Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday

Roy E. Bean
Located at
Carmel Church Cemetery
Gap Mills, Monroe Co., WV

I was so blessed to have my Grandma Bean in my young life.  She came to live with us when I was only 5. And she was with us still until her death on January 1, 1975.

Grandma enjoyed talking about her childhood and her family. She was so proud of my Dad for bringing her to live with us. She had early onset Alzheimer's. (They just called it 'hardening of the arteries' back then.) So I saw her go from a vibrant, hard working woman into a shell. But I still remember doing things with her when she first came to live with us.

We would go out on the lawn and pick dandelion greens. (We lived in the city, but we were the only house on our street that didn't struggle with dandelions. No weed killer there! We ate the weeds instead!) Grandma told me they were good for building up your blood. (And they really are!) She told me you could make a tea out of them. Turn them into a wilted salad. Or boil the greens and eat them with a little vinegar. I just loved them no matter what! (Later, once I was an adult, I would pick the blooms and make dandelion wine out of them. Talk about something good! Oh, you haven't had wine until you've had some dandelion wine!)

Grandma also taught me to cook. My Mom worked, and she simply didn't have the time to teach me a lot about cooking. I can remember Grandma teaching me to make her custard in a bain marie. I use the same method today. And you haven't eaten dessert until you've eaten old fashioned egg custard! Oh my heavens! Sprinkled with a little nutmeg and cinnamon on top, it was the best dessert ever! And Grandma taught me how to make her biscuits. Light, fluffy. Tender, and when you put a pat of butter on them, your mouth would begin to drool! Top them with a little sorghum molasses, the stronger the better, and you had a wonderful treat! (The trick was adding cream of tartar to the biscuit mix!)

And Grandma taught me about my Daddy as a little boy. She told me about one time when the family was getting ready for church, and she had him all clean and handsome in a little sailor suit for church. She turned and he was gone. Probably about 4 or 5 years of age. She and my Grandpa found him. He had gone wading in the stock pond! Grandma said she had to throw his clothes away because she couldn't get the mud out of them. I would giggle when she said she spanked his little behind. So funny when you're only five yourself!

And then she would get teary eyed, and tell me about an uncle I would never know. He was younger than the rest of Grandpa's children. He was the baby of the family. (Grandpa had outlived two wives when he married my Grandma. Between the three wives, he had 15 children. He saw four die before him.) Grandma was the mother of the youngest three children, and thus she bore the youngest child of all.

His name was Roy Edwin Bean. And I try very hard to keep his little memory alive. You see, he died when he was only 3 years of age.

Grandma always called him by both his first and middle name, Roy Edwin, when she spoke of him.

He was a fair-haired child. And Grandma's third son. My Dad was Grandma's eldest. So, Dad can still today recall events with little Roy Edwin.

Grandma used to say he got into mischief. And at three, he still had "accidents". Then I didn't understand, but you Moms out there know exactly what I'm talking about. Those little accidents you fight against while potty training your child. Some learn in a single day. And for some it may take 2 or even 3 years!

Little Roy Edwin Bean. he had had an accident here, and was wet. He looked so much like my Dad though! Wasn't he a cutie?

He was so full of life! And his big brother doted on him so!

Then one day, little Roy Edwin began to cry with a tummy ache. We've all had a child who did this, we give them a little something for it, if nothing but a baby aspirin, and they begin to feel better. But Roy Edwin didn't get to feeling better. Grandpa thought maybe the child was constipated, and they gave him some cod liver oil. Still he was no better. It was decided after a couple of days to take him to the doctor. From there he was rushed to the old hospital at Ronceverte, West Virginia. There he was diagnosed with a burst appendix. In 1946, there wasn't anything that could be done. They kept him as comfortable as they could for the time. Until he began to fade. The light was slowly extinguished from his little sparkling eyes. And one moment he was there, holding his Mommy and Daddy's hands. And the next he was with Jesus in Heaven.

Grandma never did get to talk about him without getting choked up and crying. And who could blame her for that? What mother could?

Little Roy Edwin was layed to rest in the Carmel Presbyterian Church cemetery, next to a brother and two sisters, who he never knew. Beside him are Samuel Maxwell "Max", whom my Dad received his middle name from (1919-1923). Dorothy Eloise (1923-1925), and Pauline (1902-1925). Eloise and Max's mother is buried there as well, Ada L. Burdette Bean (1883-1929).

Each year we decorate the graves of those young aunts and uncles of mine who didn't get to see how many would continue to love them dearly to this very day. I am sure the other three children were as deeply loved as little Roy Edwin was. But he will forever remain in a tender part of my heart that sheds a tear when I visit his site. That mourns for the man he might have become. The family he might have had. And the love we would surely have shared.

Rest easy little Roy Edwin. Be in peace with your Mommy and Daddy. One day I will meet you, where never more shall we shed a tear.

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