Friday, May 22, 2015

Granny's Pantry # 27: Finding Carolyn Jane

Have you ever felt your life was insignificant and unimportant-- as if few people would even notice if you were to disappear?  Whether realistic or not, most of us have felt that way at some time. No doubt some folks live there most of the time.    

I never met Carolyn Jane, but I knew her. Her story was part of the High Rock story. Her parents were storekeepers in the tiny location where they lived; I remember them from long ago. Carolyn Jane was born in July of 1928, the second oldest child of at least 2 brothers and 2 sisters, one of whom still lives near where they grew up in High Rock. 

Carolyn Jane never married; she never had children. She missed out on most of the things we think are important sources of joy in our early adult lives. I heard about her from Granny Cole, who lived in the same community and was a neighbor. Granny told me how sad she felt on visiting Carolyn Jane in her bed in a little room of the store where her family lived and worked. Carolyn Jane had a terminal illness, and just after the New Year in 1949, she died.  Carolyn Jane only lived to be 20 years old.  

Did this one short life of 20 years matter? There were more than 26,200 live births in North Carolina in 1928. Carolyn Jane’s was one of them. There were over 31, 000 recorded deaths in our state in 1949. Hers, in January, was one of the first.  It is highly unlikely that you would ever know about her, were it not for this brief writing. No doubt her family mourned, and any who are left, may mourn still. Apart from that, and a few friends, old now themselves, who would care?     

God did.

Carolyn Jane’s short life was no mistake and not without His purpose. All of her days were ordained for her before one of them came to be:

Psalm 139:13-16

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

The same is true for you and for me.

When I met Archie Smith a few weeks ago [see Finding Archie Smith, May 3 blog post], he told me he had worked on a church in High Rock some years back. I knew the place, now deserted. Out of the blue, he told me, “Carolyn Jane Morgan was the first person to be buried there.”

I had found her.  

This was not Granny’s church he was talking about, and I’d never explored its cemetery, but I did that day. It’s on a dead end dirt road right at the foot of a mountain. The church yard is quiet, the stained glass windows beautiful, the small cemetery well kept.

Carolyn Jane’s grave was easy to locate on the first row of graves.   

The dates on the stone told me she was actually a little older than the teenager I had thought her to be. I wish I had a picture; surely there’s one in an old annual somewhere. I think I’ll try to find it.

Psalm 116:15 says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” I know that being buried in a churchyard doesn’t make you a saint, and I don’t know her spiritual heart, but I can hope that I will meet her in person someday in Heaven. 


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