Hannah's Eyes

by - November 05, 2014

I'm not sure which are my real memories, and which memories are there from pictures...but either way I remember my great-grandma Hannah.  As a little kid I remember thinking she is very old and we need to be careful around her.  I remember her soft voice, her square jawline and that she always wore a hairnet over her silver hair that was arranged in waves on her head. She had pointy glasses that even in the 80's looked like vintage wear.  I remember her as quiet.  I remember seeing how my grandma Bonnie treated her and thinking grandma really loves her mom.

The home she and grandpa Monroe lived in still looked like a homestead in their little town of Nelagoney that really didn't look like a town anymore.  Both were pieces of Oklahoma history almost untouched by the progress of time. It was a tiny house.  I remember drinking milk out of bottles from her refrigerator and eating some of her commodity cheese; going out to look at the pigs across the fence, getting chased around by geese (or maybe they were ducks?) and eating pecans out of shells sitting in the doorway of one of their sheds with grandpa all before I was 7 or 8 years old.  I don't have many memories with Hannah and Monroe, but the ones I have seem to come with sounds and smells and feelings.  They are dusty like the Osage County road with a lot of cattle guards that led to their little house. The memories smell like Thanksgiving to me, and they kind of whisper like both of their sweet soft great-grandparent sounding voices.  I feel a deep respect when I think of them.

For the past two weeks I've been part of training events in foreign lands. Some lands that look as protected from time as Hannah and Monroe's home in Oklahoma. After I left home a few weeks ago my mom posted this picture a relative had found and recently given to my grandma Bonnie. This is Hannah. 

She is around age 14. We have never seen a picture of her this young. As I have been sharing with people again in these trainings about seeing themselves through God's eyes, her eyes in this picture just kept coming back to my thoughts, and I kept going back to look at her face and study them until I finally made her picture the lock screen on my phone. I wonder how Hannah saw herself through those eyes? How was she affected by the eyes that viewed her, and how did she pass that on. 

Hannah Ellen Golden Robertson grew up the daughter of a very abusive man from a long line of outlaws, and a very faith-filled woman from a long line of preachers. Although she never shared specifics, she shared enough for us to know she suffered abuse in her early life. But then, Monroe saw her through his eyes, and after marrying around age 15, Hannah went from a home of uncertainty to a home she would share with him for over 60 years.  She raised a houseful of laughing, tender-hearted kids who honored and loved her.  She took the heritage of her mom, Ida's faith; and did not pass on her dad's abuse.  From the stories I've heard she had a strong will to obey and honor God; one she passed on to my grandma Bonnie, and one my family has been blessed, guided and protected by.  There have been many strong and tender women and many protective and devoted men who have come from Hannah and Monroe and their sons and daughters: Leroy, Leora, Bonnie, Kendall, Wayne, Jean and Albert.  

After a long day of being driven in the pouring rain on narrow winding roads up a mountain I've never been on before, I'm sitting in the home of friends on the other side of the world from Hannah and Monroe's little homestead, and I just wanted to share a little bit of her --whose face I can't get over -- and thank God for His protection of her heart and her faith.  I have come to learn not everyone makes it through as Hannah did.  The faith of her children is a testimony to God's faithfulness to bless the generations who came before her and to the woman of great character behind those eyes. 

Here is one of my forever favorite pictures.  This is how I remember them.  Even if I didn't know them I think I would love this picture.  It was taken after sharing a lifetime together, celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.  

Hannah passed away about a year before Monroe did.  He was in the hospital for several days before he died and was unable to speak.  He knew his last day was near, but he still remembered an important date that was coming up soon.  He asked for a pen and piece of paper. In writing as soft as his sweet voice we could read the words his shaky letters spelled:  "Hannah and Monroe anniversary in heaven."  It didn't get any sweeter than Monroe's love for Hannah.

I have liked having her memory and her picture with me on this trip. I have carried her through three countries now, and we have one more to go before we start back home.

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and memories of this wonderful woman and the man that loved her. I loved them both so much and have wonderful memories of our large family gatherings. Family is everything! Debbie