Wisdom through the Awful Grace of God
STEP UP Devotions for January 12-18

The Land of Beginning Again

Louise was the wife of playwright Boot Tarkington. He died in 1946. They married in 1902 and had a daughter, Laurel in 1906. He was an alcoholic and she divorced him in 1911. Laurel developed schizophrenia and died of pneumonia at the age of 16. Louise died in 1923 a year after Laurel. Here is her obituary:

"TABKINGTON, Laurel Louise Fletcher (Mrs.Newton Booth Tarkington), 1100 N. Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis, Ind. Born Indianapolis, Ind.; grad. Smith Coll., B.I. 1900- m. Indianapolis, June 18, 1902, Newton Booth Tarkington, the well-known novelist; one daughter: Laurel Louise, b. Feb. 11, 1906. Contributor of short stories to the magazine. "

I would love to find more references to her life, her personal pain, and her philosophy of living. Usually we hear just one verse of this poem, which I honestly believe is now in the public domain. Here are all the verses as a Sunday morning treat.

I wish that there were some wonderful place

Called the Land of Beginning Again

Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches

And all of our selfish grief

Could be dropped like a shabby old coat by the door

And never be put on again.

   

I wish we could come on it all unaware

Like the hunter who finds a lost trail

And I wish that the one whom our blindness has done

The greatest injustice of all

Could be at the gates like an old friend that waits

For the comrade he's gladdest to hail.

   

We would find all the things we intended to do

But forgot, and remembered too late;

Little praises unspoken, little promises broken

And all of the thousand and one

Little duties neglected that might have perfected

The day for one less fortunate.

   

It wouldn't be possible not to be kind

In the Land of Beginning Again

And the ones we misjudged and the ones whom we grudged

Their moments of victory then

Would find in the grasp of our loving handclasp

More than penitent lips could explain.

   

For what had been hardest we'd know had been best

And what had seemed loss would be gain

For there isn't a sting that will not take a wing

When we've faced it and laughed it away,

And I think that the laughter is most what we're after

In the Land of Beginning Again.

   

So I wish that there were some wondered place

Called the Land of Beginning Again

Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches

And all of our selfish grief

Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door

And never be put on again.

   

Louise Fletcher Tarkington

 

 

 

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