My Father, "The Deacon"

Dad on the day of his marriage to Mother, June 15, 1917.
Dad on the day of his marriage to Mother, June 15, 1917. | Source

No, he wasn't actually a deacon. I'll explain shortly.

But first I want to introduce MY DAD! He was, after all, the best Dad a girl ever could have.

My dad was a special man among men, as well. Though he was short of stature and "stocky", he had "presence" more than many tall guys have!! He exuded capability, wisdom and willingness to work which earned him respect wherever he was.

He could fit in with others so effortlessly that he was often considered one of them. My Irish teacher was sure he must be Irish! His Mexican workers hardly doubted he was Mexican when he learned quickly and easily to converse in their colloquial language and understood their colloquial methods of doing things. Only folks who tried to undo him or outwit him felt the real differences.

Yet he had grown up in "The North", making him a 'damnyankee" to many a southerner. Up there he would probably be termed "Pennsylvania Dutch", due to his family heritage. He was of German, Dutch and Swiss descent and had the complexion and coloring to prove it! Auburn-headed, light brown eyes, light ruddy skin which sunburned easily. And where he ended up living most of his adult life was a place with relentless sun! He always had to protect himself with a big straw hat, long sleeved shirts and long pants, - almost always his "khakis", always meticulously laundered and ironed. He had his "dress khakis" and his "rough-wear khakis" - which was the fate of the dress khakis eventually. His only dress suits were conservative brown shades. But his shirts were always snowy white, starched and perfectly ironed, his tie and pocket handkerchief always coordinated. He did NOT believe in "show" but viscerally believed in quality in all things.

He didn't "need" a lot of social life. He preferred his family and the time to pause, read and reflect when not working. But he didn't object to Mother's having a wide circle of friends, art club involvement and Church involvement. He simply "passed" on such things for himself. If occasionally they "entertained", it was dinner and possible a trek to the farm (not the same as the ranch) to fish and cook out. He did love to fish but didn't get too many opportunities. His life was ordered and full. His "things" were ordered and simple.

But with it all, he was a lot of fun! I can just hear him, from where he'd be reading - burst out laughing and calling for Mother, "Elcy - come here - you've got to hear this! This is RICH!" And he loved to read aloud - and to share "a good one". People naturally seemed to come to him for advice and for the pleasure of his company. He seldom felt the need to seek out company, though. But he strongly believed in hospitality and welcomed visitors and guests.

"The Deacon"

1919- working in the Burkburnett Oil Fields in North Texas
1919- working in the Burkburnett Oil Fields in North Texas

How He Became "The Deacon"

My parents' idea behind moving to Texas was to strike out to try to make their fortune on their own. Their #1 goal was to be able to educate their one baby daughter, my eldest sister, and any other children they might have. Dad went to work on the drilling rigs in the newly opened Burkburnett Oil Boom oil fields in North Texas, and they settled into a house in Electra, Texas.

From his early childhood to his becoming a man eligible to go into the Army in WW was spent in northern Indiana under the auspices of the Mennonite Church. He had once considered becoming a minister, in fact. In his home town and surrounding farm area, in fact, were several Mennonite churches, actually named for his family.

But an ethical difference about going into military service as a conscientious objector, as the Church required prompted his break with the church, though he never abandoned its moral and ethical standards. Mother was of a different religious persuasion and he simply cut all ties with his church and all organized religion. And so it remained. In fact, I've never seen a Mennonite Church "for real" in my life, though I grew up hearing about it and its rigid customs.

But even after his departure from it, his demeanor and obviously high ethical standards earned him great respect and the nickname "The Deacon" among his coworkers in the very grungy work of oil drilling at the same time that his quick sense of humour and ready robust laughter kept it light and made him well-liked, plus he always "got the point" of even the most subtle jokes and in several languages!

My dad as a babe.
My dad as a babe.
With his natal family, top right.
With his natal family, top right.
One of the churches named for his family.
One of the churches named for his family.
During his stint as a teacher when still a sophomore in High School & he taught Mother!
During his stint as a teacher when still a sophomore in High School & he taught Mother!
On his college debate team.
On his college debate team.
As a student at the University of Wisconsin, where he earned his BS degree.
As a student at the University of Wisconsin, where he earned his BS degree.
A snippet of one of his philosophy course essay test answers.
A snippet of one of his philosophy course essay test answers.
The house my parents built themselves at the headquarters ranch in the 1920s
The house my parents built themselves at the headquarters ranch in the 1920s
Dad in Ft. Worth on a trip to buy or sell lambs.
Dad in Ft. Worth on a trip to buy or sell lambs.

He was a brilliant man, well-educated, but strictly left-brained, analytical, scientific - and an enormous propensity for "applied knowledge". He was not an "ivory tower" kind of thinker, but he contemplated things thoroughly and continuously.. He read assiduously. It was his "recreation", in fact. He could appreciate, admire and respect art and creativity but he didn't have an artistic mode in his own arsenal. That was Mother's primary realm, though she was a brilliant woman, in her own right, too.

This brings me to point out that, being born in 1890 in a conservative (even for then) home, he was amazingly open-minded about the abilities of women. No - he didn't consider that "equal rights" in the new-age sense was the wave of the future (if he even considered it possible) but he acknowledged and appreciated Mother's abilities and mind as well as those of his three daughters. His advice and imagination were of the going possibilities. Women's careers were set by "roles", of course, but he didn't consider those as second-rate. They were simply, in his mind and ability to imagine based on his background, "different". But valuable nonetheless.

I've mentioned that with the three elder very vocal siblings I grew up around, plus two very vocal parents, I seldom got in a word edgewise. But at least in our one-on-one conversations, I did feel free and encouraged to say my piece. It just didn't get as well honed and polished as those whose ideas were in the air constantly! And I became more of a writer than a speaker. I had the chance to observe and learn from all that, and one of Dad's pet adages was "Learn from the mistakes of others!"

