This I Believe

Robert - York, Pennsylvania
Entered on June 4, 2007
Age Group: 65+
Themes: family, legacy, love
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I believe in Love with Sacrifice.

My mom and dad grew up on farms in rural Vale, North Carolina. They eloped to Gaffney, South Carolina on September 12, 1928 when mom was 16 and dad was 21.

Dad had left the farm and moved to the small town of Drexel, North Carolina and found work in the knitting mill. Immediately after they were married, Mom returned to her parents’ farm and finished high school, after which she joined Dad in Drexel. They had four children, born between 1931 and 1939. Mom also worked in the knitting mill. Life was good in the small town where everyone knew everyone else. There was a lot more love to be shared than there were material things.

That is, everything was good until World War II; then sacrifices became necessary. In 1943 at age 35 my dad was called up to serve his country. With a wife and four children, he could have appealed for a deferment, but chose not to. It was difficult to leave his family, but he and his wife made the sacrifice for the love of their country.

Dad went for military training to Georgia and Texas and Mom packed up the four kids and moved back to the farm with her parents. Mom and some other farm ladies car-pooled to factory jobs in town. We kept the house in Drexel, and in the front window hung a flag with 1 star to show that we had one loved one serving our country.

Mom went to visit Dad twice while he was in training. Excerpts from cards she sent to him on her way back home from these visits read:

June, 1944 Camp Stewart, Georgia “Hello My Darling, It is 15 till 8, going to breakfast and will catch a bus to Hinesville. Be good & do not worry. I love you and will come back as soon as I can. I’m O.K. Bye. I love you and have had a grand time.” Jessie.

December, 1944 “Monday eve. 5 o’clock Hello Darling, I am at Texarkana will leave here by bus for Memphis at 6. Train does not leave until 10:25 tonight. I love you. Hurry home.” Jess

These trips were quite an adventure for the young farm girl, who previously had been no farther away from home than to Gaffney, South Carolina.

Dad went on to fight in Europe; he served in General Patton’s Third Army and was awarded a Purple Heart and the CIB with two battle stars.

Following is from a post card that Dad sent to me, his youngest son. “Bobby do you want to start school? I bet you will be a sight in school. Bobby I have just looked at your picture.”

PFC Burgin Rhoney Shull returned to his beloved wife and children at the end of World War II.

Jessie was killed 5 years later in a tragic automobile accident. She died at the age of 38, having lived, loved and sacrificed.