I’m a couple of days late for this post. I wanted to dedicate Wednesday to my Mamaw-K because she turned an amazing 80 years of age this past Wednesday. Well better late than never….
There once was a beautiful young lady who grew up in a town called Durham, AR. She was number 7 out of a total of 10 children. She was full of fire, just like any other Irish woman, smart and beautiful. She played basketball, played in creeks and broke young mens’ hearts. She grew up in the same town as my papaw, however they didn’t start “courting” until she agreed to “write” him after he was drafted into the war (War II). Interesting fact: we found out from Mamaw-K earlier this week, she was actually writing another guy at the same time and one of the reasons she married papaw was because he beat the other guy home! Can you believe that! Too funny! Yes, she loved papaw, but I told you she was a beautiful woman and quite the catch! We all laughed pretty hard when she told us and my mom and her sister both said in their very similar sounding voices, “Mother!” Too fun!
Anyways, Mamaw & papaw wrote each other for almost a year and saw each other only four times. I can only say what papaw wrote because he didn’t save Mamaw’s letters but we do know that he was very much in love with Alma whom he referred to as sweet little girl, sweetheart, baby, and my favorite, My dearest Dutchess. We don’t know where the Dutchess stemmed from but it was the most used for her. Our favorite part about the letters were learning things about Jake Kithens that even his daughters didn’t know and things Mamaw had forgiven.
It’s amazing what letters can do. They connected two people, which as the time was only while he was gone for the war. However decades and lifetimes later they are still connecting two people even though one is with our Lord. And BONUS, they originally were for only Mamaw and Papaw. Again a lifetime later they are connecting people who never met him (my husband and my cousins wife). Papaw’s words are touching Mamaw again. They are reminding her of his love for her even though he isn’t here to say them to her personally. They have renewed the fiery Irish woman he fell in love with and she has that “young woman in love” sparkle in her eyes all over again.
After the war was over (which papaw talks a little about in one of the letters) he came home and married Mamaw: again not just because they loved one another but because his best friend and one of her friends were getting married as well. So at the age of 16, Alma Joy married Raymond Jake at age 19. Again can you imagine ladies, being married at age 16. She wasn’t even out of High School yet. But what a life. They lived it all with buckets of memories, stories, adventures and blessings!
They were married 56 years when papaw past away. (3/4 of their life was together). The legacy of their marriage includes an amazing 56 committed years of marriage/two beautiful, talented daughters who are believers of Christ/found the the Grace of God together/4 grandchildren (all Christians), 2 great grandchildren with one on the way (my cousin not me…yet).
She has accomplished many of things such as almost 40 years being a professor and department head at the U of A/helped papaw manage all of his businesses/ dedicated to taking care of the babies in the nursery for decades at First Baptist Church/Volunteer at her church and Habitat for Humanity and so much more.
So here’s to you Alma Joy Kitchens! You have made a great deal out of your 89 years of life and inspire us all to continue to do something amazing with all that we have. To make the most out of all situations in life and no matter what happens in live to keep on keeping on. With all my love……