4.5.2; HOW SHE IS;

 

Sensitive; Not that she’s “touchy’. (Well maybe sometimes she is). When she sees a dog limping in the gutter, she shares his pain and wants to do something about it. She talks to people. (I may have said that before). The world is full of people who talk, but she is one of the precious few who listens and remembers how many children the person has and what is special about them. She has such empathy for people, especially those who are, in some way helpless. She often sympathizes and rarely judges. In spite of our experiences with Paul, she cannot work with the disabled, because, I believe, she shares their disability. This sensitivity may be due to her early years visiting Buddy at a time when the helpless were ignored and mistreated.

 

  She is also sensitive in another way, especially so since she has been taking so much medication. Her skin is so delicate, (She loves to use that word), that it reacts to common things such as deodorant, adhesive tape, wool and a few other things. For one who comes on as tough and, for some people, intimidating, she has this tender and very feminine side. Many years ago there was an advertisement for a product, whose name I have forgotten. Their motto was, “tough, but oh so gentile”. I think that’s her.

 

Generous, to a fault; When she was small, she was always doing one of two things; Preaching, telling the other kids what was right and what was wrong, or; Sharing, taking little Rosie, the mistreated girl down the street to a, (nickel), ice cream cone. She never got rich working for Sears, partly because she was always finding some great bargain that would look so cute on Elizabeth, or somebody, or would make me look so sharp. When we were traveling, it was always something like “Don’t you wish Jeffrey could see this castle?” She never said, “If I won the lottery, I would buy this for us and we could go and do…..”. It was more like, We could take all our family on a tour of Europe, so they could see what the rest of the world is like”. If she did win the lottery we would be broke in a year, but our kids would all have new homes.

 

   She always checks to make sure that I give the waiter a proper tip. She spoils her brother Buddy with presents and goodies, then buys shirts and things for the “have-nots” who don’t have family, and brings candy and things for the staff. She tries to spoil her sponsored boy Edin, in Guatemala, but the postal limitations limit how much she can send. That doesn’t stop her from wishing him happy birthday, merry Christmas and congratulations on being

promoted in school. If she wasn’t paying the bills at our house, we would be deep in debt. With her paying the bills, we are solvent, but, thanks to her generosity we aren’t rich in terms of money, but we are rich in the things that count. She is just as generous with her “time and talents” (as they like to say in church), volunteering her services, and sometimes mine at church or wherever needed. Did I already say she is generous in offering solace to anyone in need?

 

Vain; to a point. Joan is a stickler for propriety. She likes to dress well, appropriately for the occasion. In addition to bargains she buys for others, she also buys for herself. I accuse her of having more pairs of shoes than Imelda Marcos. (You may have to look her up in the history books, under Philippines.) She would rather leave late for work than go wearing something “inappropriate”. I have seen her change her outfit two or three times just to go to church on Saturday night. She may buy something, take it home, and then decide it doesn’t look right and return it. Her co-workers love to tease her about her frequent returns. Or, she may leave it hang in her closet for a year, and then donate it to a friend or relative. Her vanity flows over to my attire. I seldom buy anything to wear except shoes. She keeps me in clothes and in style. (I have been known to change my outfit once or twice before going to church also.) So, if she is vain, we all benefit from her vanity.

 

Proper; This category is hard to define. Words like perfectionist, obsessive, determined and tenacious all fall short of defining her. First and foremost is her orderliness. Secondly, there is propriety. She is a lady and will be treated as such. She does not allow co-workers to use foul language in her presence. The workers respect this. She has other measures of propriety. She doesn’t allow pink Kleenex in the kitchen, nor white Kleenex in the bathroom.

  People ridicule her for being a “neat freak” and she resents it. (So do I.) She doesn’t ridicule other people for being disorganized slobs. Her life has had many disruptions and was (and is) disorderly in many ways beyond her control. She requires order in things she can control. With six children, each with a multiplicity of toys it was logical that each keep his own toys under control. So we had rows of shoe boxes filled with toys. She paid a price for her neatness by way of extra work. Phil used to make his bed in the morning. But he complained that she made it over “properly”. So she wound up making eight beds each day.  There may be a little backlash in evidence. Some of these same children who kept their toys in proper shoe boxes, dressed up for church, and hung up their clothes when they came home, have become litterbugs whose cars are single seaters because the other five seats are filled with trash.

.

      

                                   

 

5.0 MISCELLANEOUS

 

 

ANIMALS WE HAVE KNOWN

 

In addition to people and events, animals have affected my way of life and that of my family. Some of them are listed herein.

 

Trixie, 1933-1944 (approx)

My first pet, a “Scottie”, very popular at the time because of President Roosevelt’s Scotch Terrier, Fala. Bought at El Clair kennels “way out” on Natural Bridge road.

She was a natural “old maid’’, never spayed, never pregnant, never wandered far from home. She was very friendly, though she didn’t like mailmen. (I wonder why most dogs don’t.) We had no fence, so she wandered around freely. She followed me, on foot or on my bike, around the neighborhood. When she got tired and the weather was warm, she would walk very slowly through the shady spots, and hurry past the sunny spots.

Her long wiry hair could get tangled and matted. This was worst when she visited construction sites. They were building new houses in the neighborhood, and there were no porta-potties. They just put up a temporary “outhouse”, and Trixie was known to visit them, to my parents’ consternation. Yes, I was spoiled, they didn’t make me clean up the mess. (Maybe they were afraid I would make it worse.) I believe she “died in her sleep”.

 

Rocky, 1954-1958?

I bought Rocky, a boxer pup, from a co-worker shortly after we were married, as a surprise. As we didn’t want too big a dog, I got the runt of the litter This was not a wise choice, as he was never really healthy. He thought he was an only child at first. We took him with us to friend’s homes, on picnics and places that tested our friend’s loyalty to us. He was somewhat “gassy”, a fact that our friends later commented on. When Steve was born, he became very upset and “neurotic”. The vet had us give him tranquillizers. He was an escape artist. He would find a way over the fence, and I would change the fence and he would find another way out, etc, etc. He ran away a couple times and we got him back. Then once he ran off and didn’t come back. There were “wild” dog packs in the county then and we suspected he may have joined one or been attacked by them. (He also didn’t like mailmen and we had one living next door.)

 

Tweety was a blue and gray parakeet. He, (I think we decided it was a he), flew into our yard about 1955. He was not much of a talker. He stayed with us until the doctor told us Phil was probably allergic to him. We gave him to my aunt Ella, who had him for a couple more years. We suspect St. Francis sends creatures to Doctor Joan from time to time.

 

Hildagarde, The 1960’s. she was a stubborn Dachshund. A knothead who would not behave and was not very friendly. She resisted “potty” training. Her favorite trick to play on me would be to hide under the furniture and dare me to come and get her.

She had been spayed, but she came up with a case of “false pregnancy”, complete with swollen teats and milk, followed by medication and love.

I don’t think she ever bit our boys, but she bit several of their friends. She didn’t like it when they left our yard to go home so she would bite one friend, then be “under observation for rabies” for two weeks. Before the two weeks expired, she would have bitten another friend. She wound up at the dog pound.

 

Tropical fish and reptiles, various, including;

Baby guppies, including Siamese twins joined at the head, who lived a few days and were then preserved in alcohol.

A baby guppy with its mouth propped open by a pebble. Dr. Joan operated and it survived.

Various fish with Ick., which Joan netted and treated.

Fish which survived the trip from Ferguson water to Spanish lake water.

Dimestore” turtles, including “grandpa” who used to beg for braunschweiger an outlived all the rest and died from chemicals in the new pipes at our new house in 1959.

 

Penny was a dog pound puppy. She was part Doberman, tall enough to eat off of the kitchen table with all feet on the floor. (Which she sometimes did.) She was friendly, cute but large. When we moved to Wichita, my new employer, Learjet, had her flown to Wichita. We weren’t here very long when she was found on the road, apparently hit by a car. When the vet looked at her, he determined that he had been shot and was paralyzed. We thought we knew who did it, but had no proof. The same boy was involved with our next pet, Benjamin. We had to put Penny to sleep.

 

Benjamin, a poodle, was bought from a woman who lived nearby and had a kennel, of sorts. We believe he was mistreated by the woman’s son, (the one we suspected of shooting Penny), for he was very timid acting. We only had him for a few weeks or months. We have never had a fenced yard, and Maple street was a busy thoroughfare. One day he disappeared, and out neighbor, Jim Kill, found him in the ditch alongside Maple. He buried him for us.

 

There was a sparrow who adopted us for some reason or other. We can’t recall how it came about, but it is safe to presume that he was young and injured and “Dr. Joan” nursed him (or her) back to health. She tried to turn him loose afterwards, but he always came back to our porch at night. One day he was in one of our trees and Joan was trying to coax him to leave. Later, our neighbor, Bobbie, asked Joan if we had a pet bird. She had seen Joan talking to him and was relieved to find that she was not just talking to a tree. Once the bird went across the street to visit Harlan, working in his garage. He was all excited about this wild bird, till his wife explained that it was “just another of the Otto’s “pets”. He never got a name. Finally, one night he didn’t come home.

