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Call Her “Susie”; A Life of Both Hardship, and Strong Faith. Part Four. A Lifetime of Labor Begins.
Mom, dad, and Sandy
Growing Her Family, and Her Faith.
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
In part four, we see mom's faith, hope, and love tested, as through fire.
David in Heaven
As Told to Her Son, Stuart.
Susie had learned the value of hard work on the farm by the river, but her first job away from home was at a showcase manufacturing company in New Haven, Indiana, where she worked preparing the glass for the showcases. It was while working there that she first started smoking, after her brother Dick made it quite clear that smoking was something which she was incapable of doing. (Her smoking habit would continue until 1984). Susie took Dick’s words as a challenge, and she never backs down from challenges.
After working at the showcase company for about three and a half years, Susie went to work at a rubber company. It was while working there that she nearly lost her left foot, when a heavy tray fell down, and sliced her ankle clean through, leaving her foot to hang from just a few tendons. Whenever she tells the story, Susie recalls (with a bit of amusement in her voice) that her foreman, upon seeing the blood, fainted straight away. (In her words; "he went ’plunk’, straight to the floor.")
While she was still working at the rubber factory, she met a man, whom she quickly fell for. (Susie doesn’t recall his full name, but simply remembers him as “Carl.”) After a short romance, they were soon married, albeit, not in the Catholic Church. She only spent her wedding night with him, and they had made plans for their future, but he was drafted into the Air Force, and was sent to Korea.
Susie’s mother convinced her to get a Declaration of Nullity, (also called an Annulment) and, since the marriage was never convalidated, the Church quickly granted this. However, Susie soon found out that she was pregnant. Her parents wanted her to put her child up for adoption, but Susie decided to keep her child, and her parents stood behind her, and agreed to help support her child. Soon afterward, they heard the news of Carl’s death in Korea.
On February 6, 1951, Sandra Marie (“Sandy”) Elwood was born prematurely. She was a mere four pounds ten ounces when she was brought home from the hospital (she was allowed to come home only because Susie was nursing her.) Susie and her parents had to closely monitor Sandy’s weight, length, and health for quite some time, but Sandy soon grew into a strong and healthy young girl.
Susie was working as a waitress when she encountered a man who seemed to her to be somewhat odd. He would come in every day, order the lousy coffee, and then, let it get cold while doing his work, only to drink the stuff down afterward, and leave. This behavior continued for quite some time, before the man finally got a friend of his to let Susie know that he wanted to go out with her. The man himself was too shy to ask Susie himself.
This man’s name was Jack Sexton. Jack was smitten with Susie, but she wasn’t as interested in him as he was in her; at least, not at first. Jack was marriage minded, but Susie, having been burned already, wasn’t interested in marriage. It took Jack quite some time and patience, but Susie eventually realized just how much she loved Jack. They were married on October 20, 1956 (Susie was already about four months pregnant at the time), and, this time (since Jack, like Carl, was a Protestant) the marriage was convalidated.
Not long after the wedding, Jack began the process of adopting Sandy, and soon, Sandra Marie Elwood became Sandra Marie Sexton. On March 16, 1957, David Lee Sexton was born. Sadly, he would leave this world again exactly seven months later, on October 16, 1957, due to asphyxiation, caused by a natural gas leak.(While many states had adopted the use of odorants in natural gas, at times, some odorants weren’t as reliable as others. Perhaps this is why the family hadn’t noticed the leak, until it was too late.)
David‘s death was, of course, one of many tests of Susie’s faith throughout her life. But, as we will examine in future parts to her story, Susie’s faith will have been that one constant which would help her to endure. Until next time, God bless.
# I am leaving the name of the places Susie worked out, so as not to give undue publicity to particular companies, whether or not they are still in business.
## See the above footnote.