Today I'm pleased to present Katherine Hinchee Purdy.
Tell us about your grandmother Isabel and how you learned about her growing up.
That’s a very good question, Mary! Mom and I lived with my grandparents until I was seven years old so I had a lot of opportunities to listen and learn from my grandmother, Isabel. I vividly remember sitting under the table, holding a photograph of my great grandmother, “Lizzie” and listening to Granny tell wonderful stories about her gentle, kind mother. I could see her mother baking bread, braiding young Isabel’s hair, sewing for her large family, singing lullabies to her babies as she rocked them to sleep. I could see her playing her “squeezebox” and singing as the younger children danced around the room to the music and the older boys joining in with the guitar and the banjo.
I wanted to join young Isabel and her sisters as they washed their hair in the rain with “Mama’s” homemade egg shampoo. Isabel’s two older daughters shared the memory of carrying on the tradition. When I asked to wash my hair in the rain, I was told that the air was too polluted. What a disappointment!
The thing I remember most about my grandmother is the sadness in her voice as she talked about her twin brothers. She remembered Papa giving the ten-month-old twins to a childless couple. She heard papa tell the wife, “If you want them, you may have them.” In retrospect, she was remembering her thoughts and feelings as a ten-year-old. She had taken care of the babies as well as her other younger siblings for eight months after her mother went to be with the Lord.
Because of this, she had a servants heart; especially when she was around children. She loved nothing better than cuddling small children. Memories of her rocking me to sleep are still fresh in my memory. She raised five children and two grandchildren. She willing sacrificed her own ambitions to care for them. She worked as a Certified Nurse’s Assistant for many years and loved caring for her patients.
What was it about her life that inspired you to write The Vision of a Mothers heart?
Someone once told me that there are not enough events in a person’s life to fill a book. I disagree. The main events in the story actually happened as Granny and several family members described.The tragic loss in her early life which thrust her into the role of caregiver always fascinated me. How could a child fill her mother’s shoes and cook, clean and take care of infant twins, a two year, a four year old and two younger sisters? It took courage and the seeds of faith that her mother had planted early in her life gave her the strength to carry on. Of course, Isabel’s two older brothers and two younger sisters also helped as “Papa” worked to put food on the table and clothes on their backs. Relatives had tried to help but they had their own families to care for. Ultimately, the kindness of relatives and friends opened their hearts and home to the children when Papa was forced to find homes the children.
- The sweet, kind, young, mother who loved the Lord, her husband and children; teaching them to love the Lord and each other.
- Papa who adored his wife, was famous for his “sayings” and “starched white shirts”, loved to get a bargain although he wasn’t always careful with the family finances and yet loved to joke and laugh.
- Constant threat by the social services to place the children in an orphanage
- Growing up too fast while trying to fill her mother’s shoes as caregiver for her siblings.
- Injury while trying to protect her baby brother
- Having to stay home from school to take care of the family, even though she knew it was Mama’s wish for her to finish the eighth grade. (An eighth grade education was considered “educated” in rural areas in the 1920’s.
- Seeing Papa “give her siblings away”
- Having to say goodbye left a root of bitterness which grew with time.
- And so much more!
What do feel you learned about her as you did research for your book?
I learned that there are as many perspectives as there are people involved. My grandmother saw (and felt) events through the heart of a ten-year-old child. Some of her siblings had different memories and theories of what had happened. Papa had opened up to his daughter-in-law years later and told her his story but he didn’t share with his children because he thought they wouldn’t believe him. This gave me a completely different picture of who Papa really was. When I put myself in his shoes, the story became more dimensional.
I also discovered some practical lessons when researching one’s family tree. I wrote an article on one of my blogs about this in the Archives. http://katherinepurdy.authorweblog.com/ In Search of your Family History Posted by Katherine on Friday, February 10, 2012
Are there any family traits that Isabel passed down to you?
If you could see me, you would notice a big smile. The first thing that came to mind when you asked this question was “Yes, the love of Kentucky Fried Chicken!” This actually became a family joke. Everyone knew that if they asked me, “what do you want to eat?” the answer was always the same. One of her great granddaughters has also inherited her taste for fried chicken. I think she passed down to me the love for children; especially the passion for rocking babies! Granny (Isabel) was always happiest when she was “doing for others.” I hope she passed that along too. As a child, I always wanted to work in a hospital – just like her. She had common sense which always came in handy in an emergency. She always seemed to know just what to do. Many of her children and grandchildren can sing and play one or more musical instruments. I believe this was Grandma Lizzie’s (Isabel’s mother) legacy.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave for your own children?