 

 

 

Hamlet was a gray kitten one of the boys brought home. There was nothing unusual about him until he delivered a litter of four kittens, and he became Hamletta. We didn’t have her very long and, after the first surprise, she didn’t do anything memorable.

 

Romeo was a black and white cat, mostly black. He was very friendly and “laid Back”, not having many of the feline characteristics that I disliked. I don’t remember how we acquired him. He died of a liver ailment, not more than two or three years old. We later wondered if he was so “laid back” because he wasn’t well.

 

Juliet was a “dog pound” dog, mostly terrier. She was the smartest dog we ever had as well as the one we had for the longest time. Joan and the boys got her while I was working in St. Louis. She was acting cute and seemed to be saying, “take me, take me!” She was easy to train and very friendly. She recognized many words. You should have seen her ears perk up when Joan said “cookie”. We had to sedate her on the fourth of July because she loved fireworks and kept running towards the firecrackers. When the boys played soccer, she played along with them. She would run along, controlling the ball between her neck and shoulder. She was friend and “mentor” with our duck. (See next paragraph.) She was a good traveler and once went with us to the canyon in Colorado. She died peacefully at age 16 after her organs shut down.

 

Lord Byron, aka Lady B, was a “wild” mallard. Phil picked up two eggs from a nest at the Lakeshore Club, as it was called then, a nice clean “sand pit” lake suitable for swimming and fishing. He brought them home and hatched them in a quail incubator. One of them died after a few days, (Actually, it drowned,) and the other was called Lord Byron, until he failed to develop male coloring, at which time she became Lady B. She grew to maturity, not knowing if her “mother” was Phil or Juliet. I built her a pen in which she slept and ate, but she had the run of the yard most of the time, and, occasionally was allowed in the house. For some reason we kept the pen locked. Everyone at work knew about her as I was always getting calls inquiring as to where the “duck key” is. She followed Juliet about the yard, trying to bark when Juliet did, following her to the small pond across the street for a swim. When Juliet played soccer, she would try to do the same, but she was too small to move the ball very far. She never showed much inclination to try to fly. She would watch the birds fly by. We sat her on a fence, hoping she would fly down. We ran around the yard, “flapping” our wings, to no avail. She had a “nest” with shelter, but wouldn’t use it. One winter the exposure was too much for her and she died in the spring, partly from “foot rot”.

 

Nameless wren. Sherry brought it home from high school with broken wing. Joan took it to Dr. Bogue, one of the few vets who worked with birds. After he carefully wrapped the wing to it’s body, Joan advised him that he wrapped the wrong wing. Unwilling to unwind it, he wrapped the other wing too. As I came home from work that night, the phone was ringing and, while I was answering, I saw this thumb-sized mummy running around in a bird cage. When Joan showed up I asked, “So what else is new? It died in about two days, but it had a ball while it lived.

 

Bebe, the bird, was a cowbird, brought to us by Mary Ann, (Steve’s first wife). She found it under a robin’s nest. We later learned that cowbirds lay their eggs in other bird’s nest, hoping that the mother can’t count. We fed her and found a cage for her. Cowbirds are moochers and thieves in the wild. This one would climb on my shoulder and pull a cigarette out of the pack in my shirt pocket. She would pick a flake of cereal out of the boy’s bowl. She had epileptic seizures, and we were so silly we took her to doc Bogue and gave her medicine, till one day she had a big seizure and died.

 

Bridget was the first shih tzu I had ever seen. Phil and Sherri found her wandering the street on a stormy night. They checked the neighborhood and papers and no one claimed her so they thought she would be safe at our house. She had strange habits that we found later were typical of the breed. She would take one bite out of her dish carry it away, eat it and get another bite. She was terrified of storms, probably why she got lost. She hated to ride in the car and made weird, pitiful  un-doglike” sounds while doing so. We only had her for a couple months. We couldn’t teach her to stay in the yard and a neighbor, (driving too fast) ran over her in front of our house.

 

October was a (totally) black cat of nine lives.  He was about half grown when he adopted John, while he was living in Colorado. When John came back to our house, October came with him. He was somewhat timid and we suspected he had been mistreated before John got him. One time, when Joan accidentally cornered him, he bit her near her Achilles tendon, then ran off. (We thought he was scared) The cut was deep and infected. He came back and, like all our animals, started to train us. For his next adventure he got run over by a car right in front of our house. The car straddled him, but squashed the end of his tail. The vet had to amputate part of it. A few years later, I heard him whimpering underneath the deck, and couldn’t coax him out. I cut a board out of the deck and found him, unable to move. After $200 and three nights at the vet’s, he was not making much progress and the vet asked if we wanted him put away. John had moved to a new apartment and decided to bring him there and wait a few days and see what happened. We decided he had had a stroke. He could barely move. John laid him gently on his sofa and went to get him a drink of water. When he came back, the cat had jumped down and started to explore his new home. For months he walked, cross-eyed and staggering like a drunk. Some of John’s apartments were not “cat friendly” so he moved back with us, became sociable and laid back and lived to age 22, in good health, except for about the last six months. We had him and Ami-Kate put to sleep at the same time.

 

Ami-Kate was a “black and white” shi-tzu. Because we liked Bridget, we thought we would like another shi-tzu. We bought her from an “Air Force” couple at McConnell AFB. She was so small she could stand on her hind legs at the foot of a step and barely reach the next step with her front paws. She was all fuzzy and looked like anewok” from the Star Wars movies. She was very playful and affectionate. She was also very sassy. At first she was called Amy, but she was so sassy Joan added Kate after the Kate in “the taming of the shrew”. When I came home she would “greet” me by leaping halfway across the room, landing in my lap and licking me “nose to nose”. Oddly we have never had a dog who would “fetch and bring back”. They all fetched and ran.. She had the shih-tzu traits. Take a bite of food, carry it away, eat and go get another bite. Also, she would only eat out of her dish. She wouldn’t lick the plates, even for something she loved. She would “speak” by growling. She hated to ride in the car and made weird noises while doing so. She loved Paul and he loved her. We couldn’t bring him from his room to the breakfast table without her in his lap. She licked his face, which was the only part of him with sensation. She would eat M&M’s off his pillow. After 14 years her sight and her hearing slowly failed her and her quality of life deteriorated. Once she wandered off and got lost and a kind driver picked her up and returned her. As noted, we had her put down the same day as October.

 

Bebe is a black and tan miniature dachshund. She was “donated” to us by granddaughter Brandi and her children. Brandi told them that ami-kate’s health was failing and she would soon die and the kids really missed her. I was not convinced that we needed another dog so soon, but, they offered to lend her for a weekend, and you can guess how that worked. She is cute, stubborn, conniving and very loving, a licker and cuddler. When we got her she was about seven months old and had formed some habits of her own. She is extremely affectionate, cuddly and “licky”. She jumps up in my lap, as Ami-Kate did and tries to lick my mouth. She decided to sleep in our beds, not at the foot of the bed, but under the covers. I always said only fools and barbarians sleep with dogs. I wonder which one I am. She needs company and physical contact. She has to have her nose on your leg, or in your lap or under your arm. When we left her alone, with the run of the house, she tore up carpets, damaged doors and spitefully piddled on the floor. When kept in her carrier, she is peaceful. She is a tramp and a thief. She will go to anyone and loves to tour the neighborhood, plunging through all the culverts under the driveways. We have an electric containment system that keeps her in the back yard. She steals and chews clothes, pencils, toys, medicine containers, socks, tools, etc, etc, and hides them under our beds, (her hideout). She also runs under the beds with a bite of cookie or a snack, and when she has been scolded or she wants to pout.  She is a hound and a moocher. She scarfs down food ravenously, will eat almost anything. (Certain things she doesn’t approve of, such as “cheap” vanilla wafers.) She begs shamelessly and, when invited, licks the platter clean. She has a loud and sassy bark, a whimper and a little “squeak” when she wants to be let in. She loves to ride in the car, although she prefers the air conditioned comfort of the sedan and sometimes refuses to get in my truck. When I pick up my car keys, she can hear it anywhere in the house and is waiting for me. If she is in the back yard and the garage door opens, or the car door slams, she is there. She also has ESP. She always knows when we are going to leave her. Then she hides under the bed. Sometimes she knows I am going out before I know it. Her biggest problem is she knows if she is cute enough, she doesn’t have to behave            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MOVIES;

 

I have been asked what is my favorite Movie. I don’t have one. My favorite movies are those I could watch once a year and not get tired of them. There are many outstanding and excellent movies, which I wouldn’t care to see repeatedly. My “top ten”, in alphabetical order, are:

 

*The African Queen

 

Love can come to “old timers”, love conquers all. Old(er) people can be interesting, too.

Quote: Nature, mister Ornott, is what we are put here to overcome.