He was also one of my very best friends. I came along so long after the other three, I think he'd exhausted all his tough discipline on them and bestowed much love - both sweet and tough when occasionally I needed it (but that was so seldom! hehe).

What was so special was that he was always INTERESTED in any little thing I had to tell him about. He worked very hard and often it was out at the ranch when the family had to remain in town during the school year.

But when he returned, - and I was always eagerly awaiting his return - he wasted no time getting to me and hearing about what I was doing and how school was going. I marvel at his patience when he would hear me out in rapt attention as I recited my ABCs or multiplication tables I'd learned during his absence. He'd even take time to give me a chance to show off that I knew how to apply my new-found knowledge! Patience of Job, I'd have to say in retrospect!

When I learned to whistle, it was he who was my first audience for "The Band Played On" in my best whistle!

He always took time to explain things too. And one of his favorite teaching tools was the use of poetry - the old-fashioned kind which always had a "moral" and taught a valuable lesson. I'm sure he tailored his choices to fit my need for instruction! haha I know that he had me pegged pretty accurately when I was no more than 4 years old, if that. I overheard him telling Mother that I was "a very determined little girl". At the time I kind of thought it wasn't a good way to be, or why else would it be under discussion? But I cannot tell you how many times his words have reverberated in my head when things seemed difficult or impossible! "I AM a determined little girl!" I'd conclude and go on to face whatever it was!

A Change of Plans

During the oil-rig working years he had an occasion to go on a hunting trip to Mexico with some of his buddies. They ran into an old water-well driller with a Model T drilling rig, a handful of contracts to drill wells in far southwest Texas where none had ever been and the thirsty land was useless without water, and they bought him out. It turned out that Dad was the only frugal one of them and soon bought his buddies out.

He came home to Electra and announced to Mother that their fortune was going to be found in far southwest Texas. By then there were three little kids who would grow up and need educations, you see. He wasn't a big owner in the oil fields, and though hard work was lucrative, he knew he had to do more. Mother was sad to leave their comfortable house in favor of an uncertain life, the five of them camping out in tents on an uncharted wilderness, but she was with him all the way. They sold the house and headed out. Eventually they had enough stake to buy the "headquarters" ranch - with a long term loan, of course. It meant ranching AND drilling to pay the payments. They built an amazing house themselves, where I spent every summer of my childhood from the end of May till the end of August. I was born about the time they acquired a second raw-land ranch whose main improvement even when it became mine was the 712 foot water well my Dad drilled on it in about 1927, even before he'd bought it.

His Own Boss

He got its start drilling water wells. - This one, 1926, on the ranch next to mne.
He got its start drilling water wells. - This one, 1926, on the ranch next to mne.
Dad & I, 1948, our house in San Angelo, Texas.
Dad & I, 1948, our house in San Angelo, Texas.
Dad and Mother - about 1957.
Dad and Mother - about 1957.

A.F.Holdeman - July 31, 1890 - June 20, 1976

Elcy Holdeman - December 17, 1892 - January 11, 1974

Married June 15, 1917

More by this Author


76 comments

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

You always have heartfelt beauty in your writings. Now I see where you got that lean toward poetry. As you know, I struggle to appreciate it. It sounds like you had the best dad in the world. He must have loved you very much as it still shows. He left you in good stead with that "determined little girl" appreciation. It sounds as if it has served you well in your life.

I could not get one phase in your writing: "He read assiduously. It was his "recreation", in fact." I have no idea why I struggled to understand this phrase, but if it pleases you, could you tell me what you mean?

Oh, and I need to comment on one last thing: The Deacon may have been short of stature but the opposite in living. I have two friends who I would give most anything to, for the asking. Those two men, one my age and one my junior by 40 years are both small of stature. They both look like they could be my children by size. However, they both are two of the most spectacular people I have ever met and I would trust them with anything and everything. I love the two of them as much as a person could. Their stature has been no barrier to them being the most incredible people ever in my life. I appreciate them every day.

Thanks so much for sharing so intimately with us.


msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

Wow.. what a great tribute to your father, Nellieanna.

I love that you posted the old pictures together with this hub!!

Thank you for sharing!! I loved it.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Steve - thank you for those gratifying comments. Yes, I knew I was loved by both my parents. I may have sometimes wondered whether I had his full confidence that I was able to do stuff. But I was monocular (could see from only one eye, hence no depth perception) and also very fragile bones so that if I fell I frequently broke something.

It was a bad combo - not always seeing where I was going, being half-blind, breaking easily and very determined! LOL. Of course it taught me how to compensate for the poor eyesight. Without even being aware of doing it, I'm always quite aware of my surroundings, I size up the path and seldom have a problem. I'm my own seeing-eye dog!

The most likely time I crash is when I'm really used to something where it is and it's been moved a little bit. When I bump into somethind, often with gusto, like that, it really reminds me how finetuned my navigation system is!

Anyway - the net result was they sort of shielded me, which felt like they just didn't have full confidence in me, myself.

But I knew instinctively they loved me & they showed it in many ways. I was very fortunate.

I honestly don't think people thought of him as a small person, though. He seemed to have "mass". Mother had willowy fingers and features & I know that she, especially as an artist, was aware of his stocky build - "square Dutchman" she described him at times. And there was a blockiness about his build. But I'm glad you mentioned those guys you knew and trusted & admired who were small of stature.

By assiduously I meant that he read and probed deeply into what he read, got at the kernel in it, was very thorough. He remembered all the details. He pursued many meaty subjects, even though he loved a good funny story. He didn't read much fiction, though. He didn't rush reading, but he read a lot and it pleased him greatly to read, it satisfied his need for recreation almost completely. He did it not only for facts, but for fun. Our house was always well equipped with books and magazines.

