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Monday, May 31, 2010

Bonnie--An Amazing Lady

Bonnie Swift was an AMAZING lady.

She was born on November 17, 1918, the youngest child of Ham and Alice Arnold Swift. She had four older brothers, Wiley, John, Stacy and Rod and an older sister Ola. When Bonnie was about 18 months old both she and her brother Rod contracted scarlet fever. Rod was terribly ill with the fever but it didn't seem to bother Bonnie except it left her with no speech or hearing.

Despite her disability, Bonnie lived a pretty normal life. When it was time for her to go to school she went everyday alongside her sister and her niece Laura. She learned to read, write, spell and count. She also taught herself to sign. Sometimes she would have special signs for different things or people but she always made you understand just what it was she was talking about.

Along with her mother she kept house, helping with cooking, canning, washing and ironing. She taught herself to crochet, knit, sew and quilt. She helped her father in the fields with the crops, hoeing corn, tobacco, and other outside chores. She loved to pick blackberries and make apple butter. When her mother passed away in 1956 she took over the running of the house and even taught herself to do the milking.

When her father died in 1964 she was able to buy a small two bedroom house just a few yards from where she was born. Up until about 6 or 7 years ago she still had an outhouse but was finally able to add a modern bathroom and do some remodeling to the house. Her house was surrounded by beautiful flowers. She loved flowers and definitely had the green thumb when it came to plants.

She loved to travel. Her first trip of any distance was to Indiana to visit relatives. She was so excited she talked about it to anyone who would listen. She and her older sister made a trip west by Greyhound bus. Her sister thought she would test her to see if she was paying attention to her surroundings. When she started to get on the wrong bus, Bonnie grabbed her by the arm and told her in no uncertain terms it was the wrong bus. Her trips to the beach with her grandchildren and great grandchildren were the highlights of her summers.

She loved company and like her mother she always made you feel welcome. . On one occasion a girl who had left right out of high school to be a missionary in Cuba stopped by to see Bonnie. Bonnie had not seen her in over 50 years but knew exactly who she was and then produced a missionary card she had kept all those years with the ladies picture on it.

If you visited her she was quick to show you the latest photos of her great grandchildren. She loved watching TV especially westerns. She could relate the entire show to you.

Due to her medical condition she had nurses who checked in on her periodically. She could tell you exactly when they were to arrive and what they did. She retrained them so they could assess her condition correctly. A while ago a visiting nurse thought she should go to the hospital. Bonnie informed her the answer was no. The nurse then took it upon herself to call family members to discuss the situation and convince them of her opinion. The bottom line was Bonnie had made her own decisions for the past 90 years and she had the final say so and the answer stood.

Bonnie's love for her family was always foremost in her life whether it be sewing Peanut a shirt made from a chop sack or selling butter and eggs to buy Margie an Easter dress. She always provided for her family and made sure they were well taken care of. She loved her grandchildren and her great grandchildren were a great joy to her.

She was a woman of character, she treated others with respect and she leaves behind a legacy of kindness, love and laughter.

She was an AMAZING lady.


Gypsy said...

So sorry to hear of the loss of your Aunt Bonnie, and my condolences to your family.

Anonymous said...

So sorry for your loss Jenny. Beautifully written, makes me sorry that I did not know her.

Pam Swift Hacker said...

When I was a kid I stayed with her often during school vacation and snow days. She amazed me with all her talents particularly the quilting, cooking and baking. One of my favorite memories was watching her make fried apple pies...the process of how she prepared and made them was so time consuming but she never seemed to mind the work. Til this day, I can honestly say, no one has ever made pies like Bonnie did! They were so awesome! I loved to "pig out" on those pies! She would have to tell me "no more!" in her special way after I'd had several because she wanted to save some for somebody else. My biggest regret is not having paid closer attention to how she did things like that.

I have lots of special memories of her but I just wanted to share that one today. She, without doubt, was an AMAZING LADY and I am proud to say she was my great aunt and she will be dearly missed.