Monday’s child is fair of face.
Tuesday’s child is full of grace.
Wednesday child is full of woe.
Thursday’s child has far to go.
Friday’s child is loving and giving.
Saturday’s child works hard for a living.
And the child that’s born on the Sabbath day
Is fair and wise and good and gay.`
I don’t remember exactly when my mother taught me this rhyme. But when she did it was important to me to memorize the day each of my brothers and sisters were born. It was somewhat of a task because there were so many of us, eleven, and the ages were spread out quite a bit such that for some time I didn’t know who all my brothers and sisters were. Some we would go visit; some would visit us. They were big people, always nice to me. One of them was this grown up person who came to visit whose name was Arthur.
He was my oldest brother, 17 years older than me. He would bring us gifts. Laugh with us, play with us. We would joke, tease, jump on him, grab his legs like little bugs and sit on his foot so he couldn’t leave. He was always patient and smiling. He had been in the Air Force, stationed at the base in Dover, Delaware. He continued to live in Delaware after leaving the service. We didn’t travel often, but I have memories of visits to see him when I was young. There are flashes of memories of standing near an Air Force plane and hanger. There is a memory of a walk on Chesapeake Bay, of sand and tides and huge, dark horseshoe crabs. I wanted to take one home with me back to the Midwest, but my mother said “No!” A few months later, I received a little preserved horseshoe crab in a tin through the mail from Arthur. There are memories of frozen shark meat that he had caught and sent, arriving at our farm house. Having tasted shark meat was a pretty cool thing for a Midwestern kid on a farm in the 1960’s. But mostly, there are memories of someone who was nice.
Wednesday’s child is full of woe…
Arthur was born on a Wednesday. There were challenges just being in our family, especially for the older kids. It was rough living-poverty and very harsh “discipline”. School didn’t come as easily to him as to some of the others. Our father was a teacher, then a principal, at times a superintendent. There were harsh consequences for those who did not do well and make superior grades in school.
At the time he finished high school, there were tough economic times at home and in the country in general. Higher education and job opportunities weren’t there for everyone. So he enlisted in the service. Later he worked hard to earn an associate degree. Later he did marry, have children, but have the challenge of the needs of a child with downs syndrome, and then later, the death of that child from cancer, medical bills, his own bout with cancer and recovery, and so many more. These events, some might consider a source of woe. But he lived his life with good humor, love, a strong faith in God, and commitment to do what’s right.
We were 17 years apart. We weren’t just 17 years apart, but many hours of travel and miles apart. As adults, our perspectives of life and point of view, at times were miles apart. With so much separation of time and place and thought, you miss out on knowing another person, and you miss out, and you just miss.
Arthur entered this world on a Wednesday. And he left this world on a Wednesday.
Arthur L. Hewitt September 13, 1939—November 3, 2010