Friday, May 17, 2013

Daddy's Birthday Greeting

I have been finding many treasures as I cull my way through a box of archival documents: letters in my paternal grandparents handwriting, whom we barely knew; obituaries, eulogies of long deceased aunts, even a handwritten letter where my uncle tells the story of how he came home from a preaching weekend and found his wife had died of a heart attack; long forgotten photos, cards, drawings.

Among these was a letter my father wrote in 2002 on the occasion of my birthday.
What a timely discovery, tomorrow is my birthday!

My wonderful daughter,
   About five years ago I decided to write a note to each of my five children with the special purpose of expressing my love and deep feelings for them. Up to now I have only written two (to Aldo and to Alan) I think it very appropriate that I write the next one to you, Rita, on the occasion of your 58th. 
I find it very difficult to express my feelings face to face, personally, so I shall now do it with words carefully chosen and written. I want to pinpoint some of the things that have been etched on my mind over the years.
   Of course, I'll begin with your birth. Mother was awaiting your birth when we were living in an apartment over a stream in Huntington, IN, since I was studying in Huntington College and pastoring a new little church there. The birth pangs came that day in May of '44 and we set out with fear for the hospital at the edge of Winona since Dr. Baum would be there for the delivery--would we make it, what if??? Well, the Lord takes care of ignorant beginners like us! I remember Mother's great joy when the news came--"It's a girl". For some reason she couldn't imagine her first being a boy. When the ambulance delivered this precious package to our door, they wanted me to carry you up the stairs but I didn't have the courage--guess I was afraid of breaking or dropping you. 
   One Sunday when Mother and I were on our way to a worship service with you, Dr. McClain looked at you and said how beautiful you were and couldn't imagine how you could be our child.
  Although Mother wasn't carrying a full load at the seminary, she kept right on and Grandma Hoyt served as the baby-sitter. How thankful we were!
   Soon after seminary we were on our way to Argentina and we handed baby Rita over the side of the ship to missionary Dr. Sickel who came to meet us at the dock in Buenos Aires, so Rita was the first of the family to touch Argentina soil!...

There were more memories, but I will stop there.
At age 81 Daddy was already preparing to leave us. His very slow decline lasted ten years.
To the end I sensed his love and pride.

First Family Photo


Skoots1moM said...

look how happy you are in that picture...this is a very precious letter and I think it was NOT a coincidence you found it for your birthday! God preveniently goes before us and has blessings unknown ... I imagine Him at times almost giddy as He waits for our thanking Him for His providence. Can't wait to hear more :)

Skoots1moM said...

oh, I meant to also tell you...My daddy's name was Hoyt Junior after my grandfather..Hoyt I kinda feel connected to ya'll!

The Bug said...

What a gift! I love that he wrote a letter to you. I wish my mother had done something similar - there are so many questions I never thought to ask her.

Happy belated birthday!