They were born in the 1890s, closer to the presidency of George Washington than the presidency of Bill Clinton. They were my maternal grandparents. One passed away during the presidency of LBJ. The other passed on during the presidency of Gerald Ford.
I will be writing about both of them in the coming weeks, taking a look backward in time to life before indoor plumbing for most homes, before automobiles, before electricity in homes, to a time when families were larger, when most lived in rural areas, when people had wells and outhouses, when they raised their own food, and when they cooked on wood burning stoves.
They lived through the assassinations of two U.S. presidents - McKinley and Kennedy. They lived through two world wars. They lived through Prohibition, women getting the right to vote, the Roaring Twenties, the collapse of the stock market, the Great Depression, and the Civil Rights movement. They lived through the Cold War Era and its nuclear threats. They lived through the rise of Communism, the building of the Berlin Wall, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Grandma lived from horse and buggy days to seeing man walk on the moon.
They survived for a time on the Depression Era government program known as W.P.A. They did it all as church-going teetotalers.
Grandma and Grandpa homesteaded land in Montana and created a family there. They had four children, got them all through public school, and sent them all to business school or college.
Two of their four children have passed on. Two remain - my eighty four year old Mother and my eighty six year old Aunt Vannah. There are many grandchildren and great grandchildren of Grandma and Grandpa.
They were hard working, principled people - salt of the earth types we would call them. She was talkative. He was much more quiet. They had a balance. He was average height for a man of his time. She was very tall for a woman.
They were in their late fifties when I was born sixty three years ago, during the second Truman administration. They lived through the coming of automobiles, radio, telephones in homes, television, and even into the Space Age. One lived seventy one years. The other lived eighty two years. One died of Parkinson's Disease. The other of an aneurysm. Considering their births in the 1890s, their hard lives in hard times, and the limited medical resources most of their lives, they lived a long time.
Mama and Aunt Vannah remain of their family - a family of four children. I will tell the story of their parents - where they came from, who they were, how they ended up together, and the children they raised. Each week until completed, I will write a column which tells the story of Bertie Mae Layman, John James Linscott, and the family they created together.
© 2013, Jim “Pappy” Moore,
All Rights Reserved.
Jim “Pappy” Moore is a native son of East Texas who still makes the piney woods his home. firstname.lastname@example.org