 

*The Battle of Britain

 

Authentic “Air War” movie, which shows how close we came to losing WW II, when Britain stood alone against the forces of evil

 

*The Bridge on the River Kwai

 

Illustrating the madness of war.

Quotes; I suppose if I were you, I should have to kill myself

               I have already given the order

              We shall build a “proper” bridge

              There’s always the unexpected, isn’t there?

              There’s always one more thing to do

               Madness, madness

 

*Fiddler on the roof

 

Tradition, and how “our children” can ignore it. (When I first saw it, I was like the “papa”, and my children were straying from the traditions we had been raised with.)

 

Quotes; Would it spoil some vast eternal plan, if I were a wealthy man?

 

*Gone With the Wind

 

A real feeling of what the Civil War, and the aftermath, was like

Quotes; Don’t cut, don’t cut!! (at the medical center in the railroad yard)

             I’ll think about that tomorrow

             Frankly, my dear,…..

 

*The Lilies of the Fields

 

God’s providence, as wielded by a bunch if nuns. You have to be Catholic and know nuns to appreciate it

 

Quotes; I done builded you a schurch.   Aaamen, aaamen, aamen, amen, amen.

 

*The Quiet Man

 

You have to have some Irish in your background to appreciate it.

Quotes; You see that road there. Don’t take it, it’ll not get you there.

              It’s just five miles, just a good stretch of the legs

              He’ll regret it till his dying day, if he should live so long.

                Americans! Pro-hibition

 

*The Ten Commandments

 

The most extravagant, colorful, interesting production of it’s time

Quotes; His God, IS God.

 

*The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

 

How gold turns loyal friends into distrustful enemies

Quotes You’re so dumb you don’t know gold when you’re standing on it

             Fred C Dobbs is not a man to be trifled with

             Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges

 

*The Wizard of Oz

 

Just a fun movie. Singing, magic, special effects, a moral to the story.

Quotes; Somewhere, over the rainbow

              Follow the yellow brick road

              Lions and tigers and bears, oh my

              I’m not a bad person, I’m just a bad wizard

              There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.

 

I know there have been excellent movies made within the last thirty years, but I don’t think I would care to watch them once a year. (Saving Private Ryan is a great and important movie but I wouldn’t want to see it on a yearly basis.) Maybe I’m just a slow learner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who has faith?

 

 

Does anyone have absolute faith? We like to think we do, but what would you if you were Pedro?

Pedro was tending his sheep, walking along a narrow trail above a cliff. Suddenly, there was a landslide and Pedro fell off the edge, managing to grab a protruding bush, the only thing keeping him from a 400 foot fall.

 

In desperation he called, “Is anybody up there?”

I AM HERE, came a deep voice.

Who are you?

I am GOD

Will you help me?

YES,

DO YOU BELIEVE IN ME/

Yes

WILL YOU DO AS I SAY?

Yes

FIRST, LET GO OF THE BUSH

………..

………..

Is anybody else up there?

 

 

 

Would you let go?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHY?

 

Dear Joan;                                                                                    5-4-2004                                                                        

 

 A few days ago you asked me “why I fell for you”.

It didn’t happen all at once, but it got off to a fast start.

It wasn’t the first time I was impressed or intimidated by a pretty girl.

There was Betty Ann Bocklage, an older woman, an eighth grader when I was in seventh. She was a baby-faced blond, my weakness. Then there was Rose Marie Brennan, a brunette. I think we were in the same grade but not in the same class at St Ann’s School.

Then there was Dolores, (last name forgotten), a really pretty petite blond I met on a blind date in college. I guess I was not a very aggressive “suitor” and she moved on.

 

It may have been “hair of gold and eyes of brown, the prettiest girl in this old town” that got my attention, (even the “see-thru” blouse), but it was your spunk, perkiness, and completely open attitude that drew me to you. Irreverent, outspoken, in awe of no one, sympathetic to everyone, full of love and full of fun is what you were and are. It was your complete “openness” that did it. It was the fact that it didn’t show that you had lost your favorite brother and that your mother was in poor health and your parent’s divorce was very stressful on you. Your positive attitude was contagious.

 

It was the girl in the gingham dress who would “bum a cigarette” from my dad the first time they really got together, set off a firecracker at work, refused to do act busy when she was caught up, and instead chose to drive her bosses crazy.

 

In searching for a one-word definition of what attracted me to you, the closest I can come to is the word uninhibited. If there is a word that is the opposite of hypocrite it fits you. Open, frank, “what you see (and hear) is what you get”, you are as un-phony as you are funny. As one who has been inhibited all my life,(I have dived into the water a thousand times and never tried a back flip, never tried to fall on my back and bounce to my feet on a trampoline), I appreciate someone who has nothing to hide.

 

Maybe, in the back of my mind, I thought it safe to approach you because you were “safely” going steady. Maybe it was the “forbidden fruit” aspect that urged me on. Or maybe I just enjoyed being alive, whenever you were near.

 

Whatever the reason, I think it turned out rather well for me!   Love, me

                                                                      

                                                                                               XOXOX

                                                                                                 XOX

                                                                                                     X

 

 

6.0 

 

Part II

 

 

Joan’s

 

Stories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A grandmother’s book

 

Questions by: Kristen Otto (now Zimmerman), granddaughter

 

Answers by: Joan L Otto (Grandma)

 

Where were you born?

St Louis, Mo.

 

What was the month, day and year?

December 18, 1932, Sunday, about 10 AM.

 

How much did you weigh, at birth?

I weighed 5 pounds and was a breech birth, as was your grandpa.

 

What were your parent’s names? How old were they?

My mother’s name was Ruth and my dad was Will. Mother was 30 and my dad was 40 when I was born. I was their only daughter.

 

Where were you when I was born?

Grandpa and I were spending all our time, at the same hospital where you were born, staying with your uncle Paul, who had been in a serious car accident.

 

Did you predict whether I would be a boy or girl?

Your mother was so small when she carried you, I couldn’t predict.

 

How did you find out I had arrived?

Your dad called us. (Both you and your brother.)

 

Who were the first people you told?

We can’t remember, probably your uncle Paul.

 

Did you suggest a name, or names, for me?

No we didn’t. Your parents were very decisive about your names.

 

When and where was the first time you saw me?

A couple days after you were born. You were so tiny they kept you in an incubator. You had your eyes wide open, lying on your tummy, with your little behind sticking up. You were moving around quite a lot for a little preemie.

 

Was there anything unusual about the circumstances of your birth?

I was really small and a breech birth- doubled over- rear first. My mother took castor oil to bring me on because she wanted to have her baby on a Sunday. I was her only daughter and I was born on a Sunday.

 

What was your full name? Does your name have a special meaning?

I was called Joan rather than Jo Ann because my mother did not want anyone to call me Jo. She had three boys and didn’t want me called by a boy-sounding name. My second name, Lorraine, was the name of my mother’s friend’s daughter, whom she said was a beautiful model.

 

What was the first home you remember? What did it look like?

A four family flat on Arlington Street in St. Louis, on the north end of town. I just remember my parents’ bed and an old ice box in the kitchen.

 

Who were your neighbors?

I don’t remember. There were so many, many kids to play with when you lived in the city. We had so much fun.

 

Who was your best friend?

A girl by the name of Mardel Lived down the street from the second house we lived in on Arlington.

 

Who were your other friends?

 

Mostly my cousins, Jean Krach and Joy Pomeroy, and we were always getting in trouble, especially Jean and I.

 

Do you still have any favorite things that you had as a child?

No I don’t. In later years my parents divorced and mother got rid of a lot of things.

 

Note: City flats we grew up in were pretty much the same. A living room, and next to it a dining room everyone used as a bedroom, and behind it a kitchen and bathroom and sometimes a small bedroom in the back. There were 2 family and 4 family flats. 1 or 2 families upstairs and 1 or 2 families downstairs. Very little yards. Big lampposts all along the streets. Hardly any closet space. Being the only girl, I slept mostly in the hall on a roll-away bed.

 

Did you have brothers/sisters when you were young? When were they born?

I had 4 brothers. Vernon- Jan 1921, Mickey- May 1924, Bill- Jun 1926 and Buddy- July1934.

 

What do you remember about your room?

I never had my own room. I slept on a roll-away bed, (a portable bet that folded in half), in the hall or at the foot of my parents’ bed. Lots of people did this in that time.

 

What were your favorite toys?

A doll I got on my second or third birthday. It was broken by my little brother. I remember how bad I felt. I had a little wash machine, (with a little roller to squeeze the water out of your clothes- not like today’s washers.)

 

What were your favorite games?

Jump rope and hop scotch. Roller skating. We had lots of sidewalks. In the summer we played outside under the lampposts. King of the hill. School on the steps. (Hide and seek) We had lots of games.

 

What is the first present you remember giving? To whom?

 

I remember giving my purse to my little cousin. (I was 7 and she was about 3.) She was in the hospital and very ill. She died shortly after I saw her. It touched me deeply. She was so sweet and beautiful.

 

What is the first present you remember receiving?

