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Parenting Advice For All Parents

Updated on October 3, 2013

In many ways we are all a compilation of the experiences and lessons learned over our years. Nurture vs Nature has been debated by far more intelligent people than I over the years and the debate will most likely linger long after I am put to rest. I am in a fairly unique position in that I was adopted so all I really know with any certainty is the Nurture side of the argument. I never searched for my birth parents. I have no knowledge of their medical background (although I’m willing to bet they were from pretty hardy stock) and I know nothing of their personalities.

What I do know is what I learned from Evelyn and Dale Holland, my adopted parents. I spent the first twenty years of my life learning the ways of manhood from my dad and for fifty-four years I learned about unconditional love from my mom. As is always the case with parents and their children, there were lessons that they taught me through word of mouth and there were lessons learned because “actions speak louder than words.”

I was taught through observation that a man is only as good as his word. I was taught that friends and loved ones take care of their own and compassion for the less fortunate is a requirement if one is to truly reach their higher calling. I was taught that giving is infinitely more important than taking and a family’s wealth is not measured in dollars and cents.

I was taught so much more but for now, please allow me to take you on a little journey back in time as we briefly look at the early days of Evelyn O’Dowd and Dale Holland.


Our family
Our family | Source

My Mother

I am the last person one would want to talk to about family history because I was not the keeper of the family records and I didn’t pay that much attention growing up to dates and places, but to the best of my recollection my mother was born in 1922 in Minneapolis. After a few years there her family (mother, father, sister and brother) moved to Charles City, Iowa, where my mother grew into her teen years. By all accounts she lived a happy childhood and the family was hard-working and deeply religious during those years in Iowa.

The Great Depression took its toll on this family just as it did most families in the United States beginning in 1929 when my mother was seven. She remembered the bread lines and she remembered neighbors taking care of each other. Vegetable gardens were planted in the neighborhood and everyone shared in the bounty. Jobs were scarce but I was told that her family got by on love and prayer and I have no reason to doubt that summary.

Her history gets a little sketchy at this point and the reason for that was my mother’s reticence to speak about certain matters, but to the best of my knowledge she was married at the age of sixteen and had her daughter, Darlys, when she was seventeen in 1938. It is entirely possible that I am off a year in those dates but that really is not important. Sometime in the next few years she obtained a divorce and as the war years approached she and her parents raised my sister. I have pictures of my mother in a welding suit helping to build ships during the war but in all honesty I do not know where that picture was taken.


My dad
My dad

My Father

Born in 1919, Dale LeRoy Holland was the youngest of four children in East St. Louis, Missouri. Dad grew up in a rough and tumble household in a rough and tumble neighborhood and his childhood is littered with stories of fist fights and scrambling to make a buck. By the time dad was a sophomore in high school the Great Depression was kickin’ butt and takin’ names and he dropped out of school and rode the rails to neighboring towns looking for work so he could send money back to his mother, who by that time was divorced and raising four children on her own.

It was by no means an easy life and I suspect when WWII finally broke out my dad was more than happy to join the Army and make a regular wage. At this point family history again becomes hazy because somehow, at some point, my dad met my mother in Charles City and they began to date only to have the war put that budding romance on hold.

By war’s end he had been active in five major campaigns in Italy; in 1945 he was discharged and returned to Iowa to marry my mother.


Togetherness and a Family

My dad had at one point during the war been stationed at Ft. Lewis, Washington, and after my parents got married they moved to Tacoma, Washington, with my mother’s parents in tow. With the war economy a thing of the past my dad obtained a job as a part-time laborer at Pioneer Sand & Gravel and he held that job for twenty-one years until he died in 1969.

For most of their married life my mother held a variety of jobs, usually a clerk or cashier at retail stores. I can say with all certainty that we were not poor but we rarely had any money to spare. We went on one family vacation per year, more often than not to Seaside, Oregon, and occasionally we would go out to eat at a restaurant. For the most part they worked hard with very little to show for it and never, and I can’t emphasize this point enough, never complained. Hard times would come, hard times would go, and each morning they got up, went to work and went about their lives grateful for what they did have.


