Hazel wasn’t the mother of anyone, but I think she should not be forgotten. Her story is one of childhood innocence gone wrong. She had brothers and sisters, and was the youngest of the children. Hazel was born July 4th 1921, and her mother Alda, died the same year on her own birthday October 12th 1921. Hazel was only three years, two months, and nine days old when she died.
The story is…Hazel went down the hill to play her little friend. The two girls wore their aprons over their dresses so their dresses would not get dirty. The apron had pockets, and in one of the pockets was a secret. Matches were stored in the pocket of one of the girls. The two of the girls giggled and lit matches and let them go before their fingers got burned by the wooded match. The girls were called into their homes, and one of the matches was stuck back in the box. The box of matches was in the apron pocket of Hazel. As she ran to her house the box went up in flames. The apron, and her dress caught fire too. As she ran up the hill to her house the flames engulfed her tiny body. Someone finally got the flames under control, but not before Hazel was burned. Most of her body was burned, and one of the children ran for the doctor. The doctor arrived at the Gray house September 11th, 1921. There was very little he could do for her, but she hung on for as long as she could. September the 12th was the last day the Doctor would see her alive, and she passed away on the 13th of September.
With stories like these we understand why some of the people drank alcohol. Seeing your child burned, in pain, and crying out for you to help as she is dying. It is just unimaginable to any parent. Asa, the father of Hazel, was a single father, and had been for the last 3 years. I can’t even imagine the guilt that he carried with him too.
Each of us have stories that are worthy of being told to other family members. Stories that make us stronger. Knowing that the children watched their mom die, and then Hazel die too makes me want to do more. Our ancestors found the strength to go on with their lives. Now, we keep the memory of Hazel alive by remembering her, and telling her story.