A Tale of Two Legendary Women- Proverbs 31:28-31

We have only one picture of Chester and Ina Sheldon’s family, and it doesn’t tell us much about my grandparents’ struggle to keep everything together.

She worked so hard

Grandma got up early to trudge through town to milk the cow pastured nearby. Then she delivered the bucket to one of her daughters at the front door so grandma could get to the fruit processing plant on time. My grandma was the primary bread winner since Grandpa was elderly and unable to work.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate” (Proverbs 31:30-31 NIV).

Chester Ina Sheldon family photo 1938

The Sheldon family in 1938. My dad, Paul, is the boy with his hands in his pockets.

She shared what she had

In the photo, the Sheldons are standing in the alley under a Coca-Cola sign painted on the wall of their home, a storefront near 2nd and Division Street in Grandview, Washington. What you don’t see is the community of generous people from the Nazarene Church who loved them.

Hattie Mae Miller and her husband owned a farm, and she was known for her hospitality, serving folks at the church picnics they hosted on their property. When they heard of local youth needing work, the Millers employed them. And somehow, when there wasn’t much to eat at the Sheldon’s, a box of fruit from the Miller’s farm would appear at the storefront’s recessed entry. In multiple ways, people from the church stepped in to support and encourage the Sheldons in their difficulties.

Without help, my dad’s family wouldn’t have survived

How strange it felt to walk around the outside of the existing building, now an insurance office, in that same alleyway where he played as a boy. I looked around my shoes, searching for a souvenir to take home; a rock or bottle cap, or something a boy may have handled eighty-some years ago.

I didn’t find a keepsake that day. Instead, I wrapped my arms around my dad’s waist, thanking God for people like Ina Sheldon and Hattie Mae Miller. Their works will praise them, yes, but it won’t compare with the honor that comes from this Sheldon’s heart.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

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