The beautiful couple, Ben and Dana Miller, who made all of this possible when they were willing to invest their free afternoon to chase down the answer to a secret they found hidden in their home.
BUT FIRST A LITTLE BACKGROUND THAT LED UP TO THE EVENT
Before the “reveal” of the time capsule, a little background to explain the “God Wink” timing. God Winks have happened before, and I wrote about it in my family legacy book. The Prologue to the book told of a major God Wink that involved not only me but others in the family.
But this one is a little different.
At my age of 72 I have taken the liberty to adopt a “senior” habit, and that is to sometimes “talk” to those I love though they have passed on. Even out loud. The thing is, I was worried about my “mind slipping” until I realized my very conservative and stable husband talks aloud all the time whether anyone is around or not, so for years I’ve “de-stressed” by sometimes telling whomever, I “need to hear me at the moment,” my problems or thoughts i.e. mother, sister etc..
Monday the 4th of January was a tough one and to top it off, I got a call from my eye surgeon’s office that there was a cancellation I could have instead of waiting a month and a half for my 2nd, final eye surgery. The catch was that it was the next day and I had to be at the hospital at 6:15; it was already 1 pm on Monday.
That night as I stayed awake for the last dose of medication I had to take, I “chatted with my sister Trula” and justified it with the knowledge that folks often do that before surgery. As a retired nurse, I had often seen that need to vent, play out with pre-surgical patients. Part of the conversation was oral, part was thought. But I told her I’d been thinking of the fact I wished I had some specific memories of our childhood in pictures.
I love to illustrate my posts with pictures, and would have loved to have pictures of Daddy’s old jeep; our baby sister and brother that passed away within hours of their birth; and one of Grandma McConnel as I had one of Grandpa McConnel. I also wanted to put one picture on her story about living with Uncle Delmar and Aunt Middy, and so on.
Fast forward to the weekend, and I was excited about word that my daughter Trula Dee Ann, will be here for her birthday a little early. She is born on January 20, and named for her Aunt, Trula Ann Godwin whose birthday is January 22. But my sister’s birthday is always a little melancholy for me, and this year, more so.
I checked my Facebook and there was a private message; not unusual, I often get them and this one had just popped on. It was from a “Ben Miller.”and Ben was wondering if I might be a contact for a lady named Trula Godwin? His wife (Dana I found out later) was working on a dresser they bought at the local DAV store and used for the last 12 years. When she tried to return a drawer to the dresser, it would not go in. Couldn’t budge it. They examined it and there seemed to be a hidden or special area hiding large amount of materials in it.
When Ben and Dana pulled it out, with effort, they found a great deal of variety:
- Pictures which included black and whites from the 1940’s; of 1) My daddy’s jeep 2) a picture of my brother (parents first born) who died almost after a day and a half. 3) a picture of my sister (parents second born) who died within hours. 4)baby pictures of my sister and I that actually had dates on them because some had said the same picture one time would be me, then they’d say Trula, and now I know. 5) A picture of Grandma McConnel 6) and other family pictures I did not have of certain relatives. (bonus) 6) There was a picture of the tire swing at Morris at Grandma Rhodas and a group of us were being supervised by my sweet Aunt Mary Marrs.
- A very large hardback edition from 1968, written by her favorite, Rod McKuen and actually includes 22 songs with sheet music written by him, and many, many, personal pictures that were taken by a well known English photographer. Trula especially loved his music and his poetry which she could recite at the top of a hat.
- #1 picture of my sister with Davenport’s own Michael Nunn. Iowa’s first champion boxer. Michael “Second to Nunn” won two world championships, the IBF Middleweight Championship and the WBA Middleweight Championship. As a police officer Trula had known the family and was a good friend from his early childhood up.
- #2was a picture of Trula’s youngest daughter Rhoda. Can you just say “Clone”?
- #3 Picture with my sister and Michael Nunn and Roger Craig. Roger Craig was also a Davenport boy who did well, in fact extraordinary. Superbowl, running and rushing records with the San Francisco49’ers after outstanding play for the University of Nebraska. Too many records and happenings to note in the blog.
- A 12×14 black and white of her friend Todd with his guitar and 2 friends. That is very special, reminding me that Todd did a benefit for Trula when she got breast cancer. They were great friends.
- There was a video cassette of her nephew’s U.S. Senate race, and she always took pride in people thinking he looked like he should be her son , and of course was a clone for our biological father, Lloyd J. Godwin.
- There was a 1996 calendar with notations and my birthday circled and her birthday circled. It was an Angel calendar featuring “The Christmas Box” story. If memory serves me correctly, that was given to her by me.
- There were her membership papers to Preserving the Wolves (one of her favorite charities and she was a fanatical wolf lover and as a child had a pet wolf our daddy got her.
- There were two very private, milestone letters that she kept, which I will not discuss except to say that Trula felt very strongly about the content and it changed her life. I will be sending them to the intended party she would want to have them.
- There was a full page and a quarter story in the Quad City Times with many colored pictures including her on her beat assisting an elderly woman, in uniform holding her granddaughter Bridgette Tanner, and the hilarious title above the quarter page section about her read: Trula uses sex crime to start career.
- Included was a news clipping that at the time was a classic piece of news as in the 1950’s women going into drafting was very unusual.
I am being 100% honest when I tell you her God Winks, as I have come to call them, have always been timed to happen in my time of need, or to pass on to another who is in need. They always bolster me up, each is different from the others, and they always involve other people.
Why do I call this one a “Time Capsule?” Because the very select things that were in there, have special meaning to her and to me. As children we buried several “time capsules” and even went back to Oklahoma and looked for them. We only found one.
So what are the chances that 13 years after her death, just after the anniversary of her death and just before her birthday, she would send one to her whiney baby sister? You must decide that for yourself. But I hope you weren’t disappointed.
AND KUDOS TO BEN MILLER AND DANA MILLER WHO WERE BUSY ENJOYING FAMILY LIFE ON SATURDAY BUT DROPPED EVERYTHING TO GET ON FACEBOOK TO TRY AND FIND THE FAMILY OF A STRANGER NAMED TRULA GODWIN.
In Ben’s words, “Facebook is getting rough and negative and so many of the guys I know are getting off. I figure we should put good things on and also use it to make people happy. We wanted someone to find some joy in having these things restored to them.
Well Ben, you and Dana made a number of people happy, and blessed. Believe me, we won’t forget and we will pay it forward. Thank you my friends, and it goes to make the point that there is good out there to share. So get to it.
Pictured again are Ben, Dana, and the girls. I believe we can see they are the type of people who have joy, and share it. Thanks again.