Oh my - this brought to mind: after a long day's work, a hearty meal, he'd have settled down to read - and naturally sooner or later sleep would overtake him. If one of us tiptoed in to the room and switched off the light, he'd immediately wake up and say "Turn that light back on, I'm reading!" LOL

He had a favorite word: - He'd say "Oh, pshaw!" to express surprise at something. Funny how one remembers little things like that. I was always so visual in my thinking, I saw it as a knitted shawl before I knew better. LOL

Well - it is a good Father's Day remembrance for me, and I hope all the fathers & their children are enjoying a great one!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you, Melinda! I was pleased to highlight just him for a change. Usually I'm more likely to highlight Mother or someone else in the family. But this was almost exclusively HIS photo album. I know I have many more old pix in boxes. I keep thinking I'll get them out and see just what I do have. As they say, "a picture is worht 1000 words" and I think it is so! Thanks for reading and enjoying it!


Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 6 years ago from Los Angeles

I love the story and the way you told it. There is nothing greater than a family where love comes first and dictates every move, bringing together people and creating memories to last a lifetime and be cherished every single day.

You are indeed a fortunate woman to have had such a wonderful Man as a Father and so am I; the love and role model of a father is a gift that only the lucky ones have. Keeping his memory alive by paying your tribute of love and gratitude is special as it is your gift to us by sharing such special moments. Thank you


SilverGenes 6 years ago

Nellieanna, I can just see him in his pressed khakis and white shirt, a man of science who takes every opportunity to learn. That was so adventurous of everyone to just pick up and go to live in a tent! You don't see that kind of perseverance and dedication very often - in fact I think it's downright rare today.

As you know, I just love old photos and spending time gazing at faces. I particularly like that one of him when he received his degree. He was a very handsome young man!

Isn't it interesting how words from our parents stick with us through a lifetime? A determined little girl is indeed a good thing to be!

I love the knitted shawl story, too :-)))

This was a pleasure to read and I thank you very much for sharing your dear father with us here. It's a lovely tribute to your dad and to fathers everywhere.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Petra - when I saw you'd come and read my hub about my Dad, I was so eager to see what you'd said. I know you have such a special love and deep respect for yours and for his courage for your country.

There is something so strengthening about having parents - (one or both - and I had borh) - who are really shining examples & mentors for us. Even all these years after they're gone, they still exert a lot of positive influence on me.

Each of mine demonstrated it in different ways and each is a story in itself. They actually almost had two families, since I came along to them so much later than the first three. I heard stories of the 3 of them & their escapades & could see that they had special relationships among themselves which I didn't have, since I grew up almost like an only child, except for having all those big siblings bossing me around! LOL. Each of them had interesting lives, too.

It was a stimulating atmosphere to be sure. And Daddy was such a major influence on my life.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

SG - yes, I can just see him too. He was a bright and steady star, like Polaris, to help one stay on course with his imparted love & wisdom.

It was unbelieveably adventurous. I sometime try to stop and imagine it when I'm out there in that territory. Nothing about it was easy. It's a very rugged, jagged country, and though beautiful in its way - it's difficult to live on with comforts and utilities, much less with none - and 3 little bitty kids too. They weren't just out for a weekend, either - it was months on end with Mother cooking and keeping as much order as possible for her young family and Dad drilling those DEEP wells through that solid rock with a rather primitive drilling rig (even cars were still pretty new!)to reach the plentiful running water so far below the surface. It almost seems to say - if you're worthy - you can have it. Otherwise - move on. Even now, there is nothing more frightening than for the pump to go awry or the water lines to break. And this is nearly a century later! I am almost certain that it would be a rare thing today, what they did!

Oh - I love old photos too! And some are so amazingly well-preserved! I have so many treasures stored away. And I realize that many in my head may exist no where else now! That brings me up short!!

He was a nice looking young man, wasn't he? I have a few pages of Mother's personal journal she kept in 1912 when she was talking about the 'boy, Albert". So sweet. And also about a 26 page letter he wrote to her, so full of hope and optimism about their upcoming life together, written not long before they married! (now you know where I get my verbosity! LOL - Mother was the one of few words!)

That letter could be used for motivational seminars wherever people are setting out on new ventures. Their first work was to be selling home medical encyclopedias to rural folks in the Pacific Northwest. He was assuring her that "together, we can do anything we set our minds to" and that whatever the two of them decided to do, they could and that while the scoffers are saying it's impossible, they'd be doing it and proving it was possible! And they each won the top honors in the company, he as top Man Salesman and she as top Woman. Plus she was preparing her final report for her sales almost on her way to the hospital to give birth to my eldest sister!

Yes -those "chance" words do stick with us!!

Thre was an "old red bench" miscomception too, but I won't go into that one! Kids do have a time making sense of new words and concepts, don't they?

I"m so pleased you enjoyed my wandering down memory lane with me! Thank you!!


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

This is such a great way to share your dad's story on Father's day! Beautiful, I love seeing all the old pictures, such precious family memories. And the fact that your parents were married so long is awesome as well. Thanks so much for sharing!


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

What a wonderful archivist you are, Nellieanna! I'm always amazed, not only by the wealth of detail in your memories, but all the visual aids you seem to have collected over the years. Such a delight to read about your dad and see pictures from different stages of his life. :)


suny51 profile image

suny51 6 years ago

Hello Nellianna Mam -Thats a great way to remember your father on such an occasion,and the way you have gone down the memory lane with all the details in a perfect manner thats grand in all respects,and yes those photographs all of them specially 1948 and 1957 give some ideas the way you were raised.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

MG. Thank you. I was inspired to walk along with Dad yesterday when it was so appropriate.