Christmas presents on my second Christmas. My mother had all the toys sitting under the tree. I still remember how wonderful it looked, like a fairy tale.

 

Do you have favorite stories?

Favorite stories came from my grandma King about the olden days when Indians still roamed the country.

 

Did you have a secret hiding place?

Behind the sofa, especially if I had been bad. We had a closet in the hall that went under the stairway that went to the flat upstairs. It was a great place to hide and be alone. I was such a dickens I hid quite often.

 

Did your family have any pets? What kind? What were their names?

Yes, Dogs, Queenie. I let her follow me home one day and shortly after she had 11 puppies.

 

Did you have favorite relatives?

My grandma Rogers and my aunt Esther. I shared a lot of my growing up years with my cousin Jean. We had tendencies to get into trouble. What one didn’t think of, the other did.

 

Did you have a nickname? How did you get it?

No, though sometimes my two oldest brothers called me Patricia. That’s what they wanted my mother to name me when I was born.

 

Did you like it or dislike it?

I didn’t like my name till I got older. I always wished I’d had a nickname. Now I’m glad I don’t.

 

Who took care of you if your parents were away?

My grandma King mostly. She told great stories about when she grew up. She was very sweet.

 

Did you have a grown up friend who was not a relative?

I recently lost a friend I went to grade school with. She was Pat Bello. She lived in Texas these last few years. We hadn’t seen each other for at least 25 years when she died, but we talked on the phone a lot.

 

What was the first movie you saw?

A Shirley Temple movie. I was 2 years old. We sat in the very last row. Mother was afraid I’d be noisy, is the reason we sat there. I never made a sound. I stood up the whole time. When we got home they couldn’t get me to stop dancing. I was so wound up they  like to never got me to bed. I remember it so plainly.

 

What were your favorite radio programs?

Major Bowes, ( Amateur Hour), Fibber McGee and Molly, The Goldbergs.

 

What were your favorite TV programs?

We didn’t have TV then. Not until I was about 13. Milton Berle’s show was a riot. We had Playhouse 90, mostly drama, and I loved it.

 

What indoor games did you play?

We played house and dress up. We played school. The best part of it was playing the teacher.

 

What outdoor games did you play?

Hop scotch, king of the hill, crack the whip. (Played on skates.)

 

Who did you play with?

We had lots of neighborhood kids living in a big city. The houses were so close together and each “flat” housed 2 to 4 families. And a lot of cousins lived very near us.

 

Note: When I look back at my childhood I realize what a boon it was to live in a big city. Movies down the street, so every Friday we’d all go and take a dime to get in and 5 cents for popcorn. Huge ice cream cones at the confectionary for 5 cents. The YMCA for free swimming. Old wonderful streetcars. I can still feel that sway and that lovely sound – clickety clack, clickety clack. Everything was right at your fingertips.

 

Is there one special early memory you have of your mother?

Sitting on her lap with my head resting on her soft bosom and hearing, (or feeling) her voice vibrating through her body. It made me feel so good and safe. It was lovely.

 

Is there one special early memory you have of your father?

Playing house on the pillows. I was allowed in my parent’s bed until my mother came to bed. I would set “pretend” dishes out and daddy would pretend to eat and drink out of them. And then he would sing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” or “When You Wore a Tulip and I Wore a Big Red Rose”, two very, very old songs. I just loved it.

 

Note: I slept in a baby bed next to my parents’ bed for about the first two years of my life and couldn’t go to sleep unless I held my father’s earlobe. I was slightly spoiled.

 

What grammar school did you go to and where was it?

Part of kindergarten at Gunlach, and the rest of kindergarten to 3rd grade at St. Edwards, and 4th to 8th grade at Blessed Sacrament on Kingshighway in St. Louis.

 

Who were your favorite teachers and what was special about them?

I had a nun in the 4th grade I just loved. She told me her name was Joan before she became a nun. I thought she was beautiful.

 

What were your favorite grammar school subjects?

Some English classes, handwriting and history.

 

Were you in any school plays or concerts?

Not in grade school. But we had a teen dance every Friday night in the 8th grade and I sang sometimes with the band.

 

What did you do after school?

I remember going to my friend Pat’s house or mine and eating mayonnaise on toast. We loved it. Or just going outside and playing with the neighbor kids.

 

Who were your best friends in grammar school?

Pat Bello, Pat Maguire, lots of others.

 

How late did you stay up during school nights?

I was always hard to get to bed early. I’m a night person. I imagine 9:30 to 10. Ten most likely.

 

What chores did you have at home?

My mom worked when I was about 9. I had to have the potatoes peeled and the beds made before she got home. I had a rather carefree childhood until I got into my teens when it came to chores.

 

What do you remember about your summer vacations?

Mostly to relatives in Indiana. No one had much money for vacations then. But we had fun right at home- swimming for free at Sherman Park or just sitting in an old washtub in the back yard.

 

What do you remember about the school buildings?

They seemed so big and scary. I went back when I was 58 and they looked so small.

 

Did you get an allowance?

Not that I can remember. In a time when folks didn’t have much my dad was always giving “his darling” quarters. That was a lot then.

 

How did you spend it?

Usually at the confectionary for goodies. I used to take a poor, mistreated Italian girl who lived across the street from me and treat her to ice cream and candy. I always liked her and I felt sorry for her. As hard up as my parents were, I don’t remember being denied much.

 

What high school did you go to?

St. Alphonsus (Rock High) on Grand avenue in St. Louis.

 

Who were your favorite high school teachers? What was special about them?

I can’t remember the nun’s name but she had a beautiful face but was hunchbacked. It was the first time I was teacher’s pet.

 

Who were the teachers you didn’t like? What do you remember about them?

I liked all the nuns who taught us, (Notre Dame nuns), but I had a lay teacher who disliked me intensely and I felt the same about her.

 

What were your favorite high school subjects?

History and English. I had a nun who taught Shakespeare by acting it out. I was enthralled and she thought I had very good writing abilities.

 

What subjects did you dislike?

Geography, Latin and algebra. I also did not like shorthand, I liked to party!

 

Who were your closest friends?

Pat Kickham, Jerry Harkins, lots of different girls. We were the “rowdy bunch”.

 

Were you on any school teams?

No. I was not very athletic. My brothers wanted me to be “feminine” and kept me that way.

 

Did you belong to any clubs?

I was not a club joiner.

 

Were you involved in any activities- newspapers, scholastics clubs, etc.?

No

 

Who was the most envied person in your school? Why?

I can’t think of any one person. I will say most of the girls with looks were in our “rowdy” gang, but I really liked our whole class.

 

What teacher influenced you the most?

The hunchbacked nun who befriended me. The kids made fun of her and she took it so well. She always carried herself with dignity, poise and a wonderful disposition.

 

Who did you date?

 Roge Brengle.

 

Was there someone you wanted to date but never did?

Not that I can remember.

 

What did you want to be or do when you were finished with high school?

Not get married right away. I wanted to work and have nice clothes and travel some. At one time I considered being a singer with a band but I didn’t pursue it very much.

 

Note: We married fairly young then, 18-20. I thought I was too young but I still married right before my 21st Birthday.

 

Did you ever fight with anyone? Who was it and what did you fight over?

I never really fought with anyone but I became very angry with a girl named Celeste. She borrowed my nicest dress that I just loved. It was navy blue and very “sophisticated”. She borrowed it and returned it all dirty. I felt like she did it on purpose. I never let anyone borrow my clothes again.

 

Did you have any part time jobs during the school year?

When I was 13 or 14 I worked in downtown St. Louis at Woolworths. (about 1944-45). Made about 50 cents an hour and did get up to 75 cents before I quit,

 

What did you like best about summer vacations?

Sleeping late. Always being a night person I just loved laying in bed in the morning and staying up later at night. We didn’t have air conditioning so going to bed long after dark when it cooled down was best.

 

Did you ever work during summer vacations? What did you do? How much did you earn?

Probably just some baby sitting at about 25 to 35 cents an hour.

 

What were your favorite books?

Scarlet Letter. We considered that really grownup reading in high school. I’m ashamed to say that I was not an avid reader.

 

What were your favorite movies?

King Kong, though I was in grade school when I saw it. I loved them all, especially the dramas with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. We went to the show at least once a week and sometimes more.

 

Who were your favorite athletes?

I didn’t have any except my boy friend who played lots of sports.

 

Who were your favorite actors?

Van Heflin, Glen Ford, James Cagney, Gary Cooper.

 

What were your favorite clothes?

A brown ordinary suit. I wore the skirt which was straight clear down to just above my ankles. My blue file suit I talked of before. It had a fitted bodice with a roll collar and the skirt was set in tiers

 

What were the major clothing fads?

Skirts and sweaters with your socks sometimes glued to your legs so they would stay up, and saddle oxfords. The skirts were long but in the summer shorts were really “short”.

 

What did you do in high school that gave you the most satisfaction?

Sang at many functions. And having lots of friends. The nuns were really interested in all of us and always had time for us. They taught me respect for others and myself.

