Dear Folks,

    Mother passed away about 4:30 this morning. The funeral is to be at Kempner Baptist Church, on Monday, Nov. 11, at 10:00 AM. I am sure that the church will want to furnish us lunch that day.
    There will be a visitation at Dobson Funeral Home Sunday evening at 6-8PM. I will have three extra double beds available here at my house for anyone who needs them.


    Sent flowers to Tiana's funeral from all of us and hope it was ok with you -included a short msg and signed our names.
    She was born Apr 15th, 1912 second oldest after Glenna Mae. When Tiana & Edward married in 1939 Jimmy and Noreta were 5 & 1 yrs -Their mom died in 1938.
    Love, Dad
    I just wanted to say thank you for sending the card to your Aunt Tiny when we thought that she was getting better. I don’t exactly know what happened except that the Good Lord decided that it was time to take her home. Because she was doing fine one day and then all of a sudden she took a turn for the worse. She kind of went to sleep but you could tell that she knew we were all there at her bedside and she would open her eyes and look at us every once in awhile. However, she wasn’t in any pain the doctors made sure of that thank God.
    I remember her looking at Jerry and then at me and I told her that if she had to go to go and not worry about us that in heaven she would meet up with her parents, her two sisters, and Edward, and of course she wouldn’t have to worry about having any pain whatsoever there because up in heaven there would be no pain. I also wanted to thank you for being such a good friend to both Jerry and I and keeping in touch with us.
    May The Good Lord Bless You And Your Family,
    Your Friends,
    Barbara & Jerry

Uncle Paul who is related to the Godwin’s by matrimony says he married into a family of thoroughbreds. Married to my Aunt MayDell he’s referring to my father, one uncle and seven aunts.
    When Tiana was five days old, a blustery April hailstorm beat out the windowpanes to the bedroom where she and her mother were, but she was safely covered with a pillow.
    (Godwin-Hill and Related Families, Gadbury, Ruth Godwin, 1980, p 66)
Their parents Enoch Godwin and Nollie Bell Hill had been married four years when my Aunt Tiana was born; by the time Grandmother gave birth to her ninth and last child-- Dad, Tiana was 17 years old; a strikingly handsome young girl with long sable brown hair she kept up in a bun, full rose-colored lips and the much talked about town “Godwin eyes.” Her husband of fifty years passed away just two years ago, living in Lampasas they built up a herd of milk cows operating a dairy for over four decades. A ruddy faced blond haired man with hands thick from hard work, Charles Edward Smith was missing a finger under some mysterious circumstances I was too polite to ask about and because of that I would alwys greet him with running hugs and a kiss on the cheek to avoid any possibility of a handshake. I was more than just careful about avoiding getting myself buried in the grain bins by cousins just in case that missing finger was wiggling around in there still somehow. A man who valued his opinions about his country Uncle Edward corresponded by letters to Presidents and they wrote him back. His daughter Peggy follows in his footsteps. Attending a Town Hall Meeting President George W. Bush was holding last spring; she told him that it was her opinion that women on welfare should be sterilized. President Bush thought this was a funny idea and when he laughed she gave him her hardest teacher look then checked for understanding by repeating her opinion. She wants women on welfare to be required by law to use Norplant. President Bush did take her comments more seriously the second time around. I don’t necessarily share her opinion, but I can understand where she may be coming from teaching in a federal women’s prison.

Food flowed from Aunt Tiana’s kitchen and when teen-aged Dad went dove hunting with his fishing license, she had a small ‘conniption fit’ then made him a delicious dove pie. (It’s something like chicken pot pie only made with dove meat and a few buckshot pellets); only her chicken fried steak could rival Grandmother’s and always served it up on her big Blue Willow platter.

Tiana and Edward were childhood friends and dated sporadically looking to each other for counsel during their courtship. Edward was a young widower with a son and daughter when they married in 1939, and they had a daughter, Peggy and son, Jerry together.

Tiana went to a one-room school house in Long Cove until the eighth grade, graduated from Lometa School in 1931, attended Baylor for a time then; Tarleton State College. After teaching for a while she went into nurses training; later working as a seamstress to supplement their income. In 1957 they built a pink brick home where I spent curled up in afternoon naps as a toddler on her Baptist pallet at the First Baptist Church of Kempner. After 40 years of operating their dairy they sold their herd in 1991.