Yes, they were so different and it sometimes required commitment to work it, but they were truly committed to each other and to the sanctity of marriage. And they shared some of the most vital principles and ideals. It's what it takes. It was indeed awesome to witness their love and devotion up till their last moments.

It's my pleasure to share, and perhaps to remind folks of their own good Dads! I appreciate your visiting!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

FP - thanks! I have access to lots of visuals and the reason many of them are available on my computers is that I did the tedious work of scanning and organizing them when I built the "Attic" pages for my website a number of years ago. I have others I hadn't captured and even knowing the work involved, I'd like to get out and get them digitalized too. I am aware that some of the old photographic methods are even fading. At least if they're on the computer, that's a backup. But I shudder to think what happens if reality should somehow cancel out that kind of access to all the computer storage! Ugh.

One advantage of having a website/domain with all that monster storage, plus other online backup is that their storage is well secured even if private storage should become in jeapordy, though I guess in a major situation, who knows what would survive?

But one can enjoy what IS available. Nothing is really permanent but it's good to stop to review, enjoy & gather pictures & artifacts of special times and people in one's life and to share with folks who seem to enjoy it. It's something of a new experience for me in my life, really.

Thank you for your most welcome interest and comments!


M Selvey, MSc profile image

M Selvey, MSc 6 years ago from United Kingdom

Nellieanna, what a lovely tribute to your dad and on Father's Day! Your love and respect for him is so beautifully conveyed in your writing. Like others have already said, I am just amazed by your amount of detail! You have such a wonderful way of taking the reader there with you.

Thank you for this journey into your past and introduction to this wonderful person who, with your mother, brought you into the world!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Dear Margit! - Thank you so very much.

Remember those "baby books" - where the parents - or usually, the mother, wrote down various things about the new baby and as he/she grew further into infancy?

My Mother kept those for all 4 of us and your comments reminded me of a note from a neighbor tucked in to the pages of mine, congratulating me on choosing such outstanding parents! How true!! :->

Thanks for all your kind thoughts!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Nellieanna, What a lovely tribute to your father. You told the story of him and your life in a very interesting way. Your family life sounded interesting and you were loved. The pictures are great also. Very nice account of your father for Father's day.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you, Pamela! I am grateful for your visit and especially for your kind, warm comments!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Beautiful story, beautiful writing. The love between father and daughter is palpable.

Your dad's character really pops off the page.

Agree with Pam the photos really punctuate the narrative beautifully! MM


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

I'm so appreciative of your good comments, MM. I checked your site once again. And I am once again impressed with your direction!

Incidentally - my "Magnolia" series is basically about the Boomer generation - starting with the preceeding generation as a sideline observer of both, for the purpose of understanding the progression. You might find it of interest.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Hello, Nellieanna - a positive, compelling and inspiring hub - but you already know that.

What a pleasure it was for me to read this hub, word for word, about your beloved father and to learn not only so much of his and your history, but how you felt and to this day still feel about your close and loving relationship.

You are blessed to have had his attentive guidance while you were growing up, and there is no doubt in my mind, especially since you seem to be the youngest sibling, you are still very independent! Congratulations. Never change. Don't let anyone take that away from you.

Thanks for letting us share in this very personal account regarding your love and respect for your dad.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

My first time to read one of your stories and i loved it.You are indeed blessed to have wonderful memories of a loving father. I look forward to reading more of your life and family.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

dear drbj - what a wonderful friend you are to appreciate how much this all means to me. It was a treasured memory and I wanted to give him the honor he deserved. So many precious memories of him are so close to the surface.

Yes, I was definitely the youngest, a fact the others never quite got past! The next youngest was my brother, 10 years older, then my sisters, 12 and 14 years older, so that by the time I was able to relate to them he was already becoming a young man and were two certainly young women, embarking upon their own lives, but still very much exerting thier nfluences on mine. Even when I was in my 50s & 60s, those of them still living regarded me pretty much as the kid because they really hardly knew me beyond that - or just didn't see what was before them. Ruth pleaded with George to "not make an adult of her" when we married - I was 53!! I really had long since proved my mettle, but - well, there you go!

Now there is only Ruth, who was the second from the eldest, who is still alive but she suffers from dementia & is in assisted living.

The eldest was the one who perished with her family in 1953 & my brother was in a fatal car accident in 1990. So it's somehow up to me to keep the memory of the family hearth alive, I guess.

Mother had been writing notes for her memoirs. One day I'll try to see what I can do with them for her as a biography. I have some of her notes and her title for them in my possession.

Thank you for appreciating my sharing these familial events which came over me to put into a hub yesterday, which just seemed to flow forth.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Always Exploring - such a great ID name! I'm so happy that your exploring led you to my hub and that you loved it. I am indeed blessed. Thank you and I hope you do come back!!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

"I seldom got in a word edgewise." Now I understand why you are eloquent! You learned to communicate effectively. Reading your hub, gives one that "warm and fuzzy feeling." I too worked in the "oil fields." The men talked "rough," but they were good men. I recall an accident where the "christmas tree" (a very heavy piece of "plumbing" that consists of lots of huge, heavy high pressure valves - it looked like a Christmas Tree) fell on top of a laborer, cutting off his thumb. As a teenager, I was surprised these, "rough and tough" men were so thoughtful. I was in constant "shock" learning their culture. I was a preacher's kid (PK) and I learned what all of the cuss words meant..! I learned to accept the differences and challenge them on their turf. I worked in the derricks and no one could perform my job better or faster. They always requested me when there was an emergency, or time was important... It was a life lesson: Accept what is and be the best you can be.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

You and my Dad, A.F., would have hit it off, I'm sure. Not too dissimilar backgrounds with a strong religious influence, then being plunged into that rough oil-field world, and making the most of it, winning their respect and gaining respect for them, as well.

