I'm so glad I found it! His words were meant for his sister, Effie. You can see his handwritten words in the lower right-hand corner. They say: "...to my dear sister, Effie. A true Roman - who knows how to fight life's battles and take trouble with a smile. Your loving brother, Jim." She was going through a rough time then, as she had a 9 year old son and her husband had abandoned her somewhere in California with her young son.
I never met my great aunt Effie... but this poem lets me see a little glimpse of what her and her brother's relationship must have been like.
And here are the words so you can better read them.... his poem is so relevant for today, even though written in 1914:
We cannot, of course, all be handsome,
And it’s hard for us all to be good –
We are sure now and then to be lonely,
And we don’t always do as we should.
To be patient is not always easy,
To be cheerful is much harder still –
But at least we can always be pleasant
If we make up our mind that we will.
And it pays every time to be kindly,
Although you feel worried and blue –
If you smile at the world and be cheerful,
The world will smile back at you.
So try to brace up and look pleasant,
No matter how low you are down –
Good humor is always contagious,
But you banish your friends when you frown.
~ James R. Gooding~
Written for his sister, Effie Gooding, Dec. 1914.
Isn't family history intriguing? I only met my great uncle, James, when I was a little girl. I vaguely remember him. My great aunt, Effie, lived in California until she died in 1918 of influenza at age 40. Her 12 year old son was then raised by my grandmother (my mom's mother) up in Portland, Oregon. I met that young son, as a grown-up, when I was a young girl in Portland, Oregon in the 50's.... he was in his 40's. I never knew until years later that he was actually my mom's cousin, raised by her own mother and that he was my 2nd cousin!
|Picture of James R. Gooding and his sister (my grandmother), Marion Hallam Gooding around 1951 or 1952 up by Mt. Hood, Oregon. I don't even have a picture of my great aunt Effie.... very sad.|
PLEASE talk to your parents and relatives about your family history! Once they are gone, you'll never know where your roots lie. You will never know what they experienced and what their lives were like. I'm thankful I talked to my aunt (my mother's sister) in depth, before she died, about their mother and her siblings, as I learned many facts that I never knew (including this one about my great aunt Effie and her son).
And parents, aunts and uncles, PLEASE talk to your children, nieces and nephews, about your own heritage and what you remember... or better yet, make a recording or write it down.
It is only in the last few years, after my mom and dad died in 2001, that I've learned and discovered the details of my ancestors. Some are still living but I've never even met them! I wish families could remain living close, in the same town, or even in the same state. But I guess even in the 1800's, families were split up, when their relatives took off for the excitement of the unknown and headed west.
What have YOU discovered about your family heritage that you never knew?
And by the way..... I'm in the process of typing my own "diary" and history for my own son.