This family book was started in the spring of 1984, after I read, “The Ramfields and Kinfolks” by Novella A’ilson. From it I learned of numerous descendants of my great-grandparents, John and Kitty Wilson and Joseph R. Beaver, Sr., and family. My sister, Jane, who had sent me the book, suggested that I take up where Novella left off with the Beavers, and do a book on our family. The idea did appeal to me, “But”, I said, “I am seventy-six years old, you know”. Was it the challenge that drew me to attempt it, or was it the chance to upgrade the image and dispel some of the myths surrounding the aging pro cess? Could it have been because Andy Warhol said that every one ought to be famous for 15 minutes? I am not sure of the answer, but this I am sure, I had not the foggiest idea of what I was undertaking. It has been a good experience in that it brought me into contact with relatives I never knew existed.
Just when I felt that progress was being made on the book, my husband, Buddy, was hospitalized with a heart ailment that resulted in, what the surgeons called, “Five vessel coronary revascularization using cardiopulmonary bypass”. In our vernacular, a five bypass heart operation. This took place the 6th day of May, 1985. For weeks I felt that I was tilting at windmills where my book was concerned. Letters were coming in giving information regarding individual families, and since I had undertaken the task of doing all of the typing, I was getting behind by the hour. An old Russian proverb says, “If we knew beforehand where we were going to fall, we could lay down a carpet”. Several times I was tempted to shelve it and for get about the whole thing. But, didn’t someone say, “The only thing worse than a quitter is the person who is afraid to begin”? I had begun, I had received encouraging support, and I have persevered, so, now you are reading the finished product.
I read Edwin Newman’s best seller, “Strictly Speaking”, in 1975 As I was scanning through it again recently, I found encouragement from his satirical criticisms of writers and public speakers. He says that the colorful phrase is a wonderful thing but it need not be elaborate; that accurate description of a place or event, or the precise formulation of an idea is sufficient for the reader or listener. He states that simple, direct speech has departed and has been replaced too much by stilted and pompous words and phrases. For example, he said that any number of writers or speakers might render the line in the TV commercial, “Oh, I ate the whole thing”, as, “Oh, I ate the thing in its totality”.
And so, dear relatives, because of my limitations, and being influenced by the wise words of Edwin Newman, I have not used any words or phrases herein that will send you running to Webster. I did not send the manuscript out to be edited, for I wanted it to be mine. Therefore, I make no apologies for any split infinitives, dangling participles, double negatives, irregular verbs, mixed metaphors, misplaced punctuation, or typing errors by this seventy-seven year old female who was never a writer in the first place.
I am sad that some of the descendants of my parents did not respond to my request for a chapter about their individual family. My book is the poorer because of that. Also, my request for family pictures did not bring as many as I would have liked. All of your chapters were interesting, and I thank you for your cooperation.
I hope that through reading this book we will all feel closer as a big family, that we will have a better understanding of each other, that we will be tolerant of each other’s faults and mistakes, realizing that no one has reached perfection, and that we will feel a kindred spirit toward each other.
Family history has always appealed to me, and researching our genealogy has confirmed my belief that if you poke around any family tree for awhile you are bound to shake loose a lot of good fruit.
Let us all go to church and worship God so that when we die He won’t have to ask, “Who is it?”.
My love to all,
April 21, 2020 comment by Dennis Beaver: The writing in Parts I and II are the first-person voice of Lois Smith in 1984. There are numerous statements about living people, ages, etc. in Parts I & II, so bear in mind the context as the time-frame of 1984.