Dad was quite a bit older than you were during the oil field days, of course, close to 30. But to me all that had already happened before I was born had to be when my parents were "young", because they never seemed old to me even then! And of course, they were only in their 40s by then. Nowaways that seems like youngwhppersnapper age! haha - it's all so relative!

Thank you, Dallas, for a wonderful review and nice comments. It is true that I learned to express myself in writing due to the family/sibling arrangement! :-> Eventually I outgrew my silence, however.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Amen and glad you did, "outgrow your silence..."


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you again, Dallas!!


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

Awesome Nellianna you beautiful lady inside and out. I can see where you get your smarts and talent. You were so lucky to have a father that loved you so much and taught you the important things in life and how to be a very determined lady. THat is a true compliment. I especially loved the picture of you and your dad in San Angelo. I have been there many times when living in Abilene "the big Country". Great hub, I salute you. Cheers.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

LadyJane - wow - thank you! And I've spent many a windy year in Abilene going to school! After we moved from Del Rio to San Angelo and until I was grown, I spent more time in Abilene than in San Angelo where my parents lived!


Juelstephen profile image

Juelstephen 6 years ago from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Your dad is a man after my own heart, and I feel privileged to have read his story, through the eyes of his loving and proud daughter.

If all of us could have been so lucky.

But, I have a great dad too.

I suppose life teaches all of us very different aspects, and we roll with the punches.

My dad taught me that, in his own way.

Great hub, Nellieanna.

Great hub and wonderful photos.

Thank you for sharing them.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Yes, Juelstephen, I guess it does but we roll with them according to our own abilities, I suspect. Your dad sounds like a great man, too and I'll bet you're a great dad yourself! Thanks for visiting my hub & for the meaningful comments.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Awesome, great tribute Mam, You are blessed to have a dad like he was, You must missed him a lot, Maita


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Yes, I do miss him, I miss both my parents. They were inspiring people. Thanks, sweetie.


suny51 profile image

suny51 6 years ago

Nellianna Ma'm-I have been waiting for last nine days,but you are not looking at me.When is my turn?


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh dear!! I remember reading it and I honestly thought I'd replied, Suny!! I even went back then when I first read it(as I did just now again) to see which were the two pictures you mentioned!! And I appreciate your mentioning them as illustrating how I was raised. I had very good parents! And they would not have liked for me to overlook writing what I had thought in reply to your kind comments - that I appreciate them!!


raisingme profile image

raisingme 6 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

Nellieanna, I hung on every word. This explains much of why you are so inside/out beautiful. An amazing and delightful read.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

raisingme - what a lovely thing to say! Thank you, dear lady!


Pratonix profile image

Pratonix 6 years ago from Asia

Excellent tribute to your Dad, Nellie. I enjoyed reading it. You have a great talent for writing. I am sure you must have published many of your articles, etc. in magazines and journals, right?


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you, Pratonix. No, none, ever. I've been a very private sort of writer all my life. Other than personal journals, corresponding extensively with friends, making my own personal webpage and posting profusely in social groups online, I'm unpublished till Hubpages and I never really expected to publish here at first. haha - but it encourages it!

Thank you for your kind comment!


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

Ms.Nellieanna, what a fine tribute of your father the Deacon. I have in the past been involved with several Mennonite families and experienced the kindred folks that they are. I have meant to come see about you and this is my first pick of your writings and I found we have some things possibly in common. My father was of Pennsylvania Dutch heritage and he was called "Preacher". I find this work motivational toward me writing a similar piece of my father, I hope I will be able to excel as you have here. I thank you for sharing it with us, you did a remarkable job. 50


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

50 Calibre!! What a great heritage to have in common!! I do hope you'll write your hub about your father. I look forwar to reading it!! I'm so very pleased that you've visited my hubsite and enjoyed the first sampling of my stuff. Thank you!!

Don't be a stranger!!


Words by Mike 6 years ago

Nellieanna, What a rich Tapestry of love, education, devotion passed to you. What an affirmation of Love witnessed by all here in your words. You honor them both, by the very person you have become. Your words hold a raw truth of reflection of the love they gave you. I decided to check your hubs out after your wonderful comment, and I am so glad I did. This touched me more than I am able to express.

I was drawn into the story, and could see you in my minds eye, awaiting your fathers’ arrival. The brightness or excitement as you waited. Wow, powerful to say the least. I can only hope that my daughter will be able to reflect upon me one day with such devotion. Loved the pictures, what an added bonus. Voted up and more. So well written, I love the written word, just so much more than moving pictures…:O) I am going link to this...Cheers~


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you abundantly, Mike! And I sent a link of your page I visited to my friend, who's almost like a member of the family and who is a Dad of two precious very young girls and who, with his lovely wife, is dedicated to rearing them well. When we talk, he's always picking up any ideas he can apply to his job as their Dad, such as seeing some of the original hand-written poems in my journals which I was uploading to start to inde & some to use in hubs. He hoped his girls would be creative too.

It's so refreshing & encouraging to find young parents with real dedication. It's not something to take casually, though of course - one shouldn't be uptight about it. It should be fun too.

Thanks so much for you kind words and I'm pleased to meet you!!


Words by Mike 6 years ago

Nillieanna~ It is a pleasure to e-meet you as well. Thank you again for the support.

I agree too, as many young parents or even of my generation take it lightly while not meeting their role as a guiding parent. It makes me sad when I look at the break down in the family unit.

