Sunday, July 28, 2013

Aunt Opal's Memories - Chapter 1 - Part 1

While I was visiting my Aunt Opal Vega for her 85th birthday celebration she let me have a copy of her Memories that she had written down. I am transcribing them to this blog so that as many people as possible will be able to see them.

Grandma Reeve, Edith May Lewis, was born in De Moines, Iowa, on July 19, 1877.  At a young age, her mother, Nancy Jane Swan Lewis went to take care of her parents for ten or twelve years.  Edith and her father, John Henry Vreland Lewis, were not allowed to go.

Her father came to visit his sister in Tennessee.  While there he took sick and died. He is buried in St. Elmo's Cemetery at the foot of Lookout Mountain. Aunt Lola and Aunt Fay (Reeve) Prowant looked it up when visiting Donna and Bill near Chattanooga, Tennessee several years ago. Many of us cousins have visited his grave.

Grandma went to school in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1891. She visited the Chicago World's Fair in 1892. She had three sisters (Jenny, Ella, and Ida), and two brothers (Frank and Charles). Charles was a state senator from the thirty-eighth district in California. He also owned several drugstores and became wealthy. He lost it all during the depression. He visited the family in Kansas when my mother, Hazel Reeve Lawry, was young.

My grandpa, William Urbin Reeve (always called Urbin) was born in Nicoma) Illinois, in May, 1875. He had two sisters and two brothers (Ida, Edith, Ira, Leslie, and Ivan).

Grandma and Grandpa met during his days of delivering milk where Grandma worked. They were married on May 24, 1895, in Canton, Illinois. Three of their children were born there (Alma, Zenella, and Robert). Robert only lived a few days.

In 1902 they moved to a farm east of Altoona, Kansas. Four children were born there (Orval (Pete), Hazel, Jessie, and Fay.

After moving to Wickes, Arkansas, more children were born (Lola, Dolly Fern, and Leslie). Dolly Fern lived less than two years. While there Grandpa Reeve was Justice of the Peace for that area. He performed marriages, etc.

When my mother, Hazel was about 18 years of age they moved back to Kansas in three covered wagons. This was in about 1924. They invested in the Petite homestead a few miles out of Thayer, Kansas. The house there was a Sears Roebuck pre-cut house.  Mr. Petite's daughter, Mrs. Frank Perkins, and family lived next door on a farm. They only lived there a short time as farming was not Grandpa Reeve's thing. They sold it to Orval and Osa who moved up from Arkansas when Viola (she was born on September 12, 1925) was about six months old.

                                            HAZEL REEVE

In a letter from Uncle Les Reeve---He said that when they moved back to Kansas they had comfortable beds in each wagon which Grandpa Reeve made in his black smith shop. They were three weeks along the way. They picked cotton on the way while in Oklahoma. They had a pet squirrel and a pet dog with them.

I remember my mother saying that one problem was there were no restrooms along the way. (From Derral Reeve's book, they stopped in Oklahoma and picked cotton for two weeks. So it must have taken three weeks to travel the three hundred miles from Wickes, Arkansas to Thayer, Kansas).

Grandma became a Seventh-day Adventist in her youth. Seems she never lived near a church but Aunt Fay said she gathered her children together every Sabbath morning and studied with them. In Arkansas they went to a community church. Grandpa was a Dunkard but as far as I know he never went to church. In his very last years he gave up his snuff and gave his heart to Christ.

Les said grandma insisted they move back to Kansas so the children could get a better education. Alma and Zenella had already moved back to Kansas and married. Jessie was a secretary. She worked at Enterprise Academy. Fay, Lola, and Leslie all attended the academy there. Jessie met Uncle John Borton while there and married him. Aunt Fay went to western Kansas to teach church school. While there two brothers, her students, lost their mother. She later married their father, Uncle Les Prowant. The two boys were Donald and Derral. Derral went to Enterprise while Lola was attending. They married. (Uncle Leslie Reeve went on to Madison College and became a nurse where he met and married Aunt Helen Lamberton Reeve from the state of Washington. He served in the Air Force then returned to attend Loma Linda and became a doctor. He was the only one of the family to attend college.

After selling the farm to Orval and Osa, Grandma and Grandpa moved to Buffville. Grandpa Reeve went to work at the brickyard. All the people who lived there worked at the brick yard. There was a small store and a rooming house. My father stayed at the rooming house.

                                             BEN LAWRY

Uncle Les told me this in a letter---He said that Mom and Aunt Lola delivered milk to the boarding house and Daddy began talking to them and then walked home with them and then would sit on the porch and talk. Les and Lola would crawl under the porch and listen, 'till Daddy caught them once.'

Mom and Daddy were married on September 30, 1927 . Daddy had been married before and had a son, Lloyd, about 9 years of age. His mother was raised by strict grandparents who wouldn't let her go out much. She really liked a faster kind of life than Daddy liked. Lloyd told me he tried to bring her back, but she did not want him. Later she was very sick and came back to his family. My mother said she sat and talked and cried with her and she told Mom she was thankful Mom could care for Lloyd. She died. Mom and Lloyd were always close. Daddy was eleven years older than Mom.

We lived in Buffville until the brickyard closed down. I was born there. We then rented different places and Daddy did whatever he could find to do, mostly on farms. Of course it was the depression years and no one had much.

We lived in a farm house near Buffville when Delbert was born. Daddy and Grandpa were in Colorado harvesting broomcorn at that time. Lloyd had to go to the neighbors in the middle of the night to call the doctor when Delbert was born. Lloyd said they got ice from the ice man and made ice cream a lot. Grandma Reeve was staying with them while Grandpa was gone. I guess that was why my mother was never crazy about ice cream and Delbert weighed twelve pounds. Mom said when Daddy came home he had a red beard and when he kissed me I said "stick you me" and he shaved it off.

                             LLOYD, DELBERT, AND OPAL

That house burned down while we were all away. I was bare foot and my shoes burned up. All the neighbors could save was a cedar chest Lloyd had made at school; in it were Delbert's baby clothes which were too small for him. I believe Jane Ellen has that chest now.


1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful way of honoring your forebears!
    You are an excellent writer and the stories are fascinating.