Lifestyle Feature Cradle of love | CullmanSense

Lifestyle Feature

Cradle of love

Last week I went down to Landersville, a wide spot in the road between Moulton and Russellville. There isn’t even a caution light there anymore, although there was when I was a child. Of course back then there was also a one-room schoolhouse, a cotton gin, two or three churches and a general store with my family name above its door.

It was one of those country stores where there was always a fire in a potbellied stove in back where old men sat and discussed crops and various farm equipment, swapped lies and whittled on some little something for their grandkids.

One of them would have been my great-grandfather, Arthur Bone Young. He was already old when I was little, and I barely remember him, but those memories are centered around that little stove, in his store where there was a tall ladder that ran on wheels the length of the building so that my Aunt Addie Mae could climb up and get pairs of Liberty overalls or work boots from shelves that reached the 12-foot ceiling.

There were also rows of nails, and tools that I never knew the use of, along with penny candies in big glass jars that sell for about a hundred dollars now at auctions. We weren’t concerned about the old jar at the time; it was the contents that held us motionless for long moments, trying to decide on a jaw breaker or a sucker or peppermint, or a dozen other brightly colored candies.

But I digress…the reason for my trip to Landersville was to pick up a cradle. I’m sure most people on the planet know by now that my daughter had a little girl last week. That means it’s our turn to use the cradle…

The cradle was crafted by my fourth-great-grandfather, Reason Young, in as far as we know, 1852. He and his wife, Julia Ann, used it with their children, then on the eve of their first grandchild’s birth, brought it to their son, Joseph Washington Young, and left it to him as a gift.

That child was my great-grandfather, Arthur Bone Young, who is the father of my grandfather, William Reason Young. William and his wife, Edna Wren Roberts rocked 11 children in that cradle.

Later, it was used to rock almost every one of their 24 grandchildren (some lived too far away to haul the cradle, but only three that I can recall). Later, it was passed along as each baby came to their great-great grandchildren, totaling 46 in number. Eventually their great-great-great grands were rocked in the cradle which now sits in my sunroom, awaiting Isabella’s arrival here from Tennessee.

She will be the sixth generation of Young descendents to be rocked in the cradle made by the hands of Reason Young back in 1852.

The cradle itself is made of cherry wood, probably cut on Reason’s land in Youngtown. He settled the land by walking all day from sunup until he couldn’t see to walk anymore, then doing the same thing the next day until he had a square. That property would one day grow to include 2,500 acres in Youngtown and Landersville.

It was used for cotton, cattle, wheat and children, who built houses and had farms of their own. The Landersville Church of Christ and the cemetery next to it were built on that land, and the people mentioned here are buried there, within sight of Youngtown Mountain.

This little cradle, with its intricate spindles and spring-loaded rockers has seen many children off to a good start. I wonder if Reason could have possibly imagined how many generations of his family would use it and continue to tell the story of its beginning? I wonder if he would be astonished to know how well it’s held up, and that his story is being told as far away as Mongolia, to an honorary cousin who is also a writer, and to Boston, to a woman who doesn’t know as much about her Jewish ancestors as she would like, because they had the misfortune to have been in Germany at the wrong time in history…

I’ll bet he would smile to see his great-great-great-great-great-great granddaughter, Isabella Reese Goodwin, swaddled in a blanket tied with a pink and white gingham bow, sleeping peacefully in it, just as his children surely did.

I’d like to whisper in his ear someday how much that cradle has meant to our family, how many mothers and fathers have gently rocked newborn babies in his handiwork, and how much this cradle has been loved over the years.

But somehow, I think he knows….

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