P.S. Are you going to offer a map for people to find their way out of these comments! I mean a link or something ;O) LoL

Cheers~


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh Oh - there are quite a few comments, every one for which I'm deeply grateful & delighted & humbled, as well. It's quite gratifying for a shy li'l gal. But obviously I'm not shy when it comes to writing or thinking, so I'm sure that my own lengthy replies are the major culprit in making the comments so - er - verbose! (blush)

They say that moral standards shift in cycles so perhaps the pendulum will soon swing in the direction of good parenting. It's my firm belief that one or both parents needs to be with children, especially the first several years, to give them a good start. As important as things may be to a family - there is nothing in the world more important or that can take the place of caring, attentive parents - or parent - if that's the reality. When circumstances force parents to have to leave children with caregivers, it can't be helped, but it's sad when it becomes the choice for relatively less important (to the welfare of their children) objectives. Anyway - that's my humble opinion & I must say I was there to notice the overall changes in families, from where wider changes evolve, soon after the changes in that factor of at least one parent being ACTIVELY & effectively involved with the children. Other 'values' seemed to crowd in and kids began to get more of their guidance & mindsets from their peers, who were equally short-ended and sublimally resentful that those who "should" be there for them were usually not, and more obviously resentful when they deigned to give them things or a little attention. The proverbial generation gap began to form and grow.

My "Magnolia" hubs are a series in which I felt impelled to look more carefully into the after-effects of WWII on families - Baby Boomers, actually - and sort of into what some of those subtle early changes really were. I believe it was subtle and a no-fault situation, but its effects have been devastating. Since I was sort of an innocent bystander - too young to be a parent then and too old to be a boomer and because I had much older siblings who were in the thick of it and then neices & nephews who were boomers I had a front-row seat. I didn't really think about it so much but my beloved late husband was of the age of the younger of my elder siblings and his children were also boomers. So I've observed, listened & learned a bit about it from these intimate associations - some of which led me to my writing the Magnolia hubs.

Society has never really recovered from the shifts set off by those new and different circumstances during and after that war. Many effects are for the better but it seems that much about family life took the brunt & continues to suffer, while technology and other areas were being enhanced - till it seems that the family crises begins to affect even in those areas.

Anyway - it is an enormous challenge to parent at any time and the more so when so many things in general seem to be almost set against it. It's always my contention that there is only one adult person one can truly influence or control - oneself. As a parent, one's sphere there gets expanded. And no matter what other parents are doing - an active, effective parent has tremendous influence within the home walls, and the younger the children, the more so.

All the more admiration due those who are truly doing it and persisting. It's a profound matter. So - thank you for being one who is and does. And thanks for hearing me out!! My best to you, friend Mike!! Keep it up!


Words by Mike 6 years ago

Nellieanna~ We can only hope that our society will shift back to the core values we once valued in this country. It is my pet peeve that my children face other parental figures who act more like drinking buddies, than actual parents. The proof of this was one day when a mother called me when my daughter was thirteen and asked if I had seen her thirteen year old daughter, making matters worse she informed me it had been three days since she had seen her, as far as she could tell. If this doesn’t speak to the sad state of parenting, I do not know what will.

I never was lost as to the location of my children, I am sorry. I knew where they were, what they were doing, and who they were with. This was a major fact that all sleep overs, slumber parties, took place at my house, as I knew what was going on there.

Anyways, there I go again…

I enjoyed reading and appreciate all of your wonderful feeback. I better start back, it is going to take me a while to get out of these comments! Cheers~


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

yes, Mike - it's at the very core where the shifts happen. It used to amaze me when parents said they couldn't "make" their kids do or not do this or that. To me, it's a matter of mutual respect. It's non-negotiable normally. When it is negotiable, it can be negotiated, but the parent is the the parent & has the final authority. It doesn't depend on force or unreasonable demands, but it is final.

For example: Kids did not - do not - hit me! I'm amazed to see parents or any adults being struck by children! I don't have to say a word about it to any child. In fact, the sort of kids who do it to other adults have actually come right up to me, raised their hands but they simply stopped in mid-air. It just isn't done - they sensed it, like I did as a kid - and most other kids did, too. Adults are "off limits" to such actions. Of course, if they permit or encourage it - the kids get the idea and feel ok about doing it to any adult. It's a small seed of disrespect that grows like wildfire.

Somehow adults have lost that aura of respect, I'm afraid and at least part of it is their desperate actions toward kids. They clearly show they don't know what they're doing in positions of natural authority in which kids naturally would respond to confidence and expectatons of being respectful & held accountable.

I'm equally amazed to see children being struck or yelled at by parents or other adults. Respect breeds respect, first of all. By the same token, disrespect breeds disrespect. A parent who knows and shows his/her natural authority need not resort to violence to try to regain it. Kids see through that.

And if the example is to resolve things in such ways - that's how kids learn to resolve them. If it's the only means an adult has to "win" - the kid will learn to play the game and eventually, as kids do, will outperform, outgrow and outlast those who were the adults who should have manifested proper authority & respect when the kids were too small to "win" by sheer size. Naturally, they'll apply these rules in other relationships they have & will measure strength, not by true character but by ability to overpower. And so it multiplies.

I don't remember there being any arguments or even any question about eating the food put in front of me, being home on time, whatever. There wasn't even any unpleasantness about it. It was a 'given'. If I forgot & misbehaved, I would be denied dessert, however. The worst punishment for me was to be disappointing to my parents. They just merited better from me!

I will add, that if there are two parents in a home, they need, first of all, to fully respect each other and to be in united agreement & alignment about the way they raise the kids. Each parent may have some different means, but their parenting principles need to be in sync.

Good for all your great methods. Having the slumber parties under your roof is SO wise! I'm appalled that that mother didn't know where her young teen daughter was - even for a short time, much less for several days. A breakdown between them happened early on, not just right then. Other adults and certainly other kids have influence, of course, and one can't control all the factors. The "stopgap" must ultimately come from within the "kid" and the kid's sense of self-worth and self-respect instilled from those years of your teaching and encouraging are the only real protection they have once they're out of sight. Reach your arm up high, bend elbow & pat yourself on the back!!!


gr82bme profile image

gr82bme 6 years ago from USA

Another fantastic story. Love, love, Loved it. Now I know where you get your kindness from. Your parents were very loving. I did not have that growing up. My mother and I still don't talk much. I did not let that effect my life and carry it in to it. I love my children and grandchildren and we are very close. You can break the chain.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ah - yes, of course! I was most fortunate in my childhood, but a series of events and choices led to my own family's tragedy and disruption. My daughter and I were able to find our way, though the situation caused her considerable upset in her own life. My son is still unable to bridge the chasm, though his wife has at least allowed me to see pictures of their family. So there are burdens to accept and to be "worked around" for all of us, I guess. Knowing these results were undeserved helps but the results remain as facts.

