Special Intention

During my early childhood in New Haven, our 1118family was in a condition of poverty. Daddy worked in a blacksmith shop down at the corner with his half brother. By then, there were five or six of us kids living in a two bedroom house.

It seemed impossible that Daddy who had completed only five years of schooling would be able to advance beyond sweating in the blacksmith shop of a tiny rural town in Kentucky during a period when horse drawn wagons were fast become a thing of the past. The blacksmith shop did some work on fashioning truck beds and there were some repair jobs under the table done on moonshine stills at night. But on the whole, a future in a blacksmith shop was pretty bleak. It saddens me to ponder how little we appreciated the great hardship our parents endured in supporting us in the years following the war. We didn’t have a family car until my teens. But I never remember being hungry and although I wore undershorts made from chicken feed bags, I did not feel deprived.

Mama had us pray nightly for a “special intention” which she did not reveal to us. We knelt not beside the beds but on the beds every night and prayed for this matter. As a young 6 or 7 year old, I recall this event as one that lasted for some time before we were told one evening by Mama that our prayers had been answered. Daddy had secured a job with the U.S. government in Louisville. He had been applying for civil service jobs but veterans recently returned from the service in World War II were being given priority for government jobs over those who had not served. Mama had not wanted us to worry about our future livelihood and felt that at our tender age, we wouldn’t understand the matter so we were asked to pray for the “special intention.”

The job in the U.S. Customs office in Louisville meant a steady income for a family that was to total ten eventually not even counting one twin sister who died in infancy. After a few years of daily commuting to Louisville on the train, Daddy and Mama began planning for a move of the family to Louisville. It was during my senior year before we finally sold our house and made the transition from New Haven to the big city. Our parents left many friends in New Haven to begin a new life in Louisville where they knew we would have more opportunities for education and careers than in the small town.