Now I'm a parent...my son
Now I'm a parent...my son

Lessons Learned

You might find this first lesson a little strange but bear with me. I watched my parents work their collective butts off for at least twenty years. I know for a fact they did not like their jobs but each day they were up on time, off to work and home to rest so they could do the same thing all over again. I followed that pattern for decades. I had my first job when I was fifteen, worked through high school and college and worked full time for forty years. I understand as well as anyone the value of hard work and earning your way through life. Somewhere along the way, though, I came to the realization that the years are running out and what I really want to do it spend time with loved ones. If that means having less then so be it, but working full time no longer appeals to me. So, the lesson I learned from my parents with regards to working is that life is too short to work at something you hate while the remaining months and years rapidly slip by. I now follow my passion, namely writing, and I work when I want to work. I’m not sure if my parents would approve or not but I thank them for the hard work they did so that I could reach this point in my life.

I learned unconditional love from my parents. I was given a childhood some can only dream about. For sure I was punished when I did wrong but I was never shamed and you would be hard-pressed to find two more devoted parents than I had. I have raised my son the same way, to know the difference between right and wrong and to never doubt that he is loved. To have that kind of emotional support from parents is a gift that is priceless and it just re-enforces my belief that love is the greatest gift we can give to a child or really to any living being.

I learned to be supportive of others and to realize that we are only as strong as our weakest link. Giving is something that is done without expectations; you give because you can and because someone has a pressing need. There are no questions asked if it is a loved one or close friend, and even if it is a stranger we can always lend emotional support to give them someone to lean on. Kindness costs so damn little and to refuse kindness is to turn away from our higher calling.

I learned that you have to earn respect. It is not something that is given freely unless you have done your fair share and treated others with respect.

Most of all, though, there was a lesson I learned simply by observation and then by reflection, and it is something that I have seen in thousands of others over the years. I don’t know what dreams my parents had when they started out together but I do know that over the years they without a doubt changed their dreams and took it all in stride. They took the hand they had been dealt and they got on with the business of living. They took some hard hits along the way but continually got back up and moved forward. I find that sort of resiliency to be the core of who we are as a race. No matter the obstacles, no matter the odds, no matter the broken dreams and shattered hopes, most of us get back up and move forward. I can say without a doubt that the light that shines inside of me, that light that kept me reaching out for life in my darkest days, came from my parents and others like them who had earned my respect over the years. We humans are a remarkable race reflected by our very basic will to live. We are survivors, you and I, and millions out there like us and that my friends, is a pretty damn good legacy to hand off to future generations.

2012 Bill Holland (aka billybuc)

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      iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

      Bill, you are a survivor without a doubt! No matter what has happened in your life, you go on and pay respect foreword to everyone you encounter! I really enjoyed reading your hub and learnng about the people who raised you!

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 5 years ago from Finland

      This is a wonderful hub! The older I get, the more I understand my parents. They have also been hard working and my grand parents worked even harder and could hardly put food on the table. I'm very thankful to them. Thanks for sharing your story, Bill.

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      So awesomely done. Went back in time..and felt as though I was wearing some fashionable attire from the 40's

      LORD

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      Chris Merritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Awesome,Awesome and Awesome!

      I relate very much with your story...very well written.

      I appreciate you sharing it with us.

      Chris

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      Janelle 5 years ago from Oklahoma, USA

      This was really touching and had a lot of relevancy for me personally. Thanks, you're awesome.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Audra, I kind of think most of us are survivors. I was just lucky enough to have a great support system. Thank you my friend and have a great day!

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Made, it is interesting that the appreciation for our parents seems to increase as we get older. I'm not sure how I would have done during the Great Depression and World War II, two completely disrupting events that happened back to back...and yet these people just did what they had to do to get through it. Anyway, thank you so much and blessings to you.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lord, thank you! I need to stop by your site shortly and see what you have been up to. Take care my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      CMerritt, you are very welcome and thanks for the three awesome review. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Hippie, love to see you back here; I'll be paying you a visit very shortly. I appreciate your words and if this touched a similar chord for you then fantastic.