I dearly love both my children, all 7 of my grandchildren, of which 2 are close and well-known, and all 8 great-grandchildren. of which 2 are close and well-known. I hear of the others through the grapevine and feel the connections. And I have 2 wonderful step-sons, 2 loving step-granddaughters and one adorable step-great-grandson! I feel most well blessed. I prefer to look at the partly full part of my cup rather than bemoaning the partly empty portion.

I hope that you and your mother might find common ground and peace with one another.


Shyla's Nana profile image

Shyla's Nana 5 years ago

Hi Nellieanna and a much belated Happy Birthday. We have spoken several times about our parents and it is very clear to see how much you loved and adored your father and that he felt the same way toward you. Must have been a warm fuzzy feeling getting all that attention when you were a little girl. I could feel the love you have for your father as it poured out of your writing. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful person and for posting the pics as well. You really are an incredible woman. Take care and Happy Valentine's Day.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you for the visit and all the happy greetings, Shyla's Nana! By coincidence -I've been browsing through old memorabilia from my parents' home. They saved everything. One entire file box (letter or legal size - LOL) is stuffed with nothing but MY letters I wrote home from the time I went off to boarding school at 15 till they died, along with some written about me. It's like a pre-written autobiography, almost. The letters from my eldest sister who was very prominent in my life for a couple of years of my college days are among them, reporting on me. LOL. She died soon after, tragically - long story - and the letters from her go up till that moment, almost - still a lot about me, not always flattering - but my Dad defended me in my choices to which she took umbrage. And that, even though she was his favorite, though he didn't "play favorites". She was the first-born, though, and so beautiful and talented. She had first-dibs & had no reservations about using them - haha. She was 14 when I was born, by the way. I have written a hub about her, too - and intend to add to it. So far it is about her before I was born. She was 35 when she died, I was 21. Her name was Harriet.

Dad was so thorough - most of the letters have his handwriting on the envelopes with a brief summation of what they are about and exactly when written. Amazing to stroll among them.

Yes - my parents both were wonderful. I feel like a most fortunate person, indeed. It was more the quality of Dad's attention that was so great. He had a long commute between town where we had to live for school and the ranch where his work was. So often I only saw him on weekends when he came to town. But I awaited him like a magic prince! And he was never too weary to give me his first and best attention. I felt his love. That is what makes it so wonderful, isn't it? I still miss them both, though they've been gone since the mid-1970s.

Thanks for your sweet and heartfelt comments! Hugs - and Happy Valentine's Day to you!!


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful story of your dad with us, Nellieanna....Now I know why you are so intelligent, talented and have such a great personality. It's a mixture of great genes, terrific parents as role models and a wonderful upbringing. JAYE


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Jaye - thank you! I loved him so much. I was just thinking about his mother, the only grandparent still alive when I came along, and only knew her a few years. But I know she was a health-nut. haha. I just went to a newly opened organic food store nearby and found fresh Swiss Chard, which she loved and grew in her garden. George & I grew it in ours too.

I had a different upbringing but I treasure it, Jaye. Thank you!


ubanichijioke profile image

ubanichijioke 5 years ago from Lagos

Your father stood for the 'perfect man' i must say you got your talent, intelligence & sense of reasoning from him. An admirable figure, awesome and hardworking. So much like my grandfather. I loved everything about this piece. What your father stands for, his life, behaviors and how his character & lifestyle earned him that awesome name 'deacon'. Bless you


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ah yes. Thank you, ubani! It's good to welcome you to my hubs. This Hubpage community brings many thinking people together.

Yes, my father was a man among men. When I read what you wrote about your grandfather, it reminded me of my Dad. My late husband's mentor, his Uncle George, was another great man. I must write about him one of these days. Of course both of them are no longer living except in memory and honor.

I'm both right brained and left brained, almost equally and it was from my Dad that I got the left-brained analytical capacity and from my beautiful mother that got the right-brained creativity and sixth sense. From both, a keen sense of honor and dignity.


ubanichijioke profile image

ubanichijioke 5 years ago from Lagos

Well worth it, i must say. Bravo to your lovely parents for leaving such a great person in YOU. Bless you ma


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you again! :-)


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

This is a substantial work in the archives of Texas history and the register of great Texans. I enjoyed it tremendously. It was rich and flavorful. I'm glad I chose it from the offerings.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you for visiting, W.D. - and for the kind words. I'm glad you chose it, too.


akune profile image

akune 5 years ago from Surrey, England, United Kingdom

Thank you for sharing this intimate written album and slice of history. What a rich man to have loved his children and your mum and been loved back.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank YOU for the lovely comments, Akune! Yes, I have no doubt he counted himself rich in the things that most mattered to him. My parents were inspirational folks.

And I'm pleased for this opportunity to meet you, too. I've just read your profile and am impressed with your accomplishments and vital interests.

I appreciate your use of the word 'exhortations', too; - it's the kind of impetus my Dad put on his. He often read or quoted poetry to me, and it always had an exhortation of some sort tucked into it! Maybe I needed them a lot! They were often about listening to older, wiser voices. haha.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

Thanks for sharing and I enjoyed the old picture so much too.

