This past week we said see you later to my Aunt Laura Fay. She was the last of the aunts and uncles to make the trip home.
I was talking to my cousin Sherrie Ann at the funeral and I said they really don’t make women like that generation anymore. The children of the Depression.
My Aunt Laura Fay, Aunt Dorothy, Aunt Evelyn, Aunt Estelle, Aunt Ruth and my own amazing mother were daughters of the Great Depression. Not only did they survive the Depression, they survived in Oklahoma. There is a difference, the rest of the country, it was financial, in Oklahoma they were battling the Dust Bowl as well. They grew up in an era that knew great poverty and hunger. People were literally starving to death.
These women who grew up in that time and place learned what sacrifice was, they learned what it took to keep a family whole, together, not scattered to the winds.
They knew how to make it look easy, they had perseverance, strength of body, strength of character, they had heart, they knew how to get things done and keep their femininity. Not an easy feat, but one they mastered.
Sherrie Ann and I were talking about that, I said there will never be women like them, she said you’re wrong Angie, you and I are women like that. Our cousins are women like that and their daughters.
I looked around and thought about it, she is so right, my cousin Terry, that recently passed, she was one. She was a nurse that went on to teach others how to nurse. She was a no nonsense yet give you the shirt off of her back type of woman.
My cousin Cindy has the biggest heart I know, Paula as well, both tell it like it is, but stand by your side women. They don’t have your back, they have your side, if you need them they will be there. Whether it is to listen, give advice or help you get even. I’ve never tested that last bit, but I know it’s true.
I look at my own daughter, strong, resilient, yet willing to help in any situation.
I look at my cousin’s daughters and I see it, I’m so proud of the generations coming after us, they did learn from us.
As a Testerman I believe it is in our DNA to stand strong, to be resilient, to see a need and help in any way we can.
My dad told me a story about his dad, my great-grandfather, I know my family connections get confusing due to the adoption. But follow me.
Their family fared better than a lot in their community due to the fact that great-grandpa Testerman learned to farm in Missouri. He knew about irrigation and how to not plant in straight rows. That is what caused the dust bowl in part in Oklahoma. Anyway, they had crops.
Great Grandpa and Grandma kept what their family needed to survive. Then they would get out burlap sacks and fill them up with corn, beans, potatoes, wheat and oats. Then Great Grandpa would drive around the community and leave them on the neediest families’ doorsteps.
One day, when my dad was 6 or 7, his dad told him to come on, he was old enough to help.
So off they went, making deliveries that literally made the difference between life and death.
After they were done, my dad asked his dad why he did that, didn’t they need food.
He never forgot what his dad said. “We’re Testermans son, this is what we do, we have enough to get us by, but these folks would starve without a little help. We see a need, we help where we can.”
This is our legacy, the Testerman men have been very good about marrying women who have this type of blood running in their veins as well.
We stand united, we help where we can, in our family and in our communities. We are Testermans.
I’ll miss you Aunt Laura Fay, I am far better off having been your niece, say hello to Uncle JH and the rest of the bunch for me.