"Have you thought about writing your family history, but found yourself stuck from the start? Writing a family narrative can be a daunting task, but Karen Jones Gowen found a way to bring her mother's story to life." (Homespun Magazine)

Monday, May 17, 2010

If Only

My 93 year-old mother, the grown up farm girl, came this weekend for my daughter's wedding. She traveled with my sister from Minnesota to Utah and stayed at our home for three days. Sunday she came to church with me and caused a minor stir among several of the people who had read Farm Girl. They fell in love with her, murmuring things like, "I can't believe she's 93! Her mind is so sharp." "What an honor to meet your mom. She is adorable!"
"I loved Farm Girl! And here she is!" "If only she could stay longer and talk to us about the book and answer all our questions."

Truly I feel blessed to still have my mom around and active mentally and physically. She lives alone in an independent living center and drives her eighty-year-old neighbors to their doctor's appointments.

Since she went back home, I've been thinking "if only." I've thought about the enthusiastic reactions that came from those who met her Sunday, and how they took to her right off. I'm used to people taking to my mom. She has a way about her that attracts people. I've thought about the tour we took in Nebraska two years ago. As hard as it was traveling at her age, she enjoyed it immensely.

"If only" we could figure out a way and means to travel again and let people meet her-- this elderly white-haired lady with a quick mind who amazes everyone. "If only" people could meet her, hear her speak and reminisce about those farm girl days, and feel inspired to write their own stories or those of their parents and grandparents. "If only" we could travel the world carrying the message of Farm Girl-- that ordinary people often have the best stories.

As my mother wrote in her forward:

"After all, history is just the story of people's lives. To me my life has been very ordinary and typical of others in our community of that era. It is rather humbling to think that anyone other than family would find much interest in my experiences. Nevertheless, I am thankful to Karen for believing that these memories are worth saving."

"If only" we could turn back the clock and give her the vigor she had at 73, then my mom and me would tour the world and share the story of Farm Girl. That would be so fun.


  1. She sounds an amzing woman, Karen and the good thing is that she and her story are travelling around the world, not physically but through your book and via your blogging community. She is an inspiration to us all and long may you all enjoy her.

  2. What a wonderful woman and a great inspiration!

    Farm Girl will ensure her life and memories will be shared by everyone all over the world.

    Take care

  3. Brigid said exactly what I was thinking as I read this. You've done it, Karen. What a lovely, moving tribute to your mother and what a gift to all of us "ordinary" folks who want to share our lives with others.

  4. How wonderful that your mother could be with you for the wedding. At 93 she is amazing. My mother died at 97, but she wasn't wasn't as lively mentally as your mother seems to be. How wonderful if you could tour together to promote Farm Girl. Family really is the bottom line, as we well know!

  5. I like the picture of energy and vigor at 73. I see too many brokendown people at my job, and I deal with pregnant women. Women that sould be at their prime of health are morbidly obese, have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease.

  6. You are so lucky to still have her. Make sure she knows how your feel.


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