As Mark Twain once said, “there has never been an uninteresting life.”
Hi Rolland, Wanted to let you know that I have gotten your cousin Wave started writing her life story. I just have a few pages going but that is a start, isn't it? I thought I would send them to you when I get further along, this way you can tell me if I'm on the right track. You see, I've not done anything like this before and it concerns me that I may let you and Wave down. I will try my best though, you can count on that! At any rate, I've attached the little I've got started and you can at least get a feel for how it's going.
The turtle did win the race or so I've been told.
Your Friend, DonnaJean
The following is the only part of Wave's life that Donna Jean got recorded before my cousin passed away. If only someone had started earlier, Wave was an Angle who led an exciting life and had so much good to say.
“Her name is Virginia “Wave” Akins but everyone just calls her “Wave”. That is a long ‘A’ attached to kins, as she would say.
She has hair the color of snow, eyes as bright as a spring day and lines on her face, showing that life has left its marks. Her height is short, only five foot three but in spirit, she seems to stand five foot ten tall and her laughter can warm the coldest of hearts on the coldest day.
She was born October 1, 1915, the first-born child to Nora Mae and Rodgers Quincy Mills Campbell. Wave says everyone knew him as Mills. There was also her baby brother, Vern Cleo, who came into the world just a year and half after she did. He passed away at only fifty-seven years old, which was just too young.
Wave’s spirit is the kind of spirit that has a white light surrounding it. When you are with her, you can feel God’s love embracing you and you just know; she somehow holds keys of wisdom that you have yet to have access too. Just spending some time with her, makes you feel as if you have truly received a blessing.
Here is a woman who has witnessed many of lives changes. Oh, the inventions and the miracles, that have happened within her lifetime! She lived during a time when few owned cars and many had no electricity and yet, still does not believe anyone would care to hear her stories. The stories only she can bring to life!
Wave Akins, who knew what it was like to have to cook on a wood stove and how it was to haul water by hand and who has witness the greatest achievements by humanity and humanity’s greatest follies. Few can claim to have lived for nearly a century and yet, fails to see what beautiful gifts her stories would make for the next century’s reading!
Rolland Love, her mother brother’s son, her cousin or maybe it is her second or third cousin, as she struggles to recall the family line. I am introduced to him. He has come to urge her once more to get her stories told before they are lost. She tells me “he’s been after me for sometime now!” I laugh as I watch the banter that the two share and before I even know what is happening, I join in. Now it is both Rolland and I striving to convince Wave, that this project is so much worth the undertaking.
I become her hands to write with since hers shake with the strain that can only come from a lifetime of living. Neither she nor I, are clear as to where we should begin. After all the many changes that have happen over her lifetime, it seems to overwhelm us. It almost stops the story before it can begin.
Rolland assures her that all she needs to do is go back to her very youngest memory and build from there. Wave tilts her head to one side and smiles, as if she has a secret, she is teasing him with it, laughs and says with so much irony, “Is that ALL?” I can’t help but think she is making light of the numbers of years she would have to travel back to accomplish what he suggests and that it’s not as simply done, as it is simply put.
The day Rolland came to visit Wave was cool and rainy. He was delighted to see his cousin so animated and in good spirits. Not but a week beforehand she had been in the hospital due to a series of mini strokes that had numb the left side of her face, leaving the left corner of her mouth drooping a bit.
He had been gone too long and hungered to hear her tales of a long ago time. She started in almost from the moment she had seen him step through her doorway. He delighted in it and just as quickly sat in the old rocker across from her. It seemed as if his rocking kept time to her words as she reflected back to a time long ago.
Once again, she is a young woman of twenty-one and she’s talking to her folks about her one true love: Nolan Akins. There is a wedding to be planned and it will be O.J. Carter that will marry them. This is the same man who married her parents back in 1914 and who will be saying the vows over her and Nolan in 1936. Even after all these years past, you can still hear the joy in her voice. Indeed, she was truly that young woman again and the memories wash away any ache or pain that filled her body.
She smiles her simply beautiful smile and lays her head to the right, gazing at the relative across from her, knowing that he has taken her back on this well-worn pathway. She remembers so many things. Like a pile of little, snap shots really. Nothing to long or drawn out, simple little pieces to the jigsaw puzzle, that she calls her life. They are words that fill the imagination with images, sights, sounds and smells of another time and place.