For many years I have said that I was going to write a book about two very special people. Well, this is not a book, but I need to tell the story.
I need to tell a little about our lives on the farm and how our family was truly blessed. Now that I am older and see it through the eyes of an adult, I can appreciate what our parents went through.
Our mother was a school teacher. She had taught at several schools but spent 22 years of her career at Stanleyville Elementary School. Mother taught many children along with her own four children. Now I realize what a blessing it was to be able to spend those important years at the school with our mother. Children today hardly ever get to see their mothers because it takes both parents working to make a living. Our mother was a strict teacher, however, she took pride in her students and would watch with admiration when any of her students went on to bigger and better things. She would enjoy seeing them be on the National Honor Society at Marietta High School, seeing them on the college dean's lists and when they became professionals in their own rights. Mother was happy, just knowing that she had a small part in their becoming adults and growing up to be fine citizens.
Photo provided by Sheila Tilton
Golda and Raymond “Gene” Davison
Our father was a Grade A dairy farmer and raised appaloosa horses. I look back now and I see the things he did, day in and day out, that we took for granted. He whitewashed the cattle barn every year, he kept the milkhouse cleaner that most kitchens. He worked in the fields providing hay and corn for all of the animals. Our father would work from sun up to sun down. In the evening when all the chores were done and the animals were fed and content, our family would take drives out in the country. We did not have air conditioning in our home, like everyone has today and it would be too hot to sleep. Dad and mom would tell us stories about their growing up. We would stop at Skeet Vore's Ice Cream Drive In, corner of Seventh and Greene streets, and load up on all those goodies.
Our parents met in Sunday school, in fact mother was dad's Sunday school teacher. Dad was truly infatuated with her and thought she was the greatest person he had ever met. Dad to drop out of school when he was in the eighth grade to help take care of his family, being the oldest of six children, it was expected. Mother's family were teachers and store owners in Wingett Run. If only we could go back and relive those years as an adult now and appreciate what a truly neat life we had with our wonderful parents.
I tell you all this because one of the things that they were most proud of was their Christianity. Before they became too ill to attend, they went to the Soul's Harbor Church on Ohio 26. They are charter members, in fact. Dad enjoyed singing in the choir and mother was happy to see a lot of people she didn't get to see otherwise. When our parents' health started to decline and our dad was so severely ill, he would question how he could be so ill and still be alive. He wondered why God did not take him home to be in Heaven. I always told dad, God went to Heaven to prepare a place for him and he was still working to complete it, before he called him home. The only thing we did not know at the time was that he was working on a duplex.
Dec. 29, 1990, my father had the nurse call me at work and tell me how ill he was. I rushed home and was preparing to take him to the hospital. (To this day, I cannot remember why I did not call the Fearing Township squad. They had been excellent in caring for our parents). At any rate, as I was helping dad get ready, he said, "If I could have my prayer answered, I would pray that your mother would pass and I would not know it and I would pass and she wouldn't know it, and we would just meet at the gates to 'Heaven' and walk in together." He said, "It would really be tough on you kids but that is the way I would like it because I cannot stand the thought of coming home and not seeing your mother here, and I cannot stand the thought of her being here at home and wondering where I am."
I took my father to Marietta Memorial Hospital and he was admitted to the ICU unit. A ventilator was placed on him and we were told, when he could breathe on his own better, they would take it off of him but chances were slim that that would ever happen. Dad was in the hospital exactly a week when we had to bring mother in, she was having some breathing difficulty. She was placed on the second floor in the same hospital. We spent all of our time running from the second floor to the fourth floor. Nurses wanted to tell dad that mom was in the hospital. We would not let them because of the prayer dad had spoken. The doctor came to us late on Friday evening and said that dad could not continue on the ventilator and it was up to us if we wanted it disconnected. We were in total agony and were hysterical to think that after all these years of loving our sweet father, it was up to us to pull the plug. What a terrible decision for a mortal human being to make. At any rate, I kept thinking about dad's prayer. We were told that dad would only live for about an hour after the ventilator was removed. That night after the ventilator had been unplugged and removed, dad went to sleep and actually slept the most peaceful sleep he had in years. He slept for 25 hours and rested so completely.
At around 10:45 p.m., they called us back to mom's room because she was weakening. All of her family was there except for our older brother and his family in Japan and they were on their way. Our minister, Merle Farnsworth, and his wife, Jennie, came and were with us at this horrible time in our lives. I never thought I could go on living without my parents. At approximately 11 p.m. Saturday night, Jan. 6, 1990, our wonderful mother passed away. We prayed that God would keep her in his loving arms and comfort her.
At that time a nurse came running to our mother's room and said hurry, your daddy is passing. We ran upstairs to the fourth floor and we were all around him, praying and telling him how much we all loved him. He opened his beautiful blue eyes full and looked around at each one of us and then ... flat lined. The time was 12:03 a.m. on Jan. 7, 1990, his birthday.
Our father always said, "If I live to my next birthday." Well, he made it, but you know he received the best gift of all. Dad and mom met at the gates of Heaven and walked in together, healthy, happy and pain-free illness because of their devotion to God and the Bible.
In the casket, my father had the most beautiful smile on his face and I have learned that no funeral director can place a smile like that on the face of a deceased person.
When you hear the song, "Where have you been?" by Kathy Mattea, think of our parents. That song came out the day of the funeral.
In conclusion, I would like to state that our parents and God wanted us to know that they were all together in "Heaven." The smile on our father's father was to let us know that they were enjoying their duplex in "Heaven."
I would like to dedicate this article to my sister, Marlene Duckworth, and my brothers, Loring Davison and Laurel Davison.
Together for 53 years on Earth and together for an eternity in Heaven ... with all our love.
Sheila Tilton lives in Lowell.