A strong, recurring theme in the life-histories of both my father and my mother is, thankfully, SACRIFICIAL LOVE. What a warmth comes to my soul as I read my dad describe his father as "the kindest man I ever knew." James Smith Turner the Elder lived in a densely-inhabited Glasgow sandstone block. He could be relied upon to help anyone in need. Father said that poor widows would come to him in the middle of the night, and James, like a good bishop, would willingly forego sleep to go and do and share whatever he could to help. In the 'thirties, when the economy crumbled in Europe as it did in the U.S., James kept on his workers in the family engineering business "perhaps longer than he should have," out of the goodness of his heart. And when one of his partner-brothers literally consumed the profits from the business and the business foundered, James "simply went out and got himself a job," a "very good job" testing the huge new war-ships from Yarrow's shipyard. (I'm not that sure of the chronology here.) He was a good man through and through, kind with his family as well as others.
My mother, Jessica, made sure to emphasize likewise the noble traits of her mother, Nellie Augusta Bartlett. While training to be a teacher, Nellie was presented with a beautiful pink-leather-bound volume of John Ruskin's writing and drawings by the Queen of the May at her college, who inscribed it: "To N. Bartlett, whose whole life is one sweet deed of charity." For me that says it all. (I was fortunate enough to inherit that book.)
Nellie contracted cancer in her forties. (Her little diary that I have, written after that in 1939, shows her priorities of faith and love.) When Jessica went to pick Nellie up from the hospital at one point, she said that as Nellie was wheeled down the long ward of women in their beds she received greetings from each one: Nellie had made that many friends during her time there. Sufferings in her marriage, as well as being kept from mothering her four children by her daily duty in the village shop/post office--these did not quell her charitable spirit. "She loved all, and all loved her."
I have two aunts who, along with my sweet, sunny father, epitomized cheeriness. When my daughters and I visited with them on our trip to the U.K. in 1996, the word "Pet" was heard over and over as they tenderly greeted and treated us. How blessed I am to be in their family!
I think I'll choose "Seek the Sun" and "Take Time for Vacations" as the other two lessons learned from my family. Mother was always to be found wherever there was a vestige of sunshine. Instinctively, I'm sure, she knew the power of the sun to beautify, cheer and heal. I well remember the time (the only time) I had been really ill with pneumonia (in July!) while we lived in Wallsburg, Utah. One Sunday the family left for church while I remained at home. It was a beautiful, warm day and I decided to rest in the full sun, to let its rays penetrate my body. This proved wise; I actually felt my energy rise as I lay there with gratitude in my heart to my God.
Father's family, living in urban Glasgow, I'm sure looked forward very much to the vacations that Grandma Lucy took pains to arrange annually, so the family might get away and enjoy some of the beautiful Scottish haunts in the country- and sea-side. While we lived in Glasgow we went with them, probably more than once. Father lists all the places he came to know and love on these holidays with his family. Theirs was a truly loving family, incredibly well-balanced and healthy of mind.
Alison, you paint such a portrait in words. What great lessons you have experienced and learned from your parents and grandmother. Isn't family amazing? Here you have remembered them and honored them in history!