|My Maternal Grandparents|
Lula Mae Sisco Howell & James Elbert (Elb) Howell
50th Anniversary Picture, 1984
On February 15, 1934, Lula Sisco left her parent's home with her beau, Elb Howell. Telling her parents Elb was going to take her for a haircut, she sneaked away and the couple were married on that date in the Courthouse in Ripley, Tippah County, MS. Seventy-nine years have passed since then. Though both have passed, their love and commitment remained true until the day they left the earth.
They had nine children: Cecil Edward, Bobby Gene, Thelma Mae, John Thomas, Donald Ray, Shirley Ann, Glenda Jo, Kenneth Wayne and Sandra Kaye. At the time of their 50th anniversary they had 26 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Those numbers have increased substantially since that time, now having added great, great-grandchildren to the family.
Grandma could neither read nor write. She stayed at home with her children and tended house and helped Grandpa with the farm work. Grandpa raised farm animals, grew crops and worked a full time job at the local hide tannery. Momma spoke of having gone days without seeing Grandpa removed his shoes. He would work his factory job at night, come home and work on the farm and sit in a chair to take a nap before having to go back to the factory. With eleven mouths to feed and bodies to clothe, there was little time for anything but work.
Over the years their hearts were broken many times by loss through death. Grandchildren were stillborn or lived only hours. A daughter, Shirley, had suffered through the devastation of divorce. Their oldest child, Cecil, died in January, 1993 from heart failure. He had been on the waiting list for a transplant for about one year when he died. Their 5th child, Donald, had also died of heart failure in March, 1996. A granddaughter's (Judy, daughter of Donald) life had been forever altered by the effects of a car accident that left her in a coma for many weeks and which caused the death of her unborn daughter.
Grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and they had to be admitted to a nursing home. Grandpa said goodbye to Grandma in June, 1999. Grandpa lived to be 93 and died of natural causes in a hospital room next door to the room where his 4th child (John Thomas) was dying of liver failure. Uncle John died approximately one hour prior to Grandpa in November, 2005.
There were also moments of triumph over the years. After raising 7 of their children into adulthood and the other two quickly growing in that direction, they were finally able to purchase their own home somewhere around 1969-1970. They had survived a burn out in their earlier years together and had lost every material possession they had. Thankfully, lives were not lost, nor was there major injuries.
They lived to see retirement together and traveled some within the country. Family gatherings were filled with laughter and joy as everyone came home. Grandpa would always make his famous vegetable soup for those occasions. His greatest joy in life was his family; that, and a good Rook game or some checkers from time to time! He loved life, my Grandma and all of his family.
Grandma and Grandpa now rest with the Lord. I can only imagine the joy and beauty of being in heaven together after loving each other for so many years hear below.
I Can Only Imagine
4 “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied.
“They record that from the beginning
‘God made them male and female.’”
5 And he said, “‘This explains why a man
leaves his father and mother
and is joined to his wife,
and the two are united into one.’
6 Since they are no longer two but one,
let no one split apart what God has joined together.”
Matthew 19: 4-6 (NLT)