The following verses were written by the late Mrs. Alveretta L. Wood, on the occasion of her mother’s eighty-third birthday.
This aged mother, Mrs. S. Pettitt, about whom the verses were written, lived to be 102. On December 17, 1918, she looked for the last time upon the face of her daughter who had penned these lines, and keenly felt her loss but Grandma Pettitt knew that the separation would be brief and then there would be another loved-one waiting to welcome her home when “her earthly days are o’er.”
I am eighty-three today, ah me–
How fast the years glide by.
My birthday comes and ere I think
One more is drawing nigh.
In looking back the time seems short,
Yet crowded in those years
Are many griefs and many joys
Glad smiles and bitter tears.
I mark with joy the happy hours
In days gone by I’ve past
With husband, children at my side–
Too great a joy to last.
For in the church yard one May day
My husband’s form was laid
And words can never, never tell
How dark my life was made.
But for my precious children three
I, too, would fain have died
But thoughts of them gave me fresh hope
To keep them near my side
My grief was great yet hard I tried
To Say, “Thy will be done.”
For faith seemed shaken at the first
But grace has led me on.
Dark were the days, I journeyed on
Alone my grief to bear
Once more death came and took my babe
And left me weeping there.
The years rolled on and passed, and I
Once more became a wife.
Four children more were given me
And cheered me on through life.
And still the years rolled on and they
Are men and women grown
Yet still to me are just as dear
Since childhood days have flown.
For each has tried to be to me
True as the stars above
And in return I give them all
A mother’s tender love.
I have my children, but alas
A chair is empty there
My dear companion fell asleep
The angels’ home to share.
Can it be true he will not come
And call my name once more?
No, but ere long I’ll go to him
When earthly days are o’er.
Yes, eighty-three years old today
How many more for me
Will number on this side the grave
This side eternity?
Yet few or many though they be
I fear not death or harm
For God is ever at my side
With his protecting arm.
–Mrs. Alveretta Wood (1903)
At the top of the document it is stated that 1903 was “sixteen years ago.” I don’t know if this typewritten version was from 1919 or if Izora retyped this document in 1969 with everything else.