Grandma and Grandpa were good farmers and considered a success at it. They had to be to have raised the family they did during the worst depression this country ever experienced. They never knew anything other that hard work as all of them did in the family. Aunt Tiana wrote about her memories in her “Living Off the Land”

    As a gardener, Mother was a wonder! She raised enough in the garden to feed and raise nine children and all the company they brought home. I have always marveled at how she cooked for, and fed, all the hands during syrup-making.
  • We started hoeing berries in January and hoed until March, in the evenings after school. When they were ripe, we picked them. If we offered to give some to the neighbors, they would ask, “are they picked?” If they were, they gladly took them; if not they refused.
  • We cut potatoes to be planted, and hoed the garden, set out onions, cabbages, tomatoes and watered them. One year Papa had us set out rows and rows of onions in the field. It was such hard work!
  • One day we were all hoeing in the garden. Papa had gone to town to get some sweet potatoes. He had a big fat possum under a tub in the front yard and they planned to have opossum and sweet potatoes for supper. “Oh my!” I though “How horrible it would be to have a stinking old ‘possum on the table!” Of course I did not intend to eat any, but it would be such a disgrace to the family! I pretended to have to go get a drink of water. I took my hoe and let that; possum out. Oh my, I was sure scared of him! I dug a hole in the ground, so it would look like he had dug out. And I never did tell anyone!
  • Mother raised... hundreds of chickens in her lifetime. At one time she sold baby chicks by putting ads in the Farm and Ranch. They were Brown Leghorns. Then she changed to White Leghorns. When we were very small, she would have us build our playhouse by the little chicken house so we could keep the hawks off the chickens. These chickens provided a lot of our living, eggs each day, most of our meat, and all of Mother’s money. I remember turning the eggs at night and passing the flashlight under them to see if they were going to hatch.
  • Mother milked the cows so we could have milk, cream and butter. Glenna Mae and Ruth would come in after school and skim the cream of the milk and drink it. Did they get fat, and the rest of us went without.
  • One time Mother bought two lovely Jersey cows from Aunt Ann and Uncle Tommy Bishop, who lived in Lampasas and were moving to Houston. She milked the cows for a while. Then one morning she went out to milk, only to find them both dead, lying on their backs, with all four feet sticking straight up in the air. Mother did not cry often, but she cried then.
  • When I was very small, Papa fenced off a place along a little creek that was a drainage ditch between our place and Uncle Lonnie’s place. He planted it in Burmuda grass so he could raise hogs there. That did not last long. They got out too often. After that we just had two hogs for meat…Mother would have us carry the slop to the hogs. The bucket would be too heavy for one to carry, so she had us put a stick in the handle so two could carry it. If we got mad at each other, one would try to put the other’s end of the stick in the slop bucket to get it dirty for the other one to carry.
  • I always wondered how Mother could make the two hogs that we raised for meat and lard go so far. They would last all year. With lard she fried chicken, made biscuits every day, seasoned vegetables, made cakes and pies, and fried down sausages. And last of all she made lye soap from this lard. The soap was for washing clothes and sometimes kids, if we short of hand soap.
    Your Eggs and My Eggs (1988) p.23.

Visiting them over childhood summers they always needed a willing pair of hands to the work around the farm. Uncle Edward sent my cousin and I out to round up a part of his herd that had broken through a fence and into a pasture of wildflowers. If they grazed on the wild onions growing there he told me, the flavor would come through and their milk would be ruined. Texas bluebonnets blossomed in field there with bright orange scissor-tailed flycatchers streaking across them taking my breath away. I gathered a big bouquet and gave them to Aunt Tiana, she beamed when I told her how they matched her eyes; put them in one of Grandmother’s vases and chucked me under the chin. Popping a piece o f peppermint candy in my mouth I returned my very best freckled-faced girl grin.

Then there was the fire one snowy cold winter in the middle of the night, one of the grain bins had exploded burning their dairy completely down to the ground. Uncle Edward rebuilt it with lots of spanking new fiberglass tubes and shiny steel pasteurizing tanks that would pump and whoosh the sweet heady smelling milk down the lines, followed up with tangy chlorine after a good cleaning. A big semi trailer truck came and took the gallons upon gallons of milk to market. All those years of hard work eventually got to my uncle and neuropathy in his legs sent him to bed in his late 80’s; for some reason Aunt Tiana went to bed with him too.

As news of my Aunt Tiana’s impending death trickled in I was saddened to think that another member of the “Greatest Generation” was leaving. I will miss them.

In memory of Charles Edward Smith {1908-2000) and Tiana Godwin Smith (1912-2002)

Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you."
-John 14:2 (NIV)