Treasure-Trove Thursday {Perseverance}

There is a reason I chose to write about the value of perseverance today.

My sophomore daughter will be auditioning for a spot on her high school’s varsity color guard team for next year this afternoon.  This is not her first time to try out for the varsity team.  This will be her third.  I am in awe of her determination, persistence and perseverance.  It is heart wrenching to see your child in tears over the loss of such a worthy goal.  For two years I have witnessed her devastation at finding out not making the varsity team.  Fortunately, the first year she tried out, there were so many students auditioning, they began a junior varsity team.  So she has been a valiant member of the junior varsity team the last two years.  Junior varsity color guard only performs during the pre-game show of the football games instead of during the half time show.  However, the junior varsity members assist the varsity members by moving their equipment for the half time show.  When the marching band and varsity color guard goes to competitions, the junior varsity is still required to attend and assist the varsity, even though they do not perform.  After my daughter’s  first year of junior varsity she received the most improved award at the end of the year band banquet.  So it was quite a blow when she did not make the varsity team last year.  I wasn’t sure if she would continue to try out for varsity upon not being chosen for two years.  However, she is.  This whole last year she has practiced and practiced.  I admire her perseverance and hope for a successful outcome at today’s audition.  Will you please join me in saying a prayer for her today.  Please pray for her to remember her routine confidently and with a smile on her face.

Perseverance is demonstrated by those who keep going when the going gets tough, who don’t give up even when others say it can’t be done.” James E. Faust

There is a strong presence of perseverance in my family history.  Let me share an inspiring story about my paternal great grandparents from my Grandpa’s memoir.

Harley & Aurilla's Family

Harley, whose parents had both died by the time he was nine years old, worked for the Canadian Pacific Railroad.  One night he worked as a switch man to assist the switch engine crew moving train cars.  “He signaled for the engine to go forward, but instead the crew backed up, and he was knocked down between the rails.  When the engine stopped, he tried to get up.  He put his right hand on one rail to push off.  His legs had fallen on the other rail.  Then the train started up again and ran over him.  The engineer and fireman were both drunk and left him there to die.  Luckily, however, someone heard him moaning and got him to the hospital.  The accident fractured his skull, dislocated his left shoulder, cut off the fingers of his right hand except for a stub of a little finger and a stub of a thumb, cut off his right leg a few inches below the knee and took the heel of his left leg and part of his foot.”

Aurilla, my great grandmother of Iowa, bumped her left leg on a bench and bruised the shin bone.  This accident led to gangrene and an amputate leg within 8″ of her hip.  “She was only eight years old at the time, and the operation was performed without the benefit of anesthesia.  After the leg healed, she wore a peg leg fashioned by her father.  In spite of this handicap, her main ambition was to run up the stairs.  She still managed to do most everything that a young girl could do.”  Later in life, Aurilla was blessed to purchase the first artificial leg made by the Erickson Limb Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The company asked Aurilla to write Harley of Canada and recommend their artificial legs.  Erickson Limb Company sent her the address of the hospital where Harley had been taken after his train accident.

Harley’s nurse wrote his reply to Aurilla because he had lost most of his fingers on his right hand. “Dad {My grandpa speaking of my great grandpa, Harley} thought it was odd that a woman should write to him about such a thing as an artificial leg.”  Aurilla and Harley corresponded for about a year while he was in the hospital.

Harley then traveled to Minneapolis where Aurilla and Harley met and became engaged.  After they were married they moved back to Canada.  “Harley decided he would like to go to college and learn about raising pure-blood chicken.  He enrolled at the college with a special stipulation.  Since he was not yet able to write, he talked them into letting Aurilla go with him to take notes for him at no extra tuition.”  My grandpa says, “I can just see it now, these two cripples going to college and only one real, ‘good’ leg between them.”

The story of my Grandpa Harley and Grandma Aurilla does not end there, of course.  There are many other instances where this family, which eventually became 6, displayed perseverance.  For the sake of not writing the longest blog post in history, I must postpone the rest of their story for now.  I am eternally grateful that my Grandpa wrote down the story of his parents and their life together.  I never met my Great Grandpa Harley & Great Grandma Aurilla.  They both passed away before I was born.  Nevertheless, I am able to relay their legacy of perseverance {thanks to my Grandpa who has now joined his parents on the other side} to my children, their great, great grandchildren.

My Maternal Grandparents

My maternal Grandfather valued perseverance as well when he wrote, “The most important thing to me, is to be a survivor.  Your Grandma is a strong example of a survivor.”  She most certainly is!  {Hi, Oma…love you}

Something to ponder: What is something that you hope to still achieve in your life and what and who will support you along the way as you persevere to the end? {You can also use this as a writing prompt for a journal entry}

Perseverance pays,


  1. I enjoyed reading this, Shan. I knew some of this story but not all of it from Grandpa S. How very interesting. Do you know when they died and if they died in Canada or the U.S? Thank you so much for posting the good photography work on your part. It was our honor to have you photograph us. Again, than you so very much. We love you, Mom

  2. Yes, I have dates on my family tree via They moved back to the US and were both buried in Iowa. You are most welcome. Love you too, Mom. 🙂

  3. Katherine Clymer says

    Wow! We are related. I was surprised to find my great grandparents story here! I am Sue Ling’s granddaughter! She is the younger of the daughters of Harley and Aurilla Staats! I would love to share geneology information with you. I have some great pictures of Aurilla when she was young. Please email me.

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