VERSAILLES - Bessie Myers Barga recently started writing her good and bad times of life.
“The years have passed fast because I have been busy and enjoy the beautiful things around me,” Barga said. “Then I start to wonder if my life has been fruitful and if I had lived the way God had planned for me. I also asked myself if I had filled all my work the way according to his plans.”
Born in the state of Indiana to poor farm parents, she said she started dreaming shortly after she was born and, about the time she was very young, she began to watch the newspaper and wondered how the print was put on the paper and wondered why.
“My mother told me someone had written them and it was called the news,” she said. “That didn’t help much because I was very young. I didn’t understand what an author was, but I sure was going to try and find out. As I grew older, I began to realize God was giving me the tools for my future. But it took many years to be the author I am today; but I never told anyone what I had in my head. I wanted to keep my thoughts to myself. I was afraid someone might take them away from me.”:
“It’s hard to recall the things that took place along the pathway and if there were any achievements worthwhile,” Barga reminisced. “My parents came to Ohio when I was under 3years old. But I was still curious about what was going on with me. When I was 6 years old, I started to the little red school house east of Fort Recovery. When I learned to read, I began to figure out the process. The teacher asked us to learn the author’s name. That struck a high note.”
She went seven years to the little red school house.
“It went fast for me because I loved education, and a variety of different subjects,” she said.
Next it was the big jump from grade school to the high school in Fort Recovery.
“There were no buses, so I walked three miles for a couple years, then my folks moved farther away again,” she said. “My older sister taught me for a couple years, so now it’s called home-schooled. She put in many hours with me. We worked on all the subjects every minute we could. We worked during vacation, evenings and even as we did our chores. That was many years ago, but I am still learning new things.”
Barga always said she would never marry a farmer because she still remembers the poverty and all the hard work.
“But, time changes most things,” she said. “When I was 19, I married a farm boy from Sidney. My life was beautiful. When we were married three years we had our first baby. Her name was Janet Kay. She was little Jannie to us. She also went to the same school and had the same teacher I did. When Jannie was in the fifth grade, the school was closed. She graduated from the old Jackson school on State Route 47 in 1957. Ten days after graduation, Jannie lost her life in a car accident by a driver that should never have been driving.”
Barga started to work away from home, so she could earn my own money.
“Our expenses were huge due to the fact we had a large Holstein dairy,” she said. “As time went on, I learned the art of floral business and became a design teacher and later owned my own floral and gift shop. After 38 years, I wanted to retire. I was home about 10 days when I was asked to go to work in a beautiful furniture store in Greenville. I worked several years for wonderful people. Finally I did retire from that job, after teaching for a while for some that wanted to learn the art of design. Then I understood why God had given me the tools to become the author I am today. I always wanted to be a floral designer. So, then I finally was ready to become the author I had thought about for a lot of years.”
Barga said she was 60 years of age before she had time to start her writing. She joined the International Society of Poetry, which the membership has reached more than 2,000 members.
“There are more than 70 countries that have joined the wonderful work,” she said. “It’s wonderful to see all the natives that come from the countries around the world. I have written for a lot of publishers around the world and the United States. I won first place in seven books for the Great Noble House of London, England. I won the Gold Medal in the year 2002 in Washington, D.C. Then I won it again in 2013 in Las Vegas.”
Barga said she doesn’t read music or write music, but has written lots of hymns and more than a thousand poems and a few books of poetry.
“Four of my hymns should be in the new song books,” she said. “Some of my great hymns are as follows: A Shield and a Sword; When Jesus Came to our House; When I Knelt at Jesus’ Feet; The Snow White Lily; Christmas Lights in Heaven; Jesus is Coming Tomorrow; When We March to Calvary. I am so proud of my Shakespeare statue that sits on my desk that was given to me at our convention in Florida several years ago. I have won a few medals for excellence with my poetry. My poetry includes writing poetry for golden weddings, the Versailles Policy for several years, churches, funerals, eulogies and funeral cards. I have been on radio and television. Some of my poems are on TV.”
Barga said she has donated time to the Candy Stripers, gift shop, silent auctions and rolled bandages at the Greenville Hospital. She worked 16 years for the old O’Brien Greenhouse, the Plessinger Flower Shop, the Hunt Flower Shop in Union City and Greenville and once for Midmark.
“I sang over 75 years at the country church in Rosehill, which I was a member over 75 years,” she said. “I was also a school cook twice at the Old Jackson school, east of Union City. My husband and I sent two little boys to school and also gave many hours helping raise our little niece. I am still singing and learning to play the organ and still working on poems and songs. Time goes on when you are busy. I have met dozens of people and made friends along with my work God has given me.”
Barga said it was an honor to help do design work for Eleanor Roosevelt, Sophia Tucker and being invited to help decorate the White House for Christmas many years ago.
“Several cards and notes came from government workers and also note from the President of the United States at our golden wedding anniversary,” she said. “I had never had a birthday party when I was a child. Two years ago things changed when a wonderful birthday celebration was held at the Living Waters Church in Versailles. Nearly 50 guests came.”
Barga said it was interesting going back through her life, but indicated she was happy to share her achievements with readers.
“There is room in heaven for all of us if we remain on the right road,” she concluded.