Friday, July 20, 2012

Gerushia Revisited ~

Well....Hello There,

It is 12:15 p.m. and the backyard thermometer is well past the 90 degree mark.  I do believe my day will be spent inside.  Is it hot in your neck of the woods?

I figure, as long as I'm spending the day at home and out of the heat, I may as well tell you a story.  

Way back in September of 2009 I blogged about my great aunt Gerushia.  I talked a bit about who she was to me and about her life in the Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas.  That was almost 3 years ago and I think it's time to revisit her story.  

Many folks ask me why my art business is called "Gerushia's New World".  People are often curious about the pronunciation of the name as well.

Gerushia sounds like this ~ ja ROO sha.  The usual way to spell this name is Jerusha.  I have no idea why this particular spelling was used, but I adore it!

Okay, so here's the story of my great aunt Gerushia ~

Gerushia was my mom's aunt.  She was born in 1909 ~

My mom often spoke about her to me when I was a little girl.  My mom had a southern accent, and she referred to her as "Ain't Jarooshy".  (I love that)!!

Gerushia married a kind gentleman named Loyd in 1926 at the young age of 17 ~


It wasn't long before Loyd and Gerushia had a baby girl...and then a baby boy.  Together, they worked on their little farm in Pettigrew, Arkansas and raised their children.  It was a hard life....working a farm in the Ozarks during the Great Depression.  I've heard tell that Loyd used to say "The Depression passed right on by without us knowing it because we were poor already".

Soon after Gerushia's 24th birthday, she passed away.  Diphtheria found it's way to the tiny town of Pettigrew, Arkansas, taking Gerushia's life and leaving Loyd behind with two small children.  Their baby boy was only 7 months old at the time of Gerushia's death.

Throughout Gerushia's illness, the local "church ladies" took turns looking after her.  They brought food for Loyd and his children and helped in any way they could.

It was tough...being a single dad to two small children and running a farm all at once.  So, Loyd arranged for the children to stay with family while he grieved and worked and worked and grieved.

One of the "church ladies" that so kindly helped Gerushia during her sickness was a gal named Marvie ~ my aunt and my dad's oldest sister.  Marvie was getting close to 25 years old.  She had a big handful of nieces and nephews, but had no children of her own and had never been married.  Then.....Loyd entered her life....

Marvie had always liked Gerushia.  They sang in the church choir together and she surely felt bad for Loyd, and for those children being left behind without a mother.  

Well, Loyd wasn't a very romantic guy but he wooed Marvie as best as he could, eventually asking Marvie to marry him.  He said "I can't offer you much and I have these two children to look after, but if you're willing, I'd make you a good husband".  Marvie said "yes".

They married and Marvie took those two children to her heart just like they were her own.  Soon after, Loyd and Marvie had a baby girl.  

Loyd, Marvie and their children moved away from Pettigrew, Arkansas....settling in Southwest Missouri.  

Every year, Loyd and Marvie made the drive from Missouri to Pettigrew to clean Gerushia's grave and leave flowers.  They made this trip every year until they were both too old to travel.

My mom told me the the "Story of Ain't Jarooshy" many, many times.  Of course, I never knew Gerushia and my mom was only 6 years old when Gerushia passed away.  However, I did know Marvie and Loyd...two of the kindest people ever.  Now, both Marvie and Loyd are gone as well. see, Gerushia was my mom's aunt.  But, in a round about way, she was connected to my dad's side of the family as well....through my dad's sister, Marvie.

When I decided to rename my art busines, something called me to Gerushia.  She was connected to me on both sides of my family.  She was a strong southern girl and she was in my heart and my bones through my mom's stories.  

Her name is with me every day,  through the memories my mom gave me and through "Gerushia's New World".

Until Next Time:
Gerushia's New World


Deborah said...

Oh, what a beautifully sad story, but mostly beautiful. We must choose to see the beauty in life, especially when the going gets rough, yes? I HAD wondered about the name...hearing the story, how could you choose anything but. **blows kisses** Deb

A Fanciful Twist said...

OH WOW! What a tale!! I read every word while listening to the soundtrack for Finding Neverland, it was magical! Amazing, and I am so glad that Marvie stepped in.

Extra glad that you are keeping Gerushia alive in her very own New World! Love it!


Gerushia's New World said...

Thank you for stopping by Deborah and Vanessa.

Yes, I keep Gerushia very close to my heart. I want to keep her story alive and all the stories my mom shared with me about growing up in the Depression in the Ozarks. Strong folk, they were.


Bobbypin Bandit said...

Thanks for sharing this story! I loved Gerushia before, but now that I know how to pronounce it, I love it even more! That's so interesting how families can become so interconnected. It's fascinating to me how our elders or ancestors' spirits can remain so connected to us. It is definitely your great ain't Jarooshy's new world, as seen through your eyes!

P.S. It's been 95 degrees and humid here in Tucson, double ick!

Girl With Chalk said...

What a lovely story! <3 <3 <3

MoxyFoxDesigns said...

Stories keep the lives of those who are gone with us. I love this story. No frills, just people dealing with life as it unfolds.. That you are creating a new world for Gerushia is both mysterious and charming. She lives on in your heart and consequently in your art. So wonderful!