 

What was the greatest disappointment you experienced? 

The teacher who was in charge of deciding who were wearing formals that were too revealing made me go home and get a jacket. The dress had wide straps and was not low cut at all. Father,  (out priest at school), was angry about it. He thought I looked great. The teacher and I had never gotten along.

 

Did you drive a car?

Not until I was about 18. Never had my own car. Rode busses and streetcars.

 

Who taught you to drive?

My boyfriend Rodge Brengle. I almost married him.

 

How did you get along with your mother?

Like most mothers and daughters we had our spats, but I admired and loved her so much. I never wanted to hurt her in any way.

 

How did you get along with your father?

My dad spoiled me all my life. He was a stubborn Irishman but I could always get my way. I loved my dad but as I grew older I realizes how his drinking interfered in our family life. But I still loved him very much.

 

Note: My parents were divorced when I was 13. A very traumatic event in my life. I understand why mom left dad. There was never anyone else for either of them. My mother’s health could not withstand my dad’s drinking and jealousy. She had a bad heart and she’d always worked so hard and had lots of sad events in her married life. She died at the young age of 55.

 

Who were the adults you considered friends?

I had a lot of relatives that I grew up with and considered friends, and my grandma, (on my mother’s side), was a very good friend to me. I loved her so much. I was her only granddaughter. When she and mom had words, she’d say “Joan’s the only one around here that has any sense”. She knew that made my mom mad.

 

 

What were your neighbors like?

We moved a lot when I was in high school but when I graduated we lived next door to a childhood friend of my mothers, Caroline Sweet.

 

Who did you have “crushes” on?

The first time I saw Roge Brengle I just about flipped”. He was 5 years older than I was, I always liked older boys. I saw him at a football game.

 

Did you fall in love with anyone?

I did with Roge for at least 2 1/2 years. I thought I was in love. Later when I was out of high school for a short while I thought I was in love with Ed Link, but it didn’t last.

 

Did you go to college? Where?

I didn’t want to go.

 

What friends have you stayed in touch with since childhood?

Pat Webb, nee Bello. She died in 1993. Went to grade school with her.

 

What friends have surprised you by keeping in touch?

Still occasionally go to Alumni get-together from high school in St. Louis, MO.

 

What friends have you meant to keep in touch with, but haven’t?

Pat Kickham from high school.

 

Who were your closest friends? How did you meet them?

Sonja and Jim Kill. They were our neighbors when we moved to Kansas. They were great to us. (Jim has since died). Also, Berdina Stephens, a nurse who took care of Paul in my home at the time of his death in 1992.

 

Have you ever gone to a reunion? What was it like?

I went to Alumni high school reunions in 1990, (40th), and 2000, (50th). I was thrilled that everyone knew me and that I didn’t look too shabby compared to the other “girls”.

 

Have you ever had a serious quarrel with a fiend? What happened?

Yes. Varlene Best. We had been good friends for 21 years, since we moved to Wichita. It was a silly matter. She had a habit of correcting me out in public. I finally told her I didn’t like it. I tried to get back with her and called her a few times, but she never called me. A friendship is a really sad, sad thing to lose.

 

What do you value most in a friendship?

Acceptance.

 

Who is the best friend you ever had?

Sonja Kill. I’ve confided more to her than to anyone.

 

When did you leave your parent’s home? Why and where did you move?

When I got married. We bought a little house in Ferguson, Mo. My dad said where we bought was “Fools Town”. (During the “great depression” in the late 1920’s and early 30’s, someone was developing the area where our 1st house was built, to build homes and everyone said they shouldn’t  because they’d lose their money. The depression came and they did lose all their money.)

 

What did your house look like? How large was it? How was it furnished?

It was a little frame house with a picture window in front and a nice front porch almost the length of the house. A “very” small kitchen, a “very” small dining room, a nice living room with a fireplace, two bedrooms and one bath. It had a walk out basement that had French doors and French windows. It was a “cute “ house. We bought very good furniture. We still have the same bedroom set and dining room set.

 

How long did you live there? Why did you move?

Six years. We moved into the (St. Louis) county to Northgate Estates, to a brick home that was larger. We moved because I was expecting our 4th baby and we outgrew the other house.

 

How many other houses or apartments have you lived in?

We moved from Northgate Estates to our present home in Wichita, Ks.

 

Do you have any furnishings that belonged to your parents?

No. We bought every thing new. Even had drapes made for the living and dining rooms in out first house. In-laws bought stove and refrigerators for us.

 

Note: The day all my new furniture arrived, (before we were married), my mother and I went out to wait for its delivery. I think she was as excited as I was. It was so much fun fixing and decorating our first house.

 

What was the least expensive home or apartment you’ve ever had?

Our first home.

 

What is the most expensive?

Our home we live in now.

 

Which homes or apartments have you enjoyed the most? Why?

I enjoyed them all. It was a new adventure each time. When we moved to Kansas, I wasn’t real happy. We were leaving the place I’d called home, St. Louis, up to that point in my life. Took me a year to make up my mind that this was my home. I still love St. Louis. If it wasn’t for my children, grandchildren, and now great grandchildren, I’d probably move back. Although the traffic there is really bad. I prefer getting around in Wichita.

 

What room have you liked the best in any of your homes?

The living room in my first home was very cheerful and had a beautiful fireplace. I liked the hardwood floors in my bedroom in our 2nd home- though I didn’t like to keep them up. In our present home I like the family room because I can look out on our lovely big yard.

 

What have been your favorite pieces of furniture?

I like my bedroom set, especially the beds. They are twin beds that swing from a nice big headboard. They’re special. I have a small cabinet type table that is special to me because my family gave it to me. I like to keep furniture when I can. There’s something warm and secure about old pieces that have been around since your wedding day. You can remember all those lovely times just by looking at them.

 

How did you meet my grandfather?

Your grandpa and I met at Emerson Electric, where we both worked. I was a clerk typist and he was an engineer.

 

How old were you, how old was he?

I was 18, he was 24.

 

What attracted you to each other?

The girl I worked with said, “Look at the new guy who just came in”. I looked at him and said, “Well he certainly isn’t my type”. Grandpa’s mother and father met at the same place and she felt the same way when she first saw Ray Otto, grandpa’s dad.

 

What memories do you have of aunts, uncles and such?

I had an aunt Esther, married to my dad’s brother, uncle Mike, (who was a sweet dear man), who was a big part of my growing up. They had 5 boys and lost their only daughter at 3 years of age. Saddest funeral I ever remember. But my aunt was a character. I could almost write a book about her. She was a tall woman with long legs. One of her favorite expressions, when two unpleasant people were married to each other, was “It’s good they married each other. Why spoil 2 families.” Another expression she picked up while working in a factory, (to help with uncle Mike’s medical bills), was, “he thinks he’s it on a stick but he’s only sh- - on a splinter. My mother used to bawl her out for that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YOUR PARENT- MY CHILD

 

When and where was my father born? How big was he?

Terrance Raymond Otto was born in De Paul Hospital in St. Louis, Mo. On April 24, 1957, at 1:40 AM. He weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces and was 19 inches long.

 

 

 

 

Who delivered the baby? Who was present?

Doctor Kohler delivered him. He, myself and the nurses were present. (Jack had been here for about 10 hours and had gone home to eat and freshen up. He wasn’t home a few minutes when he was called back.)

 

Who were the first people you told?

Our parents.

 

How did you choose the name?

Even though our last name was German, I grew up around the Irish and I loved the name Terrance. Raymond was his grandfather Otto’s first name. As a new baby he was fussy, but I had just lost my mother when he was 6 weeks old, so he was probably sensing my grief. He had a stubborn streak which I admired somewhat.

 

Note: Terry as a baby had porcelain skin. It was so fine you could see some of his veins. He was a very pretty baby. He had a way that made him handsome. My mother held him for the first time and said, ”Here’s your Waterloo, you’ll see.” I said, “Mom, he’s just a tiny baby, how can you tell?” “I feel it, that’s all.” Mom saw some of me in him. He did give me the most worry. He was a bit of a daredevil!

 

At what age did he take his first steps?

Around 11 ½ months.

 

Were you firm or easy-going on him? How did he react?

I was firm. Grandpa was easier. I was too strict with the boys. I wanted everyone to love them like I did and I didn’t want them to be spoiled like I was.

 

What was his favorite entertainment as a teenager?

Fishing and hunting-- What else? Of course girls, too.

 

What did my father want to be when he grew up?

An artist or Architect.

 

What did you think he would grow up to be?

An artist of some kind. Or maybe an engineer of some kind.

 

What did he look like?

When he was a baby he looked like my side of the family. But he became more of a composite. Now I feel he looks like my side again.

 

What did he do that made you angry?

Lots. If you told him not to do something, you could bet your life he’d make darn sure that’s what he’d do.

 

What did he do that made you proud?

As Terry grew up he was friendlier than the other boys. Through the years my friends enjoyed being around him. And I always thought his looks were outstanding. I was very proud of the fact that he had lots of friends and people really liked him.

