Contact Us    
My Sister, Bessie Dodds Wilson

missionary, wife, mother, matriarch

by Everett Wilson
October 4, 2010

Bookmark and Share
My Sister, Bessie Dodds Wilson



I have already acknowledged that I am the fifth of six sons, We grew up sisterless until my oldest brother married in 1947, when I was eleven.  We suddenly had a sister, and she suddenly had a husband and five new little  brothers ranging in age from four to 19.  By the time the youngest brother was married, we had as many sisters as we had brothers, and twenty-one children  among us. 

We  cohered.  Part of the cohesion, I think, is that we hoped our sisters-in-law would treat us like brothers, which they did, and  we wanted to treat them like sisters  because they were the only sisters we had.  They graciously accepted that. Never once did they make me feel like    Somebody they had to Put Up With.  I was somebody to be treated like family, and so were they.  We loved them and they had the grace to love us.

             I am singling out one of them now, because she died on September 18  and is much on my mind. We all have our  stories  to tell, but she can no longer tell her own. 

 She was the second to join the family, fifty-eight years ago, but she was the oldest in the generation succeeding  our parents:   thirty-three when she married, ninety-one when she died.  When she joined us she  was a professional missionary, a skilled communicator, a school  administrator.  She knew God, and she knew who she was.

Sixty  years ago she was a Canadian missionary  working in Japan as head of a girls' school. Her name   was Bessie Dodds.   My brother Jim was an  American naval officer, eight years younger than she.  He had  an evangelistic passion and gift, and was using his shore leave in part to look  for other Christians who shared his passion.  

  To her initial dismay, he found her.  Then the finding became mutual, and she said yes to his proposal.   The life she got was not what she  had expected from God, but what she accepted from him—which is more on the mark anyway.   

 They married in Japan.  .In the summer they were able to come to the States, but not to travel together.   She arrived first  at the dock in San Francisco where my parents,   younger brother, and I met her.  Then we picked up Jim and bonded in an Oldsmobile 98 on  the long ride Nebraska.  I was barely sixteen, but Bessie  treated me like a real person then and in all the years that followed.   She corrected me sometimes (she was my older sister, after all) but she never put me down—and I always listened  to her.

 After Jim completed the service obligation of an Annapolis graduate, he and Bessie continued their partnership in mission, which was local in its exercise but international in its scope.   This Canadian who had expected a lifelong commitment to Japan was called to make a shift of biblical proportions, to become an American citizen and the matriarch of four generations of an  American family, and ancestor of  about a third of all  the descendants of my parents.



Comments (1)

Post a Comment

Robert McNauagahaton from Middletown, CT writes:
October 4, 2010
Everyone has a story; in fact, everyone IS a story. You told your sister's story very well - in a few paragraphs one can almost picture her.

Send Us Your Opinion
(Comments are moderated.)
Your Name:*

Your E-Mail Address:*
(Confidential. Will not be published.)


Note: In order to control automated spam submissions, URLs are no longer permitted in this form.

Please type the letters you see above.


Bookmark and Share

Real Things
A novel.
Published January 2, 2008
Temporarily Unavailable

Real Things first appeared in serialized form on the Partial Observer in 2001. It is now available in print for the first time.

Over thirty years after a senseless crash redefined his life, Greg Thompson and his family finally learn why.

More Information
RSS Feed for Everett Wilson: RSS Feed for Everett Wilson
Sign up to receive an e-mail notice when new articles by this author are published. Your address remains confidential, and you may cancel at any time. A confirmation email will be sent.

Your e-mail address:
po Books
Now Available!

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

More Information.

More by Everett Wilson
Necessary Things, A Companion and Sequel to Real Things
Available from Amazon Books, Amazon Kindle, and Me!
by Everett Wilson, 2/16/15
Until Barrett is Free, Neither Are We
Freedom of the Press is not a whim of the state
by Everett Wilson, 2/26/14
Why the United States Will not Get Competent Universal Health Care in my Lifetime
Six Obvious Reasons
by Everett Wilson, 11/15/13
An Open Letter to Congressman Jeff Fortenberry
Clean Sweep Time
by Everett Wilson, 10/2/13
An Open Letter to Congressman Jeff Fortenberry
Clean Sweep Time
by Everett Wilson, 10/1/13
Excerpt from my new novel, Scoundrels and Fools
Chapter 5: Ellis Johnson
by Everett Wilson, 7/12/13
The Rev. Marjorie Drickey's Last Message to a Dying World
And all the trumpets sounded for her on the other side.
by Everett Wilson, 2/14/13
» Complete List (151)

RSS Feed for Everett Wilson: RSS Feed for Everett Wilson

Recently Published
View Article My Girl Friday
A toast to all administrative assistants
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 6/11/21
Two Giant Hands in Tulsa
Praying for forgiveness and healing
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 6/4/21
To a Field of Dreams
Memorial Day ponderings
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 5/28/21
Don't Mask! Don't Tell!
It's about time for about face
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 5/21/21
Liz Cheney's Not Lon Chaney
Why recent events on Capitol Hill resemble a horror show
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 5/14/21
A Mothers' Day Hymn
Remembering our moms with gratitude to our Heavenly Father
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 5/7/21
A Crumbling Foundation
What are we to make of Bill and Melinda Gates' divorce?
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 5/4/21

Get the Partial Observer's
'recently published' headlines via RSS.

RSS Feed for Recently Published PO Articles    What is RSS?
Reproduction of original material from The Partial Observer without written permission is strictly prohibited.
The opinions expressed by site contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the editors.
Copyright ©2000-2021 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.
Home · Site Map · Top