A Love Story
Orpha I. Wood was born in 1885,
exact date and place is unknown. Her
childhood was that of a normal child until at the age of 11 she lost her
hearing from a very high fever. She
She and William David Harrington
were the parents of one daughter, Jean Elizabeth Harrington, born in
Now, we have reached a summation of what information cousin Shirley Hughes and I have of Grandfather William David Harrington and her grandmother, Orpha I. Wood. We can only surmise (imagine) the rest of the story. And knowing something about "O" (Orpha) and "W" (William David), I kind of get the idea that we could incur some wrath, or at least a strong disapproval from this, independent, strong-willed couple for "sticking our noses" into their private lives. Or, we could be mistaken and they might not mind so much if we try to tell the story of "O" and "W", as we do so with much love and respect. After all, did we not only receive our life from them, along with our natural curiosity and zest for adventure? So we apologize, "O" and "W" if we rile you up a bit, after all, isn't it all your fault anyway?
What can we surmise from what we know? "Maybe," back a long time ago, they met, either at one of the printing schools where grandfather was employed as a printing instructor or, more likely in a print shop where Orpha worked as a typesetter perhaps where William D. was either editor, owner or just a business professional acquaintance or customer of the owners. Either way, they did meet. Orpha I. Wood was an intelligent, skillful professional in the printing trades, and a striking, tall and very attractive woman, very strong-willed and outspoken, and it's not difficult that William D. was "taken" with her. Although married at that time, he must have found her irresistible; they had, no doubt, much in common. Grandfather William D. Harrington was a handsome man, endowed with the same manner of mind as Orpha and they must have had the chemistry that brings a man and a woman together. I think the term "soul mates" might be appropriate. It is not my place to judge, condemn or approve; my duty, as I see it is to record.
They must have had a bittersweet relationship, I surmise, as almost invariably lovers do, no doubt torn between commitments and the desire, so strong, to be together. There must have been many times when the longing to be together when they knew it couldn't be, had to be painful, mixed with the bliss that only those who are in love can know. Times of guilt, recrimination and doubt of the wrong or right of it, and conversely times of reckless abandon in the pursuit of their happiness in being together. They were, in summation, just two human beings with desires, and needs that they could only have fulfilled in each others' arms.
And surmising further, how they must have been torn between the joy, and the unforeseen dangers ahead of finding that their love had produced a child. The joy and pride any father feels for his children and the knowledge that there would be danger in the days to come.
We now must consider a thing
called "honor". Of the mother
Orpha who gave birth to the child, Jean Elizabeth on
Was this an affair, or a love story? Here is a poem that Orpha wrote to William:
Dear, if in day-times busy hour,
This cruel absence may be borne;
I still from ev'ning shrink and cower,
And wait impatiently the morn;
For morning comes with work again,
The saving toil for hand and mind;
(Yet think I often, even then, how great
you love is! and how kind).
But evening! -- such friends we had,
Alone at home, along the shore;
Of starlit lake -- how sweet and glad,
That "clear togetherness of you"!
But now what hope! what joy can bless?
Since my misspent and wasted years;
Reward your trust and tenderness,
And moral lon'liness with tears?
By day, by night, at work, at rest,
Tears, tears that taunt me, and I fear;
Because you loved so truly, lest,
My love unworthy shall appear.
One prayer I pray, all prayers above,
For life, still human, more divine;
For love more worthy than the great
you gave to me, Dear Valentine.