 

Note: When he was little he didn’t like women. He used to tell me he loved me all the time but he wouldn’t talk to other women or little girls. In our 2nd home, shortly after we moved in, he woke from a nap one day and I told him to hurry, there were kids waiting to play. When he saw it was little neighbor girls he wouldn’t go out. “Their mouthes go too much” he said. It broke me up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biddle Street*

Or

 Snitch, snitch, fell in a ditch

Or

Smarty, smarty, went to a party

Or

Saints and Mary, Mother Help Us

 

December 18, 1932—My father used to say it was the most important day of his life. He would draw a circle around it on the calendar, saying it was so close to Christmas he didn’t want to forget it. I was born during the depression of an Irish father and a mother of German/ English mix. There were aunts and uncles and cousins everywhere close by. We could walk to most of their homes, and did almost every day. I often thought growing up how wonderful it would be to live on a farm, but as I grew older I realized that living in the city had so much to offer- shows just blocks away- confectionaries with their wonderful penny candy and nickel ice cream cones, (In the days before home freezers  and some homes without refrigerators, just ice boxes.) The ice man would come down the long streets with two family and four family flats, built side by side with maybe only room for a sidewalk in between. His truck was pulled by a lovely old horse, and we children were treated to free chunks of free ice in the humid heat of a St. Louis summer.

 

We had Sherman Park, where there was a small outside swimming pool, (where I managed to get sties on my eyes from the water), and a large swimming pool inside. No one had much money in those years so a dime to get in the show, a nickel for pop corn and free swimming pools, rides on the streetcar for very little- kids galore to play with- it was a really great way to grow up. But of course there were many hard and sad times in my family. Those long summer days making clover chains out of clover flowers. We’d fill large wash tubs with water in the back yard and were small enough to fit inside them. Later we had a little fan that moved the heat around some. We used curling irons to fix our hair for special events. By the time you had one side of your head curled the other side you had done was falling out from the summer heat.

 

 

 

*Biddle Street was a street in a poor, run-down part to St. Louis. To insult one’s

housekeeping habits you would say, “It looks like Biddle Street”. The other expressions are from her childhood, repeated many times in her “grown-up” years.

 

 

 

 

 

I slept at the foot of my parent’s bed on a “roll-away” cot. We live in “flats” in the city. Two family flats or four family flats. They consisted of a hallway that ran from the front door to the back of the house. (My husband says they were called “shotgun houses, because you could fire a shot in the front door and it would go out the back door.) Off the hallway was a living room, behind it a dining room, often used as a bedroom with the help of a fold-down “Murphy bed”. These two rooms were separated by a large archway. Off the hall on the other side was a bathroom. Behind this was the kitchen and next to the kitchen was a bedroom. Always across from the bathroom was a door to the basement if you lived downstairs, or, if you lived upstairs, a door that led to the first floor.

 

 There were few exceptions to these in the 30’s and 40’s. So as the only girl I slept, as I said before, at the foot of my parents’ bed or in the hall. One morning I woke to see my father lean over to kiss my mother goodbye as he was leaving and her breast was exposed. I felt ashamed that my dad and I saw this. I was about four at the time. My mother had lovely large breasts that cushioned my head as she held me in her lap and I remember her breathing that caused the rhythmic movement of her breasts and the murmur of her voice that would lull me to sleep. What a glorious experience that was.

 

Every yard had an ash pit in the back. We had furnaces that heated with coal. The black soot permeated those old flats and laid on clean starched curtains and kept plaster and wallpaper dingy no matter how often we cleaned. The ashes went into the ash pit. We were never allowed by my father to put anything but ashes in the pits, which were four brick walls about four feet high, joined to form the pit. But other people weren’t always as clean so therefore at night, large, cat sized, rats patrolled the pits. Our trash cans were next to the pits, so in the evening, when it was tine to take out the day’s garbage, they never could get me to take out the trash. Dad would tease me that the rats wouldn’t bother me. It was one time I didn’t believe him.

 

In some ways the city in the thirties and forties looked very dingy in the starkness of a late winter day. Mom would take our white lace curtains down to wash and clean them and the large windows in our flat looked out on those bleak winter days when you didn’t have the full green of the trees to soften all the brick and mortar of city life. And yet many times living in the city was exciting and stimulating.

 

The doctor came to the house then. We had to quickly straighten the house and change the bed. Whenever I was sick I got to lay in my parent’s bed. What a treat. And daddy would always bring me paper dolls from the dime store. Even in these hard times daddy would spend his last coins for his spoiled little girl.

 

I had three older brothers and one younger. I’m sorry to say they got little attention from my father. After I was born he gave me all his attention. When I got older I felt guilty about this until I realized it wasn’t my doing. My older brothers were quite typical of children of that day. When they were old enough they would work after school and in the summer. I remember they “caddied” a lot at local golf courses. I’m sure they made very little. But whatever they made would be given to my mother to help with the finances that were very sparse. Mother said she never had to ask. Everyone pitched in. I thought that was so great. I had a lot of respect for my brothers as I grew up and realized how little they had and how good they were.

 

Sad things happened to some of them in later years. Mother had much sadness in her life. I think my mother was a brave and wonderful woman who died too young. She was 55 when I lost her and here I am in my seventies and I still miss her. Being that my father spoiled me so, it was left to my mother to discipline me- and thank goodness for that. Any good in me is credited to her. How I loved her!

 

I loved my father too. But the Irishman caused a difficult life for my mother. He was a very insecure man that probably had low self-esteem. He was second in a family of 9 brothers and sisters. I was once told by my aunt that dad hung on his mother’s skirt as a little one And I’m sure with 9 children, widowed in her late thirties, she really didn’t have much time to give to a child that needed extra attention. There was another strong and brave woman. A gentle soul who survived it all and lived to be 93.

 

There are so many marvelous “characters” to talk about in my family. Daddy used the corner tavern to hide his insecurities. His drinking disrupted our family quite a lot. He used to push and shove her when he became inebriated. But when I became old enough to hit at him and tell him not to hit “my mommy”, that stopped. The sad thing is, I believe he adored her but he was quite jealous of her in many ways. She had more schooling than he had and I think he was intimidated by that. My mother was extremely smart, although never lording it over dad in any way. She had the ability to be liked and loved by everyone she met.

 

 Mother was told, because she had lost an ovary because of a ruptured appendix, that she would never have children. (They thought at this time that childbirth was impossible if you lost an ovary), and my father changed when she did start to have children. I’m sure the responsibility and rivalry of competing with the attention children require really added to his insecurities. Mother was good to dad. I remember her putting in a “fresh” housedress and combing her hair before dad came home each day. For all his failings, she really tried. She could have gone out and gotten a job making more than dad, who had a simple job at the Chevrolet factory. She was at one time a secretary to two lawyers. I think that was before I was born. In the late 20’s whoever could find a job did so. I found out when I grew up that dad had had a job during the depression, when many didn’t. They took in families that didn’t have work.

 

An odd little story that I always found funny. My mother was engaged to marry my dad’s cousin. In fact she had started her conversion to the Catholic faith. Well she met my dad –and fell in love. It’s not nice to say, in a way, but my mom would probably have had an easier life with “Ed”. He did well. He was a really nice man. I can’t remember who in the family told me this little “tidbit”. It certainly wasn’t my mother. She just told me how she met dad.

 

I do have some lovely memories of my relationship with my father. Mother said when I was born he acted like an idiot, he was so excited to have a little girl. Of course, as a little one, he was my knight in shining armor. When I was a baby, he said, my crib was next to his side of the bed and I couldn’t or wouldn’t go to sleep unless I could hold on to his ear until I was asleep. The funny little Irishman let me do that. He drove a cab when I was a baby. He got home very late at night. Mother would be trying to get her little night person to sleep, (I’m still that way). Dad would come in, put my baby basket on the table, turn on the ceiling light, and I would instantly quiet down. To this day, for some reason, I don’t like ceiling lights. I probably stared at too many as a baby.

 

While waiting for mother to come to bed, I was allowed to lay in their bed, and play house on the pillows with dad. I set an imaginary tea table on the pillow and we’d pretend to eat. And then dad would sing two songs to me that I remember to this day; “Let me call you sweetheart”, and, “When you wore a tulip and I wore a big red rose”. I was very much a “scardy cat” as a child. I was afraid of everything. Today, I realize that many times as a child I suffered from “anxiety” for I suffered severely from it in later years. But daddy tried to make me face my fears. I was afraid of thunder and lightning, so during some storms he would put me in our old “jalopy” and we’d drive around in the rain to show me I wasn’t going to get hurt. He did many things like that and I truly believe it helped. I never felt as scared when dad was around. He really did adore me. 

 

It was extremely sad for me to one day realize he wasn’t quite a knight in shining armor but a very scared, insecure little man. But I’ll always love him, regardless. How could you not love someone who loved you so very much. My father died on my 30th birthday, the day of the year that he said was the most important day of his life.