My husband, John and I have not been blessed with children but our Heavenly Father has given us many opportunities to share Christ with children. Whether it’s former students, nieces, nephews or babies I have nurtured through the years, it is my hope that the legacy I leave behind for them to receive Christ as their Savior and to daily walk with Him. God’s Word tells us that His Word will never return void and I believe this. Even if small children who were in my care don’t remember me, the Lord will remember them. That I constantly prayed for the, taught them God’s Word through Bible lessons, Bible verses and Christ honoring songs to “hide His Word in their hearts.” May God’s grace and His love abound in their lives.
What do you want people to take away from your book?
The love of God and His faithfulness. Although trials came and sorrow shook them to their roots but they had learned through “Mama” that they could trust Him no matter the circumstance. Even before writing the first chapter, God impressed upon my heart to clearly present the Gospel of The Lord Jesus Christ. If someone receives Christ as their Savior while reading The Vision of a Mother’s Heart, my work is successful.
I would also like my readers to be able to step back into time and see what life was like for their grandparents and even their great grandparents. To understand that they were children too, with joy, laughter, sorrow and tears – just like us. When I put myself into Papa’s shoes, I understood for the first time how difficult it would have been for a 55 year old man to run a farm while taking care of nine children – including two month old twins! When we can put ourselves into someone’s shoes, it is easier to see them as Christ sees them and to love them unconditionally.
Tell us about your faith.
When I was a small child, my great Aunt Sylvia took me to Church with her each Sunday but the only thing I remember is falling asleep with my head on her lap, watching her tapping her toes to her daughter’s quartet as they sang, I’ll Meet You In The Morning.
We moved away when I was seven but returned to the area four years later. I walked to services then and one week, the little Church had a revival. I convinced Mom and Dad Hinchee to come to one of the services. My stepdad walked the aisle that night – to invite the evangelist to come home with us. He did. Dad Hinchee was saved that night but it took me longer. One week longer.
The Word of God says:
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
“But I’m good – everyone says so!” I argued silently with the Lord.
“There is none that is good; no, not one!” (Romans 3:12)
“The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ
For one week, I couldn’t eat or sleep. Finally, one night in October, I could almost see Jesus dying on the cross – for me. I bowed on my knees by my bed around 1a.m. and received Christ as my Savior. He changed my life completely.
“Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
He changed my life completely. He gave me boldness to share the Word of God where I was once so shy that I would hide if someone spoke to me. In Christ, however, He showed me that people need the Lord and since I know Him, I could share what He has done for me.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV)
Through the years, He has allowed this unworthy child of God to share His wonderful message. He is always there, always faithful, always guiding through His Word. He never ceases to amaze me. Even when I am weak in body – He is strong and I praise Him!
“But we will give ourselves continually to pray, and to the ministry of the Word.”
Which authors do you enjoy reading and what are some of your favorite books?
I am an old fashioned gal and like reading old fashioned books that glorify the Lord. I love reading missionary biographies, Christ honoring fiction, history books and allegories such as Pilgrim’s Progress. I love reading anything by Jeanette Oke, Grace Livingston Hill and Lucy Maud Montgomery. I still enjoy reading the Anne of Green Gables series of books. As you can see, I enjoy going back into time when life was simpler and God’s Word was evident in people’s lives.
Are you writing another book? What is it about? When will it be available?
Yes! I am working on the sequel to The Vision of a Mother’s Heart. Hope Beyond The Sunset picks up where we left off in the first book of Isabel’s Story. I hope my readers will enjoy reading about Isabel and her adventures as she tries to keep track of her siblings while trying to be helpful where ever the Lord sends her. Be sure to read it with a box of Kleenex. I am excited about the ending. Lord willing, I should have it finished by the end of June.
A third book has been outlined so I hope my readers will want to continue reading about Isabel and her family.
I am also working on a series of children’s books. My first Missy Cat book will hopefully be published in a few weeks.
Do you have a website or blog?
Yes, I have two blogs. You are welcome to visit anytime!
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