Polly


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Pollyannaiana - Thank you for the very appreciated visit. Yes - I have many really wonderful old family pictures. Glad you enjoyed! Hugs.


femmeflashpoint 4 years ago

Nellieanna,

I have a "thing" for family histories. This was a magnificient read and soooooo well put together!

This explains a great deal about how you write, what you write about, and why it's always infused with elegance.

I'm impressed that your parents adapted to Texas-terraine so well, considering their roots. It's been a big adjustment for me, coming from here to there, and I'm still working on it, lol.

Thank you for sharing this facet of your life. I loved the photos as well, being able to put faces with names.

It's a very cool Hub!

femme


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS Author

Angelia - Thank you! I'm so pleased that you ferreted out this hub to read! I happened to have re-read it recently myself, and I have to admit, I enjoyed it. My parents were such amazing human beings, it just pleases me just to have known them. I really must write a book about them. Their lives spanned so long - and mine has continued on into times they'd hardly have been able to believe or conceive. I just wish people I know could have known them. My wee effort to introduce them is all I can do.

They also loved family history - so what I can recall of their stories really spans far back. Mother had a stack of letters written by some of her uncles during the Civil War while they were in service (some on each side, in fact!)


femmeflashpoint 4 years ago

Nellieanna,

Oh my! I hope you pursue the desire to write a book on your parents and family! That would be the bomb!

And, if you can recall any of the letters written during the Civil War to your mum, that'd be a spectacular inclusion!!

femme


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you, but - Oh - I didn't make it clear. Mother was born in 1892, well after the Civil War was over. The letters were her mother's from the family keepsakes. But there were quite a few of them and Mother divided them up among us kids, so I have the actual letters I was given, a substantial stack.

Trouble is, they are so fragile that I hesitate to handle them much, plus they're not ver easy to read. You know how penmanship was back then - if you've ever looked at any of the old ledgers and records! Plus these letters were actually written from the battlefields, not in ideal scenarios for writing. I'm sure I could make them out, but, like I say, they're fragile.

I probably ought to have them professionally preserved some way.

A book would be interesting. There are some characters in the bunch. :-)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you, but - Oh - I didn't make it clear. Mother was born in 1892, well after the Civil War was over. The letters were her mother's from the family keepsakes. But there were quite a few of them and Mother divided them up among us kids, so I have the actual letters I was given, a substantial stack.

Trouble is, they are so fragile that I hesitate to handle them much, plus they're not very easy to read. You know how penmanship was back then - if you've ever looked at any of the old ledgers and records! Plus these letters were actually written from the battlefields, not in ideal scenarios for writing. I'm sure I could make them out, but, like I say, they're fragile.

I probably ought to have them professionally preserved some way.

A book about all these folks would be interesting. There are some characters in the bunch. :-)


femmeflashpoint 4 years ago

Nellieanna,

In regards to preservation, perhaps you could call Kinkos, and see what they suggest?

It'd be a shame for the letters to deteriorate. Even if they're not very legible, it's a wonderful piece of your history to keep intact. :)

femme


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS Author

Well, you got me moving, Anglelia. I've been scanning the letters! There is hope.

Maybe I'll watch GWTW!


femmeflashpoint 4 years ago

Yayyyy!!!!

Woot! Woot!!!

Can you tell I'm excited??? LOL!!!

femme


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you! So am I - ! :-)


CJ Sledgehammer 4 years ago

An outstanding tribute to your father, Nellieanna, well done!!!

I am sorry to see that so many young men of today, do not have the same opportunities to prove themselves on the "field of honor", nor do they have the "rights of passage" into manhood as did the young men of yesteryear. So many thing are different now...and not for the better, I fear.

I just loved your story and you brought out your father's essence quite well. You left us all with a good understanding of the kind of man he was...the kind of man that is so desperately needed in this day and age, but hardly ever found.

May God be with you and yours - C.J. Sledgehammer

P.S. Voted up and away! :0)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS Author

Hello, CJ! So pleased to see you visiting my hubpages, and especially this one about my Dad. Yes, he was a special man, all right. The moment I think of him, there are so many 'moving pictures' of him which emerge from my memories, along with some less moving images of him dozing over a book or magazine, in his chair, with his glasses on his nose in the wee hours of the night. If someone turned off the light, though, he'd come awake and say', "Turn the light back on! I'm reading!" He didn't take a lot of break time just for himself, away from his very demanding work, so he snatched moments as he could to nurture his mind and, I'm sure to refresh his dreams & commitments for his life.

I can see him at the kitchen table with some whole-grain crackers and one of his favorite cheeses, meticulously cutting a slice, fitting it on a cracker and relishing it like the most gourmet treat in the world. One of his favorites was Limburger - ugh. He tried to get me to try some, but that was one of the few foods I just couldn't try! He loved authentic dairy products. At one time, becoming a dairy farmer had been his aim. He graduated from the Univ. of Wisconsin with a degree in Animal Husbundry and a minor in Chemistry.

A thousand memories. . . of one of the greatest man I've ever known!

Thank you for your wonderful comments about him and the tribute to him.

Nellieanna


CJ Sledgehammer 4 years ago

Dear Nellieanna:

I only hope my sons will remember me as vividly and as poetically as you have remembered your father. Then again, I am sure I cannot hold a candle to your father's accomplishments and commitment to excellence. It's men like your father...that make me want to be a better man. Role models like that, however, are in short supply these days.

May God bless you abundantly - C.J. Sledgehammer


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS Author

I've no doubt your sons will remember you with very high esteem and fondness. I think the order of birth has a bearing on a kid's relationship with parents, too. I could detect subtle differences in his relationship with each of my 3 elder siblings, though they all respected him highly. He was a great father.

Once he gave me a little bitty hard-cover book with only one poem in it: Kipling's "If". What a wonderful admonishment for a young person of either gender!

Thank you, CJ. And you too!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working