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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Search Engine (10/06/11)

TITLE: Double Rites
By Melinda Melton
10/19/11


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Double Rites


August 15, 1951

Dear Diary,

I have the most wonderful news. Iím expecting again! This will be my Seventh baby and I couldnít be more thrilled. I canít wait to tell Woody but I want to pick the perfect moment. I need to run now to tend to my brood of six. I love them so!

August 30, 1951

Dear Diary,

The drought continues itís been over 100 days since our last rain fell. Itís hot and dusty and Iím fairly certain we will not have cotton again this year. Woody hasnít been in the best of moods of late. I still havenít told him about the baby. The time isnít right.

September 20, 1951

Dear Diary,

Woody had to till the cotton under. We lost it all. Still no rain. Itís hot and the water well is drying up. How can I possibly tell him about the baby right now? Iím still getting sick in the mornings. I thank God for my girls Anna, Rebekah and my little Mary. They have been helpful with the chores. My boys Noah, Joseph and Matthew have been a great help to their father and tending to the animals. Iím blessed and I canít wait to hold my new bundle of , Elizabeth Grace if itís a girl and Mark Anthony if itís a boy.

October 20, 1951

Dear Diary,

Thank the good Lord and praise His Holy Name! We got six inches of rain last night! Woody is so happy he is beside himself. He picked me up and twirled me in the air. We laughed like innocent teenagers. Tomorrow we are going for a Sunday drive, just the two of us. Iím going to tell him tomorrow about the baby. I wonder if he will agree to the names I picked out. Iíll let you know tomorrow!

That is where the diary ends. Iíve tried over the years to talk with my Mom, Mary, about her parents but all she will say is that they died and she and her brothers and sisters were raised by her grandparents.

My great grandparents already had twelve children of their own but took in their six grandkids when their daughter, my grandmother, Eva died.

Determined to find out more information, I sat at my computer and searched the Internet. I pull up my favorite search engine and begin typing in keywords: names, dates of birth, cities and counties and the date they died.

I signed up for a trial membership to Ancestry.com and begin searching through public records there and hit upon a newspaper article:

ďDouble Rites Set For Couple Killed in Crash

Oct. 24, 1951

Double funeral services for Mr. and Mrs. Woody Smith, Fieldton farm couple killed Sunday in a highway accident near Plains, are set for 2pm Wednesday at Southview Baptist church.

The Smiths were killed when the car in which they were driving apparently went out of control and overturned late Sunday night near Plains. Details of the fatal crash were not known.

The couple is survived by six children. They include three sons and three daughtersĒ

I sit at my computer with tears streaming down my face. My heart is broken for my Mom. It all makes since now. I know now why she is so closed off from the world, why she has little contact with her family, why she refuses to drive on the highway, refuses to drive when it rains and the roads are wet.

I used to get so irritated with her for being so afraid to do things. I was furious with her for drinking too much and not being the mother I needed her to be.

I see her now through different eyes and Iím ashamed. From this point forward, I will have more patience with her and I will pray for her to heal. I pray that she finds peace.

Authors note: Everything but the diary entries are true. The pregnancy is also true. The newspaper article is from the Abilene Reporter News. Names and Town names have been changed.


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This article has been read 263 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Theresa Santy 10/20/11
Very unique take on the topic. The Internet can harbor lots of darkness, but there is also no limit to the treasures it holds. What a special gift, to be able to learn more about your ancestry.

There were a few typos, but overall the piece was presented nicely.
CD Swanson 10/22/11
WOW- powerful story, and great job of staying on topic.

This was quite an emotional entry, I loved it. It reinforces what I always think, "there are reasons for everything" So when we see an individual behaving in an unconventional way-there are reasons for it.

Thank you for sharing. Great job. God Bless you~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/23/11
This is a great story. You really piqued my interest right from the beginning. The ending was great too. I really like that it is based on a true story. You do need to work a but on the actual crafting. Some of the sentence were awkward and needed some rearranging. Double-check punctuation rules esp. commas. Also the word mom should only be capitalized of it is used as a name if your put the word my or the in front of it then it should be lower -case. You might want to join a critiquing group or get a challenge buddy. (check the message boards for a group) You have a great deal of natural talent.
Beth LaBuff 10/23/11
Oh, wow! I can't imagine! You've told their story in away that makes it so real for the reader. [Your story also hits close to home here, I just spent a week with a dear cousin who was injured in an auto accident, as a result of losing control during heavy rain.]
Linda Goergen10/26/11
Loved this story! I was sorry that the diary entries were not true, because they gave such a personal look and feeling of connection - but the rest is amazing too and the story has such insight and wisdom woven in. It seems that maybe in writing this it also provided some catharsis for you too! Just a winner of a story all round!
Margaret McKinney10/28/11
I really love how the diary entries bring the reader in and makes them wonder where they're heading, then stops abruptly after the last one. Great hook! Also a very unique take on the topic. Well done!
Yvonne Blake 11/01/11
Great story!

The diary was a perfect beginning to this, drawing the reader into the story.

I stumbled a bit in the transition. Perhaps making more of a break would have helped.

The conclusion showed the author's motive for searching.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/04/11
Congratulations for ranking 10th in level one!