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This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Wilhelmina Davis

Wilhelmina Davis

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I was trying to recall when I first met Mrs. Davis, the exact moment escapes me, though it was somewhere in the neighborhood of forty years ago. I remember hearing stories about her long before we actually met, she had a reputation among neighborhood kids as being fiercely protective of her five kids and was something of an intimidating presence. When I did eventually encounter her, I quickly learned that the reputation was based on fact, but it also only was a small part of who she actually was and thankfully, I was able to have the privilege of getting to know her and learn this for myself.

At first though, I was pretty intimidated, I immediately had the feeling that she was sizing me up to determine if I was suitable to be a friend to her children. I quickly saw what happened to those she saw as unsuitable as she was very open about her judgment on those who did not pass the muster and they did not come around much.  At the time what seemed to be random and capricious was in retrospect spot on as her judge of character was impeccable and now I know how truly fortunate I was to make it in to the inner circle.

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Not only did I make a lifelong friendship with the Davis siblings, but I was allowed into the larger Davis clan almost as a family member, because once you were in, you were in and it was an almost magical and wonderful experience of the sort of commitment to what is really important in life. I remember as a teenager thinking some of the upbringing that the Davis kids has was strange and unusual – I mean not having a television during the 80s in itself was a foreign concept to me. Over time however, as I was included in more and more Davis family gatherings, I came to if not understand completely certainly respect their way of life and the values which they held dear.

Mr. & Mrs. Davis were unique among any of the parents of my friends in that they not only included their children’s friends in their gatherings they actually listened to us as something as equals. I had no prior experience in the long fascinating discussions held at the Davis house where my opinion, even as a fourteen or fifteen year old kid, was considered, discussed and held as valuable as the opinions of these two obviously brilliant people. This focus on intellect and real family value was something that I found nowhere else and why during the years since, I would stop by to see Mrs. Davis even when none of her kids were around.

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I learned so much over the years during my interactions with Mrs. Davis and her family and my long friendship with each of them has given me the perspective of time and hopefully maturity to see what an amazing parent and person Mrs. Davis was.  Far from the intimidating presence she was initially she became a true friend and role model to me.

If you did not have the pleasure of knowing her well, you need to look no further than her five amazing children and many grandchildren to see the impact she and her husband have had. Finer people you will
never encounter. The fact that they have each created lives with wonderful spouses (and not a single hint of divorce- which speaks volumes itself in this day and age) and raised amazing families is a testament to the influence and love that Wilhelmina Davis brought to her family.

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To my great shame, I still have trouble naming and identifying which grandchild belongs with who, it is just overwhelming to me , seeing them all as a group, but I have no trouble when speaking to any of them directly identifying that they are a member of the Davis clan. The maturity, intelligence, politeness and good nature that emanates from Mrs. Davis is easily evident. As much as she loved her own children, I know that Mrs. Davis probably loved her many grandchildren more than anything in the world. Her face would just light up when speaking of them and I know that I will certainly miss receiving her annual holiday card where my wife and I would marvel at the ever growing family.

Somehow I know that the loss of the matriarch will not impact the bond of this family and that they will honor her legacy by remaining close and getting together. I just hope one of them remembers to keep taking that annual photo in her memory and sending it out.


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