Marbles

Fred Stacey with children (Left to Right) Bill, Wayne, Ruth and Edmund, 1928

Fred Stacey with children (Left to Right) Bill, Wayne, Ruth and Edmund, 1928

Playthings in early Woodruff were made at home from materials at hand. No one thought of complaining about being deprived or underprivileged. When a toy or plaything was purchased, it was cherished. Bill Stacey will never forget his first purchased toy; nor will he forget the lesson he learned from his toy in the manure pile. He’ll tell his own story:

A view of the Heber Cox barnyard behind the house.

A view of the Heber Cox barnyard behind the house.

“From the time I was very young my mother taught me a great deal about the Lord and the church, along with my responsibility in all of this. I can still remember the prayer she taught me when I was so young I needed to use a pretty much fixed prayer: ‘Dear Heavenly Father, please bless Dad and Mom and Edmund and Ruth and little Wayne.’ I did not understand the full significance of prayer until I was about six or seven years old. At that time I received a rather impressive indication of how important this can be.

“At that time money was tight. The Depression had not started but our family was young, and there seemed to be little money. I loved to play marbles, and I had a few; but my most precious marble, by far, was a special kind of a marble called a flint. It was so valuable to me I kept it in the finger of an old glove, cut off and filled with grease which was supposed to preserve the flint better. I admired it so much I frequently took it out of my pocket to look at it as I walked along.

“I was doing this one day as I walked through my grandfather’s barnyard, and it flipped out of my hand onto the ground which was covered with manure. I did not realize until then that the marble was exactly the same color as the manure. Try as I might, I could not find it. I took note of the spot and came back there almost every waking moment for the next few days to look for it, but to no avail. I was heartbroken to have lost my flint. Finally my mother noticed how distraught I was and said to me, ‘Bill, did you ask the Lord to help you find it?’

Christina Stacey

Christina Stacey

Bill Stacey, about 5

Bill Stacey, about 5

“Until then it never occurred to me to use prayer for special things like that. So at night when I offered my routine prayer, “Dear Heavenly Father, please bless Dad and Mom and Edmund and Ruth and little Wayne,” I included a little addition in which I asked the Lord to help me to find my flint.

The next morning I again went out to look for it, and within a very short time I was headed home with the flint in my hand. I am sure my mom did not fail to remind me I had better remember that experience at other times in my life when I needed special help from the Lord for any reason.

That carried me through a lot of difficult situations from then on in my life. I have often thought of what a tragedy it is when parents do not avail themselves of such teaching moments as that in the lives of their children.”

“No lessons taught or stories told or words spoken to me could ever replace that experience. I did not realize it at the time but now I can see my mom taught us many things about how to live, how to trust God, and how to find answers to our questions and problems.”

Good parents live forever.