Willis Deloria and Pauline Bonnett Deloria were my grandparents. They were married in 1918 when Pauline was just over the age of 15, and Willis was 35. It was the first and the last marriage for each of them. Willis died in 1954 when I was three years old. Pauline was to live for 21 more years. Their marriage like most was a celebration of good times and the enduring of bad times. They had five children starting in the 1920s and ending in the 1930s. Then came the Great Depression.
From all accounts, they had what we would call a good marriage in which great love was in evidence. They never had much money, and I am sure the Depression was a major factor. Willis found work in a foundry, bakery, and was a general laborer. Sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s he had to retire due to health reasons. However, newspapers stories show a family that was active and doing well. I have read about parties attended and given and winning a contest for the best doll at the local playground and family outings.
This picture shows me with my Mother at two weeks of age. She was the second child of my grandparent’s five children. Mom also married an older man. My Dad was 16 years older than my mother. Dad died in 1966, and my mother lived to 2007. She missed him everyday
The picture above shows my wife with our first born, Charles Henry Moore lll, on his first day at home. We will have two more children. Charles was to be held by his grandmother Pauline the day before she was to suffer a fatal stroke.
Here is Charles with our daughter in law and his wife Melissa celebrating just hours after the birth of their son Charles the Fourth. I now have four grandchildren. Charles and Melissa have two sons, and my daughter Pamela has two daughters.
When I was younger, I went many times to visit my grandfather’s grave with my grandmother. I would often wonder about the epitaph “Great Loves Live On”. I can recall thinking that it would die when my grandmother died. I only equated the epitaph with my grandmother’s long widowhood. It would be many years before I took in it’s simple yet profound message. We all are a result of love. We owe our existence and so much more to our ancestors. The intimate feelings that formed their unions vibrate through the years. Even if we do not know who they are. Some of the truth of that epitaph is in evidence in the pictures above.