 

I have so much more to tell, but I have to stop. It all floods my mind and the tears are starting. Remembering is both joyous and sad. It’s an extremely emotional experience—going over your life. And really so much happened—so much in a lifetime.

 

My brother Vernon was about 11 years older than I. When I was born he told my mother she now had her “little snitch”. And boy, did that come true. He also resented the fact that mother had to stay in the hospital over Christmas day. That’s when they kept women over a week for childbirth. Vern was the only “dark one”. (Dark hair, brown eyes.) He was a very pretty baby and a good looking young man. He even did some modeling before going into the service at 17. Of course, very shortly after he enlisted in the (Army) Air Force, The war started for us in December of 1941. I remember Dec. 7, 1941 vividly. Mother was playing the piano and dad was listening to the radio and the news of war came. My mother cried because of Vernon. After Germany declared war the next day dad told her she could never again play “Ach Du Liber Augustine” on the piano. (It was a popular “sing-along” song.)

 

With six weeks training, (at most), Vernon became a lieutenant and a glider pilot. He landed in the Normandy invasion and was about the only glider that didn’t crash against the posts the Germans had stuck in the ground to rip open the gliders. Many men were killed or injured. His friends called him “lucky” after that. Whenever he came home on leave he looked really dashing in his tailored dress uniforms. Of course, as a little girl of 9 it was all very exciting and glamorous. But of course it wasn’t.

 

My brother “Mick” was just that, a handsome looking Irish “Mick”. He was the tallest at about six foot. He had a marvelous physique, good features and wonderful thick wavy blond hair. Mick was the kind, loving one. Although, as a little guy he came to my mother and told her he had a hard time defending himself because when they, (other boys), started a fight he got scared. My mother casually told him, “Well, just close your eyes and you won’t see them.” Mick took it literally and became the best fighter in the neighborhood. Vernon would start a fight, run home with the other kids behind him.  “Come on Mick, I’ve got a fight going, and Mick would come, arms flailing and eyes closed.

 

All my high school girl friends, (all girls, I went to a Catholic High School), would come by in hopes that “The Irish Mick” was home. He and I were very close, even though there was about a nine year difference between us. I was blond like Mick. We looked a little alike. I once thought we looked a lot alike, but now I don’t. He had beautiful blue eyes and I have “muddy brown”.

 

Mick went to enlist and was told his blood pressure was too high. I don’t know what he was told to do, but in about three weeks he was accepted. He was very determined to fight for his country. He and his buddies were mine detectors. He saw so many friends killed that he never was the same after the war. He told how in some places they couldn’t find anything good to drink so they’d mix medicinal alcohol with soda. It was awful, he said, but after a while it tasted pretty good! His favorite place during the war was Italy. Which surprises me now that I’ve been to Italy on vacation and didn’t find the countryside as beautiful as some other European countries.

 

When the war ended in Germany we never knew where our men were. Phones were not in every home, as yet, and they came home every which way. Trains were swamped, people flew some, but not like later years, so most “hitch-hiked” home. The uniform guaranteed that you’d be picked up in most states. So one day Mick just came in the back door. The first thing he said was “no comments about my hair”. For some reason the water and climate in Italy gave him very curly hair. Brother Bill and I were told to go tell all the relatives that Mick was home and that night we had a great celebration. Mom playing the old upright and everyone feeling good from cold beer and just utter relief that one more of our big Irish family was home, safe and sound.

 

But the truth of the matter was their scars didn’t show. They only told the funny things that happened and you didn’t ask for more, especially dad and the uncles that were in World War I. They knew some of what they weren’t saying.

 

Mick stayed home the next six months, just quietly drinking his beer, not doing much of anything. We all noticed the change, the solemn looks, gazing straight ahead and we let him be. Finally, he went back to work at Chevrolet, on an assembly line. He didn’t care much for it, but it paid well. He moved to his own apartment, which hurt mom. But he explained that he had to be alone-to work things out in his mind. He finally was able to buy a brand new Chevrolet. He was so thrilled with it. One evening down by the Mississippi he was playing cork ball with friends. It’s a St Louis game. I don’t know if it’s played anymore. Lots of taverns had an area outside of their bars. It consisted of a chain link fencing about 10 feet high. I’m not sure of the measurements of the cage. You had a small lemon sized baseball. It was very hard to the feel. You had a long thin bat. One strike and out. Anything hit forward was a single. After “bases loaded”, every hit scored a run. One young man lived across the river in Illinois and, of course, Mick said He’d take him home. It was about 10:30 PM. Over in Illinois they came to a fork in the road. Trees hid a stop sign A young man, late for work, driving an older Cadillac was barreling down the road. They had a head-on collision. He died the next day.

 

It was May. The young man sitting in the front seat went through the metal strip that separated the front windshield panes. Two men in back were injured very badly, but survived. My dear mother had to go into the room of one of the injured men and tell him Mick was fine and he shouldn’t worry. Had to tell him they transfer him to a hospital in St. Louis and that’s why he couldn’t see him. He had been worrying and it caused him undue stress. When she came out she collapsed.

 

At his funeral a man told us he had met Mick once and he stood there crying, he had been so impressed with him. The funeral was mobbed with people who hadn’t even known him long. My life was shattered! I adored this man. I was to graduate from high school in a couple of weeks and Mick said we were going to have a bang-up party.

 

I had to work hard to get over the loss of my best friend. We worried so about my mother. Her heart wasn’t that good. And she had been through so much in her life already- a lot I haven’t touched on yet. The year was 1950. In 1951 she suffered another great loss to her. I’ll talk about that later. We found out at Mick’s funeral that he fell in love with an American nurse while overseas. She dumped him and he was crushed. We never knew. Mick had always wanted to buy mom her own house to live in so we insisted she do so and she did. But our beautiful Mick was gone. He could never have stood the fact that maybe he caused someone’s death or hurt others. For all his fisticuffs as a little boy, he was a very loving, gentle man.

 

Then there was Bill, my third brother, who was about seven years older than me. A very pretty baby. When he was born, mother said, she was nursing him, and he cried and nursed constantly. Finally they figured out he was hungry. Her milk wasn’t good enough. Those large beautiful breasts, (which she was ashamed of), just weren’t giving him what he needed After his first bottle, which he finished pronto, he slept for 12 hours. Of course he flourished after this. And then a sad thing happened. When he was about three years old he got into the street and was hit by a truck, There were seemingly no injuries. It was like a miracle, but Bill started to slowly change. He just wasn’t the same inquisitive boy he had been. Doctors could not find any reason for the change.

 

Then one day, while visiting a friend, they were eating at the table when she went to serve coffee. She accidentally spilled some on Bill’s head. He didn’t complain. They ran water over his head and he seemed to be fine. But when mother got home and went to bathe him and his brothers, she went to wash his hair and noticed some large blisters. The doctor treated the burns and they healed and all seemed fine. But after this Bill really changed. His development really slowed down. He graduated from grade school with great difficulty. He just couldn’t handle high school. You have to remember this was the twenties- not much was known about these kinds of injuries to the brain.

 

When war broke out Bill enlisted and, being healthy, he was accepted. A few months after his acceptance, he broke his ankle. They wrote my mother that they were giving him an “Honorable Discharge” and told him his ankle would be a detriment to him being in the war, but the real fact was that Bill couldn’t keep up even though he tried much harder than the others. He was heartbroken but was very proud of his Honorable Discharge. When he died later, from the effects of diabetes, I had him buried at Jefferson Barracks In St. Louis, which is a Veteran’s Cemetery. He would have been so proud.

 

He had a sad life. He knew he was different than others and had no friends. He bothered others because he could only carry on a one way conversation. He just couldn’t communicate in a normal, give and take, conversation. He drank a lot and this made him very difficult to be around. It was really an added burden for my mother. She was good to him- we all were- he was ours, after all. Bill was in his 50’s when he died. I was the only immediate relative he had, and I had moved to Wichita in 1969. Mother had died in 1957, dad died in 1962. Bill was very alone. He was living in an “elders” home when he died. Because of his diabetes he couldn’t work any more and he had become more difficult. He even left a small insurance “inheritance”. We were surprised at this.

 

Buddy was my younger brother. He was a darling baby. We were about 16 months apart. He was extremely bright. Mother would get me all dressed up to go somewhere and I was told to go out on the back porch and keep my lovely starched dress clean. I would carefully sit down and flip the back of my dress so it wouldn’t get wrinkled. I usually had a lively big bow in my hair. He would rush out to the sand box and throw sand in my hair. Mother wanted to blister him, but he was so cute, she usually just scolded him.

 

Uncle mike once told me that Buddy adored my father. He seemed to know when it was time for him to come home from work and watched from our large window in the living room and, as soon as he entered the house, come running up to him. It broke my heart when I heard this. How could he have done that? This little boy was precious. I never understood dad’s ignoring his good sons. I think he feared his own inadequacies and that the boys would see them.

