IMAGINE BEING A YOUNG WOMAN, TRAVELING ALONE TO MARRY A MAN YOU’VE ONLY KNOWN THROUGH WRITING LETTERS, DURING WARTIME ACROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN WHILE ENEMY SUBMARINES ARE SINKING BOATS ALL AROUND YOU.
This is the story of Margaret Andrea Smith Houston Baxter. Let me share an email I received from a woman named Mary I met at Craft Lake City this past August. She was interested in having something made with one of my favorite coins from England. It is a farthing coin, with a little wren bird on the front.
“It would mean a great deal to me as my grandmother left the UK to come to Canada in 1940 as the German U-boats were sinking ships in the Atlantic. Her brothers were all at war, and one was already a prisoner. She was traveling alone in a ship and was at the time nearly deaf. She was coming to meet and marry my grandfather whom she had only ever written to, but felt quite sure he was ‘the one.’ He was, and they had a marvelous life and love. She is one who spread her wings and found her strength. I am so in love with that little coin and your beautiful jewelry.”
THIS STORY TOUCHED ME, AND I WAS MORE THAN EXCITED TO BE PART OF CREATING SOMETHING TO COMMEMORATE IT.
Through our email exchange, I learned a little more about this brave woman.
‘My Paternal Grandmother Margaret Andrea Smith Houston Baxter was a remarkable woman of faith courage, determination, and charity. I have such gratitude for her life and legacy, but mostly for all that she taught me and the unconditional love she freely gave. As a little girl, I remember going to visit the “widow ladies” in our town with her. We would carry a basket filled with delicious home baking and jams to share with the sweet women who often lived alone and needed and welcomed a visit. What I learned and observed from those experiences has greatly influenced the woman I have become.’
THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE US THAT THROUGH THEIR CHOICES, CHANGED THE COURSE OF HISTORY.
This woman’s story is an example of how our decisions affect not only our own lives but those of our children, and grandchildren and so on.
It’s got me thinking about my own legacy. Lately, so much in my life has me asking deeper questions of myself such as, “What do I really want?”, “Why am I doing this?”, “Will this be important in a year? or 5?” and, “Is this how I want to spend all of my time?”
I heard a podcast recently in which a man said this: There are resume virtues, and there are eulogy virtues.
Resume virtues are things that on paper, might impress others. But, the eulogy virtues are the characteristics that people will remember about you when you’re gone. The mark you leave on another person’s heart. My goal is to place more importance on those. Which, means spending more time and energy on them.
THIS RANDOM MEETING WITH A CUSTOMER AT A CRAFT SHOW HAS TOUCHED MY HEART AND CAUSED A SHIFT IN MY THINKING, AND I’M SO GRATEFUL FOR IT.
It is just the icing on the cake that I could do something for her as well.
From Mary’s email: Thank you for doing this for me. Your talents are blessing others in ways you may never know. I don’t think there are many coincidences in life. Certainly finding you in a market on a scorching day in August has helped me find meaningful ways to share love and treasured memories with my loved ones.
I DON’T THINK THERE ARE MANY COINCIDENCES EITHER.
My wish is that we all pay attention to those things and people that are placed in our paths that will guide us toward who we want to be and will help us spend our precious and few days on things that will make for meaningful lives and great eulogies.
This is the actual passport photo taken in May 1940 for Margaret’s journey to Canada.