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Call Her "Susie";A Life of Both Hardship and Strong Faith; Part Five; Raising a Catholic Family Part One.

Updated on August 27, 2014
Sandy and Steve at the house on 944 Powers St. in New Haven, Indiana.
Sandy and Steve at the house on 944 Powers St. in New Haven, Indiana.
Me as a baby in the pool
Me as a baby in the pool
Visiting Grandma and Grandpa Sexton in Florida.
Visiting Grandma and Grandpa Sexton in Florida.
Sandy and Andy making their vows.
Sandy and Andy making their vows.
Sandy and Andy w/ Grandparents. The woman in the wheelchair is Wreatha Mae Elwood, and beside her is Cyril M. Elwood. We called them "Mommoms and Papaws".
Sandy and Andy w/ Grandparents. The woman in the wheelchair is Wreatha Mae Elwood, and beside her is Cyril M. Elwood. We called them "Mommoms and Papaws".

Turbulent Times Ahead.

I've decided to write mom's story, because it is her faith which inspires my faith. In fact, mom has touched countless lives through her example of faith and perseverance, even through what for many would be impossibly tough times. I hope that you will gain some inspiration, as her story unfolds.

My apologies for having waited so long to publish Part Five. It's been very hectic lately. God bless.

In the Midst of Troubling Times, Part One; the 1960s.

As Told to Her Son, Stuart.

Shortly after David’s death, Susie was pregnant again. However, she lost that child due to miscarriage. Not too long after that, however, she was expecting yet another child, and on September 25th, 1958, Steven Ward Sexton was born. Some time after Steve was born (Susie is a bit fuzzy about the date), Susie had another miscarriage.

In the meantime, the 1950s gave way to the 1960s. Dwight D. Eisenhower was on his way out of the White House, John F. Kennedy would become President of the United States, Nikita Khrushchev was in the Kremlin, the Space Race was on, the US had begun sending advisers to Vietnam, Fidel Castro was in charge of Cuba, Pope John XXIII had begun the Second Vatican Council, nuclear war seemed more and more likely (especially in light of the Cuban Missile Crises), John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as President of the United States, the Beatles (who were rising in popularity in England), were planning their American Invasion, and the pace of the entire world seemed to be accelerating beyond control.

It was into this world that, on January 19th, 1964, at 5:32 am, Susie gave birth to Stuart Lynn Sexton, against the odds of a risky (at that time) pregnancy, at the age of 35. During this time, Sandy Sexton was attending St. John the Baptist Catholic School, and growing into quite a young lady. And, soon, Steven would be starting school there as well.

In the meanwhile, Stuart was exhibiting a few health problems. At the age of eighteen months, he had developed a severe croup, had to spend several days in the hospital, under an oxygen tent, and had to undergo a tracheotomy. Stuart later had a hard time swallowing food, and nearly choked to death on a sausage link during breakfast one morning. It was due to his difficulty swallowing that he was extremely thin as a young child, which worried his parents to no end. As it turned out, he was born with a double set of tonsils, and they had become inflamed, so he had to undergo a tonsillectomy.  

All of this, of course, was against the backdrop of very turbulent times, while Susie worked in a factory in Grabil, Indiana, and Jack serviced jukeboxes in various bars in Fort Wayne. On top of their troubles with Stuart, the couple had their hands full elsewhere, trying to raise a Catholic teenage girl. Soon, Sandy was enrolled in New Haven High School, and they had to battle the decaying morality of the 1960s, with that decade’s growing hippie movement, sexual revolution, and drug culture starting to take shape.

By the Grace of God, the Sextons had the support of strong extended family ties, and Sandy grew to adulthood without having gotten involved in the culture, but remained true to her Catholic upbringing And so, toward the end of the decade, in June of 1968, Sandra Marie Sexton walked arm in arm with her dad, down the aisle of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, knelt before the High Alter beside her fiancé, Andy T. Collins, took her wedding vows, and became Sandra Marie Collins.

At decade’s end, the Sextons discovered that Stuart suffered from symptoms similar to epilepsy, which resulted in grand mal seizures. It turned out that his cranium wasn't growing as fast as his brain. This was a frightening time for Susie and Jack, since, on at least one occasion, they found the boy in mid seizure, and thought he had died. On top of this, after Stuart was enrolled in kindergarten, his eyes were tested, and it turned out that he had dislocated lenses, and needed surgery.

It was at this time, in 1969, that Wreatha Mae passed from this life to the next. Her passing, though sorrowful, was a blessing in disguise, due to the fact that Wreatha had suffered for years with crippling rheumatoid arthritis, which had led her to be wheelchair bound.

Even through all of this, however, the Sexton’s clung to their Faith in God. The words of Wreatha Mae would continue to echo down through Susie’s mind and heart; “The Heavenly Father knows best.” These thoughts would continue to be a comfort to Susie during this time, and through the trials yet to come. The next time, I’ll take you through those trials, as we examine the 1970s. Until then, go with God.


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