A moment from Grace’s memoir

A passage from my great grandmother Grace Charlotte (Hess) Saal’s (1900-1996) memoir ‘My Life’ describes the day her father passed away.  After an accident Grace’s father slowly
became weaker until one day he became gravely ill. The doctor was called and
told his wife that he would pass away within eight hours.  A neighbor rode to find the Lutheran
Minister who told them he had the flu and could not come, but lent them a bible
with a passage marked in it to read.  All
of the family’s friends and neighbor’s came over to hear the bible being read,
however no-one but Grace, a very small 14 year old at the time, could
read.  The task of reading the last
testament while her father lay dying fell on this young girl, my great Grandmother
who describes this moment as “With tears all around, I read the last
testament”.  

This loving but sad memory relayed by Grace captures my
imagination and intrigues me. Knowing that Grace’s family originated in Germany
and possibly still spoke the language makes me want to know more about this
part of my family heritage.  Although I
would never want to rewrite her story, this pearl of information left by Grace helps
us to put ourselves in her shoes and feel what life was like for people of that
time and culture.

Grace Charlotte Hess c1914

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