Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Childhood Memories: Introduction

written in 1993 by Mary KERR Krentz

Bits and pieces of my life. This is what I am supposed to write for our genealogy book. But where to begin. So many special times to record... happy times, sad times, learning times, and times I neglected to learn. It would take another lifetime to recall it all. I am amazed at all there is to write as little things jog my memory and great snatches of time come tumbling out.

I have always been a very private person, holding inside my deepest feelings lest they be misunderstood--or worse, ridiculed. There are so many moments, so many thoughts that I have never shared. I am not sure that I can share them now.

How can one tell the story of a lifetime if only the good things are told. Yet, how can one tell the bad things--the sad times--the unworthy thoughts--the negatives that round out a life and make it real.

I remember a "Peanuts" cartoon where Charlie Brown was having a really bad day, and Linus said to him, "Life is never all one way, Charlie Brown. You win some, you lose some." Charlie brightened up considerably and said, "Really? Gee, that would be neat."

So perhaps it is mostly the good things that I am meant to record. The happy times, the humorous times, the special times that, for me, cancel out the bad and the sad, so that when I have finished writing I can read my story and say to myself, "You had a good life."

And I did.

Mary Roslyn Kerr, July 1923
9 months old, 21 pounds

I don't remember the day I was born. I'm told it was October 22, 1922, and Mama was pleased that I resembled my father.

Only one small problem--I became ill. Mama was scared. She'd already lost one baby, and that was one too many in her mind. So she prayed really hard that I would live, promising to name me Mary if I did. That was no small promise because they had already decided to name me Roslyn--first three letters of my father's name, and the last three letters of her name. I lived and was christened Mary Roslyn Kerr. Funny how Mama always thought when you asked God for something you had to promise him something in return. I don't believe God needs gifts in exchange for answering prayers. I believe He says Yes or No according to what's best for each of us. I believe sometimes our prayers are granted because we have something to learn from that situation, and sometimes He says No because there are better things ahead for us.

As you can tell, I believe in God. He is a very real part of my life and He has always been there for me through good times and bad, someone I could count on when things got rough. In a lifetime there are bound to be rough moments, but I have also come to realize that it is the heavy times, the hard decisions, the mistakes and the correction of those mistakes that help us grow.


Regular readers of Before My Time may recall reading some of my mother's memories in past posts. Today, in celebration of what would have been her 86th birthday, I bring you the beginning of her story as she wrote it. To read other posts in this series, click on the "lifestories by mary kerr" label at the end of this post.


Msteri said...

Today would have been my mother's 72 birthday.Happy Birthday to our mom's!


T.K. said...

Hi, Msteri, thanks for stopping by!

Apple said...

The second and third paragraphs really sum up why I often have trouble writing.

It's wonderful you have these memories, in her own words. I don't believe my mother will ever record her memories and thoughts herself.

T.K. said...

Same here, Apple. It's sad, really, because all her life she wanted to write, she enjoyed writing, but what would have been her best work was stuck behind that wall. I remember one day she called to read me a poem she'd been working on. She'd surmounted the wall, and it was by far the best poem she'd ever written. I wish I had a copy of that one!

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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