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Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Valentine

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My Valentine
Tribute To Mom

This page is dedicated to all who preceded us and to those who will follow and to mom, Grace Lorraine Worthing, who gave a mother's love and encouragement as no one else could.
The more I learned about my mother, Gracie and her world, the more I admire her. I grew up not knowing much about my mother's childhood as much as I should have. Now after her death, I have put together stories she told us as we were growing up and this has helped me to understand and appreciate her more. I came to have a high regard for her fortitude, strengths in adversity, self awareness and genuine respect and love for other people. I marvel at her will to survive and thrive in the face of extreme circumstances. This seems to be built into her genes. She follows a long line of strong women.
Her grandmother Sarah Ingram Worthing, a Welsh immigrant, traveled by covered wagon to California and back to Ohio along with her husband, Richard with two children during the Gold Rush of 1849. Grandmother Julia set up three homesteads: Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin while raising four children.
Nancy Ames, her mother grew up on a homestead in freezing winters of Lake Koshkonong, Wisconsin, later living in Milton Junction, Wisconsin near Janesville. Nancy was one of 10 children who was orphaned in the winter 1893 at the age of 10 years old. No one should have to have endured this at age 10 ... starving, freezing cold, living on a lake in a one room cabin with no heat and very little clothing and very little food Dad, Ira Daniel Ames fished for a living and really tried to keep his family warm and fed but they just couldn't seem to make it. They must have been so poor. The winter of 1893 was particularly cold. On the morning of March 5, 1893 a blizzard hit them hard. Nancy’s mother, Cornelia Palon Ames and her 2 month old infant actually froze to death and died from probable starvation heart broken over the death of his wife and child. He never really revovered. In 2 years Ira, too was dead. He died mainly of a broken heart on September 21, 1895. Nancy ended up in an orphanage in Sparta, Wisconsin. After Nancy got older, she met and married Ludwig Hansen. This marriage produced a child, Blanche. This was an unhappy marriage ending in divorce. After the divorce, Nancy met and married a young man, Charles Worthing,  from Iowa and they eventually settled in Truro, Iowa where Gracie was born.
Gracie entered the world at a mere 1.5 pounds. Grace was a fighter and was placed in a shoe box for a bed wrapped in cotton so the oral history goes. Her mother cuddled her, nursed her and held her lovingly praying the whole time to God to save her baby girl. God answered her prayers and Gracie started thriving and gaining weight. She made it! Gracie grew up very small and petite a happy life in Truro, Madison County, Iowa during the depression with her sister Blanche. Life was a struggle for food and shelter.
In the years 1928-1932 Gracie experienced two great losses, the loss at age 12 of her beloved mother from a brain tumor and at 16 the loss of her dad from pancreatic cancer. Both crisis occurred to a young woman at the same time her half sister Blanche whom she'd grown up with was sent to Illinois to live with a relative. I presume this makes one a stronger person. I cannot imagine losing a mother at age 12 nor then losing your father and then your sister. How tragic.
Mom, Grace remembers growing up in Truro during the depression era. America battled the Great Depression and the whole world seemed to be changing. The economy struggled: the average weekly wage for a family being only $2.39. Wall Street floundered as banks closed across the country. People lost their homes, their farms and bankruptcy was prevalent. For families, every cent counted, and none could be spared on frivolous luxury of any kind. Grace would have been 12 years old in 1929 and 15 at the heart of the depression in 1932. Grace's mom had died in 1928 and Blanche was now living in Illinois with Ludwig. Gracie was living with her dad, Charles Worthing who was ill during the Christmas season in 1932. Times were tough. They lived in town and Charley worked at the school as a custodian. Most of their other relatives lived on farms so in this way they were real fortunate as Gracie remembered trading eggs for pork chops and meat and milk. They never remembered going hungry. Iwoa winters were cold.
Grace survived and then went on to live with her half brother in Birds Run, Ohio until she was 18 when she joined her sister in Illinois.
In spite of all, mom survived to marry Robert, the love of her life, raise two girls, provide college educations for them, serve her community by volunteering at the American Legion, the PTA, and voter’s registration and giving of her time to care for sick and dying family members as needed.
I remember my mom and how loving she was and thoughtful. She loved her mother in law and father in law and always said they were like parents to her and you could “never find better people”. Aunt Lola, my dad’s sister was like a sister to my mom. She loved her dearly. Mom sat with grandpa when he was dying and stayed with Aunt Lola after Lola lost her husband Theron. Mom comforted and stayed with her cousin, Zola in Long Beach for a month when Zola lost her husband. She was there for her daughters when, Nancy’s husband died, for Kevin her grandchild in the loss of his dad and for Mary and her two boys when things did not work out. Mom always had an open door. Mom was one of the most CARING Individuals one would ever meet.
We were truly blessed to know this special woman and privileged to have
her as a loving mother, aunt, grandmother, and great grandmother.


  1. What a life your mom lived, and her parents, too! You come from strong stock. Your photographs are beautiful. I especially like the ones of your mom and your grandmother.
    Nancy from My Ancestors and Me at

  2. Nancy, this is an awesome tribute to your mom. She certainly had more than her share of hard times.