Friday, March 23, 2018

My Family Part 2

Melvan was my father. I really do not know much about his childhood. I know that they moved several times. They always lived in the same part of Nebraska.

Daddy was born in a little bitty town named Winnetoon. I have visited there a number of times since I moved back to this part of the country. It is almost a ghost town much like where I live now.

I have heard stories of floods when they lived in Niobrara. It seems that losing belongings due to catastrophies was a constant in his life.

My grandfather was a drinker which apparently caused a lot of pain to the family. My father went home one day to see that his father was drunk again. Daddy told Grandpa that he was through fighting because of Grandpa being a drunk and embarrassing the family.

Daddy went out again, lied about his age, and joined the Navy. It was the 1940's and World War II was in full swing.

Grandma was a cold woman. Maybe life had given her more than she could deal with and still be happy. Most of her children moved as far away from her as they could. There were few visits of aunts and uncles in my life.

But Daddy loved her. We have a picture of him in his uniform taken in one of the California port towns before he shipped out to engage the enemy. On the back he wrote "To the best Mother in the world".

One day Grandpa came home from work. Grandma said he walked through the door and fell to the floor. He had a heart attack and died instantly.

Daddy's ship was under radio silence at the time. He did not learn of his father's death until too late to go home for the funeral. I believe he always regretted that the last time he saw his father they had an arguement.

When Daddy went home after the war he was sort of at loose ends. He had no girl left behind. Most of the girls he knew were married and starting families.

His younger brother was dating a nice girl who had an older sister. My uncle arranged a blind date and both couples went out together.

Daddy's date was a pretty young woman. They hit it off right away. Her name was Evelyn who became my mother.

Mom had been raised as a farmer's child. Her father put great store in education. His children attended schools in the country. Then in high school they rode their horses to town every day.

Mom had a happy childhood. There were lots of brothers and sisters. There were the animals, especially horses. And plenty of work to do.

The girls learned to cook from Grandma who was the absolute best cook ever. They kept a garden and canned  or pickled what they did not use for meals. Mom could make jelly, jam, or butter from any fruit.

Evelyn was the valedictorian of her graduating class. She was the most intelligent person I have ever known.

Mom was also artistic .Her first love was literature. It was probabloy because of her that my whole family reads. She even passed it on to Daddy. (He made her a sports nut so they were even.)

Mom had short stories published in women's magazines when I was a child. As a matter of fact the first meal I cooked by myself was because she had a meeting with publishers in another town and did not get home on time. Bacon and scrambled eggs were the fare of the day. I was either 6 ot 7.

She also sketched. When she began working with charcoals she drew portraits of out eachers for us to give them as Christmas gifts.

She painted too. I wonder what happened to all those things.

Because her parents used to play for barn dances (Grandpa played guitar, banjo, and fiddle; Grandma played piano.) Mom decided to learn to play the piano. She read a few books and practiced a lot. She would not have been able to play Carnegie Hall but you could tell what she was playiing.

So Melvan and Evelyn married. I think Daddy liked being part of a loving family. They spent their honeymoon at my grandparents' farm.

One of those days they decided to go hunting. When they came back Daddy was carrying Mom. She had shot herself in the foot. For years an occasional ball from the shotgun shot would work its way toward the surface of her foot and she would have to remove it.

to be continued......


  1. Ooops safety first when carrying a gun, I was taught that at a very early age. Sad that you do not have some of her art work, it would have been great to have kept some of it. Wonderful memories.
    have a great weekend Diane

    1. It was one of those stories that could have been tragic but over time has become a funny tale instead. It is sad that we do not hae any of her artwork. We moved a lot over the years. With each move some things were left behind. Her artwork was one of those things.

  2. Awwww.....lovely. Waiting for a new installment.

    1. It will come. I am trying to give you a small break between installments.

  3. Did your father tease your mother about shooting herself in the foot?

  4. Great memories and so well told. :-)

    Greetings from London.

  5. Sounds like your mother was one amazingly talented woman. Doesn't surprise me that she was a good writer, you are a lot like your Mom!

    1. My mother was a wonder. My father was an artist too. I still have a set of sailing ships he made using scrap wood and epoxy. He even made the frames himself.

  6. I absolutely loved this story of your parent's life dearest Emma!!!

    sorry that your grandpa was died with heart attack which was may be result of his excessive drinking!

    Just like your dear father i am also the unfortunate to not be able to say last goodbye to my dear father and i can relate to his pain which he carried in his heart in his whole life

    I truly felt happy that your father became the part of loving family when he married your dear mother who was raised as amazing cherished child in happy environment!

    this is wonderful that she was multitalented lady and had deep love for literature .i smiled over the mention of your first cooking at so young age :)
    looking forward to next part my friend eagerly!

    1. I am glad you enjoyed it. I was often amazed at how loving and caring a family man my father was. He certainly had no good role models when he was growing up.