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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Your parents were examples of what it takes to be successful in life, hard work and family dedication. Love the values that they demonstrated and taught you. I remember stories my mother shared about the depression and they taught me to be thankful for the little blessings in life. Enjoyed your hub topic.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you teaches! The significance of the Great Depression on our culture is fading out I think; there are fewer numbers of us who were raised by parents from that era. The lessons they learned, however, are timeless and need to be repeated.

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      Gypsy48 5 years ago

      Awesome hub Billy! Our folks had such great fortitude in hard times. As I have gotten older(63), material things dont't mean much to me. I retired early from the rat race. While there is less money, I am happier with my free time to do things that I enjoy and spend more time with family and friends.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Gypsy, you and I are traveling the same path and naturally I respect that greatly. :) Thank you for your kind words; with each passing day I respect my parents more but I have no desire to be involved in the rat race they live in.

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      Janelle 5 years ago from Oklahoma, USA

      I am going to have to concur.

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      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Great hub Billy! You have been through a lot. Life is hard at times but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger! Right? So glad you share your honest thoughts and experiences. I benefit from reading them!

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      Joelipoo 5 years ago from Ohio

      Nicely done, Billy. I really enjoyed this; parents can make such a tremendous impact on our lives. I am very thankful for mine as well. This made me think of my best friend who is also adopted. We have talked about those little things like not knowing family health history and stuff like that since he doesn't know his biological parents. Thanks for writing this.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hippie...:)

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kelley, thank you! I never really thought I had gone through a lot. It seems like most of us have some hard times to draw on and learn from. I was never one to think I had it harder than anyone else because I can look around and see people who have it so much worse than I ever did. It's all perspective I guess! I appreciate you Kelley!

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Joel! A part of me wishes I had done a little research when I was younger to find out medical history but now chances are pretty good everyone is dead...or maybe I just don't want to know. :)

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      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      I so enjoyed reading about your parents and the life lessons that they taught you.

      I agree that love is the greatest gift we can give to a child or any living being and giving should be done without expectations or strings attached. Most often people reciprocate if they can and if they don't we're not disappointed if we initially gave with a loving heart.

      Voted up across the board except for funny.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Gail; I just sent you a message; send me your address in an email since the book came back undeliverable! Sorry for the delay but we'll get it right eventually. Glad you liked this hub and thank you very much!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Hi Billy,

      I read your message and sent you a private email back. Thanks for letting me know it was returned to you. I explained in the email what may have happened and I'm sure it wasn't your fault. As you say, we'll get it straight.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm on it Gail; thank you!

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      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Beautiful stories of your parents. My parents (who are my grandparents) were depression-era children. They grew up working. My dad was one of 8 and my mom one of 13. They grew up working on the farm and my dad joined the military - early. My mom married him when she was 17. They had 6 kids altogether (including me, hehe) and sent us all to Catholic school. They have worked, and worked, and worked. They're in their mid-70s and still working. They show no signs of stopping. We always have points of contention now about the notion of work. I started out the same, much like you did. But somewhere in my 20s, I met my husband who did NOT witness his parents working like mad. HE doesn't work like mad. Then I realized that I don't think life is supposed to be about working like mad. But so many of us do. I am in my early 30s and already I'm trying to figure out that life where I can make bread, feed the chickens, paint, draw, write, travel, and build a house from sticks. It just seems like that's how things are supposed to be. Great hub, and wonderful insights as always. Votes and such, too. :)

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I really enjoyed reading about your parents and your childhood. I can relate. Money was scarce, but they always managed to make it somehow. Thank you for sharing..

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cyndi, I'm right there with you. I have nothing but admiration for my parents and people like them who worked their butts off and raised families, but it's just not me anymore. I'm ready for the good life and I'm going to have it; maybe a year or two after you get your farm but I will have it. Thanks buddy; you are always appreciated greatly.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Always, they were, in their way, very remarkable. That kind of work ethic is something to behold; I no longer care to live that way but I still respect it. Thank you my friend.

