A small flame

A small flame

Down Memory Lane - Beginning My Journey


This post is the first in a series of 12 posts scheduled by Mommy's Piggy Tales, which encourages women to record stories from their childhood for future generations to enjoy.

This week, let me tell you a bit about my birth and how I got my name.

In 1971, just a year out of college, my Mom traveled half-way around the world to become a missionary in Papua New Guinea. A little over a year later, she began to correspond with a man who was attending one of her supporting churches in the States. They were engaged 6 months later and married a year after that. . . . and that's really how my story begins.

After their marriage, my parents returned to live in the same small town in the mountains of Papua New Guinea where my Mom had been living. From there they traveled regularly to minister in outlying villages.

a hut my parents often stayed in

After a couple of years, my parents were thrilled to discover that they were expecting their first child. As the pregnancy progressed, the village women took turns predicting whether the baby was a boy or a girl based on Mom's morning sickness and how she was carrying. One woman even told my Mom (very confidently) that she was carrying a boy because her own son was staring and staring at the 'baby bump'. "He's looking at his friend in there", she said (translation provided). "It's a boy for sure!" Mom was pretty sure that his staring had more to do with the fact that the poor little guy was severely cross-eyed and desperately trying to focus enough to see anything at all clearly.

Near the end of the pregnancy, my parents had to return to the U.S. for some mission-related business. They settled in an apartment in Wisconsin, and I arrived ten weeks later. I was born at 4:39 am on April 7, 1977 after over 24 hours of 'natural' labor and with the help of a pair of forceps.

My parents love to tell the story of how I was born crying loudly . . . and how I kept on crying while my Dad carried me around the room singing Jesus Loves Me over my wailing.

Dad, Mom and me -
the first of many prayer card pictures

My Mom tells me that during the first few weeks of their marriage, she and my Dad chose the names for their {then hypothetical} first daughter and first son. They each liked the names 'Rachel' and 'Timothy', and it was settled.

So, when I was born a few years later, my parents' first child
and their first daughter, my name was ready and waiting.

10 months old

I've always liked my middle name, 'Edythe'. I love its unusual spelling and the significance of where the name comes from.

When I was born, my parents began a trend they would continue for each of their children: they named me after someone who had been influential in their lives. I share my middle name with a sweet woman who I have always called Grandma Gould.

Grandpa & Grandma Gould in 1975

Grandma Gould served as the dean of women at the small college that my Mom graduated from. Grandma did not have any children of her own, but her work at the college provided her with an opportunity to pour her life into many young women several of whom, including my mom, became like daughters to Mrs. Gould. As these 'daughters' married and began to have children, we became her grandchildren. In the end, Grandpa & Grandma Gould were blessed with a larger family than they had
probably ever imagined having.

Grandma Gould and me in 1987

I loved sharing my name with Grandma Gould, and I cherish the letters she wrote me over the years and the occasional visits I had with her. When I was in college, she was diagnosed with cancer. My mom & I visited her a few months before she moved to Heaven. I have precious memories of sitting on her bed, visiting with her, gently rubbing her frail shoulders to relieve some of her discomfort, and singing some of her favorite songs for her with my Mom.

The last gift she gave me was a little golden apple broach - something a dear friend had given to her years before. She talked to me about the importance of words and encouraged me to always let my words be as beautiful as apples of gold in pictures of silver.

I am so blessed to share my name with such a Godly lady.


Jennnifer said...

The baby picture of you alone makes me think of Thomas! I loved reading this.

Zempel Family said...

I'm with Jennifer. Your baby pics look like all your boys!

scrapbookeasy said...

What a great story, Rachel. I really enjoyed reading it. Imagine how close you were to being born in another country!

Jenny Rebecca said...

Beautiful story. Love all the ladies guessing in Papa New Guinea!

Janna said...

Wow! I am so excited for your family to have these details down and with some great pictures. It's always funny to see how different cultures predict what the baby will be.

Is she the Gould that Gould dorm was named after?

Wonderful job!!!

Rachel said...

Thanks, ladies! I had so much fun writing this post.

Janna - Gould dorm is named after Grandma Gould.

Laura T said...

I loved reading about Grandma Gould! I can't wait to read more!

group 2

Gretchen said...

Wow, Rachel! What a great story! I didn't know anything about Mrs. Gould (though I lived in the dorm named after her). :)

I'm excited to read your memories!

Jessica said...

So you were born into a missionary family! There's my answer!