My great-grandmother, Maggie Stahl, wrote this poem. I thought I would submit it in memory of her.
God gave us two little girls and a boy
With whom to share our pride and joy.
Enid, Frank and Geraldine,
With a sister and brother gone from between.
Etched on my heart to my dying day
Is memory of our little ones who were taken away.
These two little babes, named Therin and Grace
Each like an angel had a sweet face.
And were laid in their caskets lined with lace
Near their grandparents Gray
Into whose arms I hope Jesus has them placed.
When Frank was but a lad of three
A mechanic we were sure he’d be.
While under our old rocking chair
I said, “Frank, what are you doing there?”
“I’m geesing (greasing) it, Mommy, I’m geesing it.”
It still squeaks.
Near me through all of this I recall
Has been my wonderful mother-in-law.
And we never will forget the winter
When the lights we had to dimmer,
And of enough serum that couldn’t be bought
To save the lives of our two little tots.
And the time we had to choose
Which one of these to save or which to loose.
When Enid was ten and Frank about six
Were out to their grandparents Stahl, very sick.
With whooping cough and pneumonia.
An illness struck our boy, not eight
And removal of a rib did necessitate.
Through many weeks of gentle care,
The Angel of Death did hover there.
And I prayed a prayer in my silent grief
That he might be spared his life so brief.
From this illness his life was frail
As a cobweb out in the hail.
And when in delirium to me his said,
“Mother, I’m hanging from the sky on a thread.”
When the crisis had passed one night,
I was awakened by the flash of light.
Says he, “Mother, I was trying my new flashlight.”
This was a gift from his grandmother Gray
And with the passing of each day
His desire for a bicycle grew and grew
A wish, which eventually did come true.
Each day a new toy found its way to his bed
Including a bright tin monkey with a red head
Which hung on a cord right over his bed.
And made of a hundred discs
Which he took apart with his own little fists.
And could not put together again.
As the days of his convalescence came to an end
And school again resumed
The roses came to blend his pallid cheeks with bloom.
Summer passed and winter came
We still had our son to carry on our name.
Now it seems as though this family of five
Was doomed to loose some of its paradise.
About three years later in the fall of the year
Our youngest daughter and very dear
Took typhoid fever and became very ill.
And once again against our will
We came face to face with the Reaper
Whose name is Death
And with his sickle keen
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath
And the flowers that grow between.
A trained nurse stood with us by her bed each day
To plead with the Angel of Death to please go away.
The nurse had a small granddaughter
Who was a schoolmate
Of our blue eyed daughter
With the pretty brown pate.
And in her delirium she says to Daisy Brown,
“You are not the only cheese in town.
I’ve blown the enamel all off from this mug.”
Day after day in her delirium
She read, she sang and did arithmetic
And lived on buttermilk not even thick.
An older sister with freckles and auburn curls
And eyes like sky blue pearls
Stood with their brother outside her window
Each day on their way to school
With hopes in their hearts that she could go
With them right after Yule.
On cold starry nights under our old apple tree
I prayed to God to please answer me
And my prayer was answered by God in Heaven
Because he had spared our girl not eleven.
Christmas of that December
Brought joy and tears we all remember.
A bag of gifts from her Sunday school class
With one for each day for two weeks did last.
And from Rebecca Lodge came a beautiful dolly
Brought on Christmas morning by Susan Shawley.
And a few years later our little lass
Graduated valedictorian of her class.
One day from upstairs, I heard Enid scream,
“Mama, come quick. He’s beating the tar out of me!”
She against the wall in fright did stand
With a shoe held high in her right hand.
Says Frank, “Give me my sheepskin knuckle pads
What really soft walking you have had.”
While hunting her schoolwork, said Geraldine
To Enid one day, “Where is that magazine?
You read out too often
I’m going to stop talking.”
And she grabbed Enid’s fancy work of French knots
And from throwing them in the fire I had trouble to stop
Now there is still a dent in our living room wall
Where Geraldine threw the scissors at Frank Stahl.
And very fine stitches she truly could make
He, her elbow once too often did shake.
But her aim was too high or her brother too quick
I wonder now which one I did lick.
Enid was the first to graduate
Then came Geraldine
Each to leave home not long to wait
In the near future we hope to be
All together again with Frank to celebrate.
Out of feed sacks Geraldine makes dresses
To Gramps Hops she will take Larry she guesses.
Now Enid and John for clothes have a flare
But soon will have diapers and formula to prepare.
And Frank at Camp Phillips says he
Wonders, “What model it will be.”
Before a stove could be moved by Bill Stahl
He would have to take even the pictures from the wall.
Bald head Frank like bald head Bill
Have but few hairs on their head and never will.
Frank like Tarzan has long arms
Carl should have him to put hay in his barns.
Beautiful Tawny with his amber eyes and golden fur
Of all birds, sparrows he preferres.
He is buried now beneath my tulip bed
Please step with caution if there you tread.
We loved him.
We will ever remember the day
Of a scene on a street corner far away.
On a Sunday in August near Camp Crowder
The city of old Neosha
No family could have been prouder
Of his salute to Captain Mosher
By our son, Frank, in soldier’s uniform.
With tears in our eyes we recalled the day he was born
And with our hand clasped a little tighter
Before we all said, “Good-bye, dear.”
He looked at his small nephew of not two years
Who had his parents with lollipop smeared
Then he turned to me and said,
“Mother, are they worth it?”
One Sunday in stormy January
At the dinner table we did tarry
Waiting for a long distance call.
“Hello, Camper Crowder, hello?
Am I speaking to Private Frank Stahl?”
“Yes, Mother, it is I.”
After which we all both laughed and cried.
In soldier’s uniform so tall and straight
Frank was trained and ready to leave the states.
But fate stepped in and took a hand
Which kept him for going to war in a foreign land.
On a fourteen-mile forced march one very warm day
He fell to the ground with his pack
And there in the dust he lay
And to a hospital not far back
They took him at dusk of that day.
And though now he is better we do not know
Just when he may have a furlough.
And it has been a year and more
Since we have seen our solider boy
Private Frank Stahl was graduated in July 23, 1942
From Motor Transport School
Of the Signal Corps Replacement Training Center
At Camp Crowder, Missouri.
On some future tomorrow
Will you please sing this song for me?
His Eye is on The Sparrow
And I know his watches me.
Please read with close attention
And I know you will
Here is what I wish to mention
I want to thank you all, my dears,
For your love and care when I’ve been ill.
Now if in future years
These few lines should bring you tears.
Please remember that not for praise or glory
Have I striven to tell this story
Of the days we have shared together
Of both bad ones and the better.
And I hope when I am gone
These memoirs will linger on.