My grandparents had three children. Their first child was a girl named Constance Eurelle. Their second child was a boy they named Joel Anderson. Their third was another girl, my mother Merle Mae. Joel died at age three, suffering from Colitis. My Aunt Connie and Uncle Utsey Beach, had two sons, Mylnor Utsey, born July 10, 1947 and Arthur Steve, born January 19, 1949.
Just over ten years later, on October 8, 1959, five months after my mother bore her sixth child, Joseph Anthony, and Stevie was nearly ten, the Beaches experienced the unlikely event of bringing forth a third child; a daughter they named Linda Gail.
This chapter is not about Linda, nor Stevie, but their oldest brother, Mylnor. He was born with a port wine stain birth mark that covered nearly three quarters of his chest. His heart and lungs were weak and he was not expected to survive the first hour, then the forth hour then the eighth, then the day, and so on, until he was finally discharged from the hospital, breathing on his own. In 1947, he was truly a "Miracle Baby"
As time went on, he learned to walk and talk like all healthy children. His only drawback was that he got where we were going a little slower than we did. But nothing kept him from following us (or leading us) anywhere he wanted to go.
Mylnor's Sunday School teacher was named Mrs. Malone, who coincidentally happened to be my First Grade teacher. The fact had little effect on my grades. Mrs. Malone dearly loved Mylnor and thought the world of him. She would visit him quite often at home. Mylnor called her Miss Sunshine because she taught his Sunday School class which bore reference to the name "Sunshine" for that age group.
One Sunday, in church, Aunt Connie was preparing to place a donation in the offering plate. She had handed Mylnor a nickel, while she planned to deposit a fifty cent piece. Mylnor leaned over and whispered,
"You put my nickel in and let me put yours in."
When Mylnorís dad was very young, still not in full
command of his vocabulary, he and his dad, my Uncle Utsey were observing a toad
frog leaping about. Uncle Utsey recalled his own youth and a faux pas he had
made, when on one occasion, upon observing a toad frog, he commented,
Jane, and or I spent an occasional night over at The Beaches, but Aunt Connie rarely let Tooney spend the night away from home. If she ever gave in to our pleas, we were overwhelmed.
As his teen age years approached, his spine began to twist, causing his upper torso to be distorted. Doctors fitted him with a brace but he hated wearing it. It hung on the wall of his bedroom, as much as it hung on Tooney. It was supposed to correct the distortion, but served only to chafe the wearer.
Tooney brought a poor report card home on one occasion. When Uncle Utsey scolded him for it, Tooney replied,
"What does it matter? I'm just going to grow up to be a dumb farmer, anyway!"
Well, he never got the chance to be a dumb farmer. I recall coming home from high school one day, finding a note on the kitchen table instructing Jane and me to drive over to Walterboro. Mylnor, had passed away during the night. He was in the hospital to undergo heart surgery, (long before the common transplants of today) and was unable to be treated. His heart was enlarged too greatly to risk working on it. They simply sewed his chest cavity back up and prepared to send him home to live out his life, once he had recuperated enough.
When Uncle Utsey and Aunt Connie came home, they sat and talked for what seemed like hours, telling the family about Mylnor's last few moments. Uncle Utsey was so emotional, he perspired all the way through his suit coat.
I still recall my Grandfather sitting at the funeral, weeping bitterly over the loss of his grandson. I was a pall bearer at the funeral.
At first, I could not comprehend Grandmoma's wail,
Oh God, forgive us for being so selfish." She said it over and over again, crying, sobbing, weeping the entire time. It was only later that Momma explained that she meant 'for not wanting Tooney to depart this life before so many of his adult relatives'.
We miss you, Mylnor. But we thank you for the memories you gave us. God bless you, and put in a good word for us from time to time.
(End of Chapter 4)