. And as soon as Mom and Marie would start talking I would wander the halls and pop into people's rooms... asking if they would like to talk to me about anything.

I was a hit in the nursing home.

Eventually I'll share some of her articles with you, but the first piece of writing I'm going to publish is a letter she wrote to my dad when he graduated from high school. My dad is the second oldest of nine children (7 boys and 2 girls), and the boys spent quite a bit of time working cattle with my grandpa. You'll notice in her letter how proud she was of their farm life and the man my dad had become. This letter was written on May 27, 1962:

My dear Mike,

Congratulations on your graduation. I know it means a great deal to you, the accomplishment of something you have worked hard to attain. Now comes the time to think seriously of your life's work -- pray that you may be wisely guided in finding your vocation -- only in serving the Master to the best of one's ability is there lasting happiness.

I know, Mike, that with your kindly ways, your pleasing smile, and those honest blue eyes, you are one that will go out of your way to be gracious and helpful to others. This sort of treasure hunt for happiness seems to be universal to the world over -- may you find contentment and happiness in your daily living.

You boys from the farm, on graduation, take with you a special kind of heritage -- your farm background. Your experiences, as a farm youth, will be an advantage in later life, no matter where you find yourself. You have, in your manner, your habits, an integrity that is always recognized by your superiors. You have learned that value received is in proportion to value given. You have compassion and warmth to give the world, which it sorely needs. You farm boys are richly blessed because you have lived close to the earth -- you have planted seeds and watched them grow day by day, and then helped with the harvest. You have learned respect and awe for nature and what she can do to and for you and your efforts.

Life will not be free from hurts and disappointments. These come to all of us -- the dark threads in the tapestry of living. But you have a head start on the solution of many of life's problems -- a sort of insulation against them and a remarkable amount of good sense in dealing with them. Liking people is one of the important ingredients for getting the most out of life -- if you like people, you have an enthusiasm for working and living. You give of yourself to others, and, in return, you find yourself getting a great deal from them. It pays dividends not only in your work, but in the enjoyment of living.

Each of you boys has a special role to play -- what it will be, no one knows yet. But I'm sure you will assume your responsibilities a little bit better because you came from an Iowa farm.

In closing, dear, I trust you may know peace and find inner contentment, and may you and all your dear ones be blessed with peace of soul. May God bless you always, is the prayer of your loving grandma, Marie Frankl.

I read through this and realized that she knew my dad so very well then, and also had the foresight to see the man he would become. And she would be so very proud of him now. As he and my mom get ready to move on from farm life, they can look back proudly on the family they raised in the same vein Marie spoke of in her loving letter to her grandson.

She gave a lot of lessons to dad in this letter, and he obviously took them to heart. And I'm grateful he and mom took the time to pass those lessons on to us as well. I wouldn't have traded growing up on the farm for anything... it served all of us well and I pray my parents will be fulfilled in whatever life brings to them next.


  1. I'm sure that your parents are very fulfuilled! As parents our #1 concern is that we have raised our children to be responsible, caring people, who make the world a better place for themselves and others. - Yes, I'm sure that your parents are Very Fulfilled!

    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  2. What a blessing to know your roots so well. It is a really challenging thing to retire from the farm life, I've witnessed it on both sides of the family. Is someone in the family taking it over? God's blessings to them as they contemplate this endeavor.

    What a wonderfully rich tradition to have grown up with. I wonder when your father was able to digest the significance of her lessons in that letter? I shudder to think sometimes where my maturity level was at such a tender age.

    "...the dark threads in the tapestry of living. Liking people is one of the important ingredients for getting the most out of life..." beautifully said. Timeless and classic. I do see you in this letter, if I closed my eyes and someone read these words to me, I would see you. Maybe you got more than just the hair?

    Thanks for sharing. So good to have you back!

  3. I love the part about liking people. That is SO true. I know lots of people who really don't like others and they're bitter and angry about life. It's very sad.

    And the dark threads in the tapestry of life...such wisdom.

    You come from good stock!!

    When I saw the picture, I understood where the curly hair comes from. hee-hee.

    Love you, Gitz!

  4. This is so beautiful. The picture and the letter.(those two are pretty people!) You're a writer like your great Grandma.
    I'd really like to know more about farm life. Sometime maybe you could write about it. Also, I'll be praying for your parents as they move into this new place~
    Love to you

  5. Wow. I can't even imagine getting a letter like that. How honored your dad must have felt. To be talked to in such a manner and given such wisdom. Very neat that it exists so that you got to share in that.

  6. You are SO a girl after my own heart. I LOVE old family stories and photos like this, it is so great that you care and keep up with them.

    And my mother-in-law would adopt you in a heartbeat! :)

  7. What a wonderful letter. And what a treasure that you still have it.

    But, I gotta tell you, um, your Great Grandfather? Hot!

  8. Hey Girl!

    I like the new masthead.

    I just wanted you to know that although I haven't been commenting (traveling with sparse internet), I've been keeping up with you. I'm so glad that you're feeling a bit better!

    These Friday posts are fun. I'm going to have to get me some of those Marie Mulligan glasses. :)

  9. yeah. Urban IS HOTT!

    and i am totally okay with saying that.