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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      What a touching story. I see now where you get your selfless nature. What love and determiniation. Though I am a little sad that maybe they didn't have enough joy over those rough years. I hope I am wrong. How fortunate you are to have such wonderful parents. Too few kids are as lucky these days, and it seems the ones hat are don't appreciate it nearly enough...

      This story reminds me of my dad a little. He has taught me what it is to be hard working and honest and good even when life seems to keep kicking you in the ribs. I should call him more often....

      To answer you question on how much of us is Nature vs Nurture, I learned from one of my favorite college professors that we are made up of 100% of each. And I think he is right.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dana, I love that 100% of each! No doubt about it, I'll be remembering that one. Thank you my dear and you are right, I did have a great childhood with wonderful parents and truth be told you are also right that the rough years robbed them of some of their joy. Thank you my dear for stopping by and leaving a great comment.

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      maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain

      I really enjoyed reading your hub, I too am adopted and like you I never searched for my birth mother so can only attest to the nurture side. Your parents did a fine job and raised a son that any parent could be proud of and it seems that you are following in their footsteps with your own son.

      I am voting this hub up it is an excellent and enjoyable read.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maggs, thank you! I consider myself extremely lucky to have been raised by those two fine human beings. If my son feels that way after I'm gone then I will have done a great job!

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      saigita 5 years ago

      This hub is really heart touching.My experience is just opposite, I am not fortunate like you. Now I am near about 50yrs, form my childhood I was searching for parents love.We are three sisters and one brother, and I am the older one,so it was a hard truth I had not got attention of my parents,They used to treated me as an older one, I had to look after my younger brother and sisters, no time to play, had to do my duties as per their requirements,other wise they punished me for my faults.

      I didn't express to them I want their love, I was a outsider of that family it was always working in my mind. I was feeling alone, feeling isolated to them. They had no time to gave a glance to me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Saigita, I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine not having the support and love of parents. Blessings and peace to you my friend and thank you for reading my hub.

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      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      What a wonderful true story Billy;you are lucky to be able to tell such a wonderful and honest story of parents who honest and wise to the core and it warms my heart to read it.

      I have the memories of a hard working and honest grandmother whom I used to stay with very often in the school holidays.

      However she passed away when I was just twelve;if you read some of my early hubs 'Tales and Tastes from Wales they are full of memories on the farm and grandmother's or(Mamgu)cooking.

      Mind you my parents came in handy because when I was expecting the first of my six children I made a silent vow that I would do the opposite of everything my parents had and I should be alright.

      I do not say this with any sadness anymore as the memories are today simply unwelcome visitors who don't stay for very long;and I loved reading your story of your upbringing,and I mean that!!

      Your hubs Billy leave a very satisfied after effect which is why I love to sit here and become engrossed in each and everyone of them.

      Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful gem.

      Take care my friend and enjoy the rest of your day.

      Eddy.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Eddy! I am the first to admit that my childhood was a veritable gift basket of love and contentment. I didn't realize at the time the gifts I was given but I do now.

      I love you outlook on life and especially on the past. Regrets are a waste of time; all we can do is learn from the past and move on. Sadness is no longer welcome in my life nor is it in yours. We are all about creating loving memories and that, my dear friend, is a wonderful legacy to pass on.

      Have a wonderful day dear one and peace and love to you alway.

      bill

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      jblais1122@aol 5 years ago from Kansas City, Missouri, USA

      A great essay on life, Thank you Billy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jblais! I appreciate you stopping by and reading about my memories.

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      KatrineDalMonte 5 years ago

      Bill, a wonderful hub, full of appreciation of your parents and your roots. For sure we are to a great extent shaped by our experiences in our childhood. Having a great family to be raised in, with lots of love and care is beautiful and necessary for the development in our later life. Great photos too :-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Katrine! I have a full appreciation for my upbringing now and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

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      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      You always tell the best stories and tell them with such love. I can read and feel your appreciation for everything you had while growing up - the lessons, the attention, the time, the family. Thank you for sharing this story.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ardie, you are very welcome and thank you for your kindness and faithful following. I guess I'm just a story-teller at heart. Not a bad way to spend a day. :)

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      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      It is so nice to read hubs like this! You were truly taught the most important things in life. Nice to know that you appreciate your background as much as you do.

      You are also right about keeping information about the Great Depression alive in people's minds. We can learn much about how our ancestors coped through those difficult times and apply it to when difficulties arise in our own lives. Life is not a cake walk! Sooner or later the winds shift in one way or another for most of us. Few people get through life without some bumps and bruises, whether they are visible or not.

      Voted up, beautiful and awesome.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Peggy, very true words! I wonder how many people today could handle The Great Depression. Yes, we are in a recession but we never approached the way things were during the 30's. I hope we never forget the sacrifices our ancestors had to make for family.

      Thank you my friend; peace and happiness to you always.

      bill

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      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Each of us has a story to tell and a history from the family we grew up in. Thank you for sharing part of that history here with us, and allowing us to get to know a bit more about who you are and what your writing means to you.

      I agree with you regarding the philosophy, "life's too short" and have been a supporter of this philosophy for a few decades now. Thus, I've been the 'free spirit' in the family...the rolling stone. Heck, being here in NC is the longest I've 'settled' in one part of the country since I took off for Alaska, and that is ONLY because I am raising my nephew right now and he has one more year in high school before he graduates.

      I agree also: all I want to do is write, but bills prevent me from writing f.t. just now. I do have hope for the future and a 5 yr plan that will come to fruition eventually. Each day at work is a step in the direction of obtaining my goals. Being a writer for hubber is another 'right' step.

      Thanks for sharing your interesting background. Rated up and across except funny. :)

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Denise, I understand the bills thing and I, too, have a four year plan when I'll be free to write and write and write some more. As it is I pay most of the bills with writing but there is no joy in that type of writing and I want joy in each and every thing I write. It took me a long time to discover this passion and now I embrace it totally.

      Thank you my friend. Wishing you peace and happiness.

      bill

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      Annie Fenn 5 years ago from Australia

      Your story is written with so much respect and compassion for your parents. They endured what we would consider a very hard life, yet they seemed to live simply with contentment, gratitude, love and compassion. They were content with their one annual vacation and an occasional meal out. What you have really stressed here, Bill and what I sense and also know from my own parents and their generation, is they "never complained". Our parents were content, they lived simply, not out of choice, but because that's how it was. It's funny, they lived frugally because there was no other way, yet today for many in western society, frugal living is a lifestyle choice. It is a very welcome relief from living in a continual 'I want' society. Your choice to live simply, without all the trappings, in order to follow your desire to write is commendable and I am sure they not only approve and but are immensely proud of you.

      Thank you for sharing this story of your dear Mum and Dad and the beautiful influence they were in your life. My best votes to you, along with my best wishes and sharing also!! :)

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Fennel (Ann)....thank you! Your point was an interesting one, how society has changed to regarding frugality. They were good parents and will always have my admiration and gratitude.

      As will you my friend for being so supportive of my writing.

      blessings to you,

      bill

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      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      What a beautiful tribute to your parents, Billy! I'm sure they are smiling and are very proud of you. Thank you so much for your unselfish recognition and celebration of the core of your strength and kind soul!

      Enjoy your day!

      Sha

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I can say without hesitation that I did not reach this point in life solely on my merits. I had a lot of help along the way; I just had to be willing to accept the help and learn from it.

      Thank you my friend and I hope you are having a fabulous weekend in Florida!

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      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      You touch my soul, my friend. I'm ever so grateful for our friendship and bleeding hearts. I don't mean bleeding in a negative connotation at all. I mean we let our hearts pour forth! You are very special to me!

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shoot, Sha, that was sure nice of you to say! I love the friendships I am forming on HubPages and you have become pretty darn special to me too. I hope things are going well for you. Blessings to you this Saturday...and always.

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      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Ditto, my friend!

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