 

Then, in 1934, an encephalitis, (sleeping sickness), epidemic hit St. Louis. It was rampant. I came down with severe dysentery and almost died. At the same time, Buddy came down with encephalitis. He was two years old. He came down with about a 109 degree fever. They immersed him in cold water. The fever plunged and then immediately rose to 107 degrees. He was in the hospital for almost a year. My poor mother, with me so very ill, went, every day, by streetcar, to the hospital to see Buddy. My father wouldn’t go, so she had no emotional help through this terrible crisis.

 

I had an aunt Esther, married to dad’s brother Mike, who lived near us, who probably helped a lot at this time. Aunt Esther has five sons, Jack, Bob, Larry, Clarence and Dan. My whole life I’ve been surrounded by boys and men. One day the hospital called “someone”, (We didn’t have a phone until I was 12 or 13.), to report that Buddy was doing very poorly. My father said he couldn’t go, he didn’t have a clean shirt. Aunt Esther told him. “I’ll wash and dry a shirt for you and then you’re going to get your fanny over to the hospital”. Of course he went. You didn’t fool around with aunt Esther!

 

The woman was very tall and leggy. A marvelous character. Uncle Mike was tall and thin, a good looking man, of a gentle manner, a sweet dear man. He was never really well. His lungs were bad for years. Whenever aunt Esther would get perturbed at him, I can still hear him saying, “now honey…” He was such a patient man. Those five boys were all very tall young men. Clarence was the only one not as tall as the others. Whenever we visited their house those kids charged in and out, slam would go the screen door. Mom would say to aunt Esther, “Doesn’t that banging bother you”? “What banging” she would reply. She paid no attention to it.

 

When aunt Esther went to work in a factory to help pay for the oxygen uncle Mike needed for years, before he died, she picked up some dandy language. Her favorite expression had become, “He thinks he’s it on a stick but he’s only shit on a splinter. Mother used to say, “Honestly Esther, your mouth since you got that job”. But she’d laugh like the rest of us did. Jack’s favorite “Estherism” is; (With reference to an obnoxious couple.) “It’s good they married each other. Why spoil two families.”

 

Neither family had much. During the depression there were times when food was at a premium. Mom said they barely had enough to eat. She and Esther were thrilled one day to be able to buy a nice ham bone, which they cooked with beans and had a large pot of bean soup to feed mom’s and Esther’s boys. They lived next door to each other. They were, of course, going to divide the soup between the two families. They headed to Esther’s flat with a large pot of beans. Out in the yard one of them tripped, sending bean soup far and wide in the yard. Mom and Aunt Esther sat down in the middle of this mess and started to cry. But all of a sudden they realized how ridiculous they looked, and burst out laughing-- till tears ran down their faces. That picture in my mind still brings a smile to my face. These two women were tremendous people. They laughed and cried together a lot in those years.

 

After a year in the hospital, in which even the famous Mayo Brothers had examined him, because he survived such a severe case of encephalitis, Buddy was coming home. He had not spoken or showed any evidence of seeing in that year. They had decided he was probably somewhat blind and mute. As he went out the door of the hospital he pointed and said, “see, car”. Mother said the nuns all knelt right there and then to praise God because this indeed was a miracle. Mother said it was probably because he had no stimulus in the hospital to cause any response. He could not walk so he crawled until he went to the St. Louis training school at age seven.

 

There were more hard years for my mother. She had always thought that what happened to Buddy was punishment for her abortion that my father insisted on before she became pregnant with Bud. Mother loved children but when she became pregnant, shortly after I was born, my father hounded her constantly until, she said, in a near stupor she went to an abortionist and she almost bled to death.

 

 My father could be a very dominant and single minded person at times. I saw it all my life. As a convert to Catholicism she took her religion very, very seriously. She said when my father had to get rid of the 4 month old fetus he never would get her to do this again. It haunted her the rest of her life. She said she dreamt of a deformed child crawling on the ground, so when she had to see her beautiful baby boy still crawling at age 3 or 4, she often thought of the dreams she had before Buddy was born. Of course, anyone who knew my father would understand how he coerced her to get an abortion. Evidently abortion by butchers were common in those hard years. I’m still against abortion and, of course, so was my mother

 

The strange thing about my father: If anyone in the family was ill, he always visited them. Of course, If mother was ill, (And with such a bad heart, she often was), it was all in her mind. I truly believe he feared losing her, which, largely due to his own actions, he finally did.—emotionally and physically.

 

My brothers did not like the Catholic school, St. Edwards, and after a while refused to go there. They attended Gunlach public school. (Not sure of the spelling.) When I started school at the age of four, (I would be five that December), mother put me in Gunluch so the boys could walk me to school. You walked just about everywhere then. If it was too far, you took the streetcars. They ran on rails set in the streets, with a rod going up to an electric line hung above the streets. They would click-clack, gently swaying from side to side. Hot in the summer and cold in the winter, they were. But they didn’t run on our street so we walked to school, rain, snow, whatever. The blacks, then known as “coloreds”, shared the streetcars, usually riding in the back. We were told to avoid them. Mother said they smelled, but I didn’t notice it. I never understood this when I was little. They always smiled so nice at me.

 

I didn’t last long at Gunlach. This spoiled mischievous little girl’s mother was told to put me in a Catholic school- maybe the nuns could do something with me, which she did. One look at the lady in black and I immediately changed my ways, though there were times when I had tape put over my mouth. One day we had a spelling bee and I couldn’t spell the word twelve. Because of this our row missed and was out of the bee. Audrey Hartman didn’t like me anyway and it made her mad. She got some of her friends together and they picked on me at recess. The next day I brought my jumping rope and when they started to tease me again I hit her across the face with my rope and it left a dandy mark. I don’t remember my punishment from sister, but I’m sure there was one. I’ve never forgiven Audrey Hartman. I’ve heard, from my cousin Larry’s wife Loretta that she was a really nice woman. I told her to be sure and tell Audrey that I haven’t forgiven her.

 

I was also a little snitch. My brother found out and gave me a good talking to. After that I ceased to be a snitch. I know I drove my brothers crazy, I was so spoiled. Mother didn’t fool around with me. She used to say she would spank me till I’d bleed. I used to look back after each whipping, (which I deserved), to see if I was truly bleeding. I can remember not coming home when I was supposed to after being out to play and my mom would meet me at the door. I’ll come in, mom if you don’t hit me.” After repeating this many times, through gritted teeth, “Get in here.” And no matter how fast I’d tried to run past her, she got me every time. I can’t imagine what I’d be like today if both parents let me get away with things the way my dad did. Mother was my salvation.

 

When I was about four, I put on my first pair of roller skates. They were nothing like the ones today. They had four wheels, a metal piece went around your heel, and in the front were two adjustable clamps that were turned with a special key till they held your shoe tightly. We didn’t wear “tennis shoes” then, just plain leather shoes. Just about anyone could afford a pair of skates, which you could buy at any “dime store”, those glorious little stores where you could buy anything and everything quite cheaply. You could buy a lot for a dime then, two ice cream cones, entry to a movie, (2 movies and cartoons in between), 2 bottles of coke, ribbons and a hair brush, paper dolls, (my favorite), to cut out and play with for hours, the list goes on and on. The only trouble was, these dimes weren’t easy to come by. But daddy could always find a dime, or even a quarter for his little darling.

 

Getting back to roller skates, I remember older neighborhood kids holding me by my hands and helping me get started. By the end of the day, with large scabs on my elbows and knees, I was racing by the streets by our flat with gusto and proud of my wounds of conquest. Every kid raised in the city had large scabs from falling down on concrete city sidewalks.

 

In the summer when it started to get dark, all the lampposts on the street would come on. Folks would all come out of their flats and sit on their porch steps and the neighborhood kids would play games like “school”. Neither my husband nor I remember exactly how it was played. You’d start on the bottom step and be asked a question. If you didn’t know the answer you couldn’t graduate to the next step. First one to reach the top step got to be the teacher for the next game.

 

Of course there was “ hide and seek”, and a variation called “kick the can”. Then there was “king of the hill”. Someone would stand on top of the hill on the front yard, and everyone would try to run past the “king” without getting caught. There was also “green light, red light”, but I don’t remember how it was played. And of course there was jump rope and “hop-scotch” and dodge ball. And to top the evening off, a walk to the confectionary for a nickel ice cream cone. Or there was the ice cream man who came by.

 

Daddy would sit on the top step of our front porch and, with hose in hand, could water the whole front yard. So you can imagine how big our lot was.

 

The house on the corner was a small frame two-story house and in it lived the Italian family from Sicily. (At least that’s where I was told they came from.) I loved to sit on the steps on the side of our house, (They were the back entrance for the flat upstairs), and just watch this volatile family. It seemed to me they were always fighting. Papa had a little dilapidated truck and he would put crates of chickens in them and tie them down, and off he’d go, sputtering, down the street to wherever he went to sell them. In the summer he had a small vegetable garden and he would take his products to sell also. But “mama” ruled the roost. She used to run him out quite often. He seemed to have bumps on his head quite often. The sons looked like young hoods and the girls in the family were their servants. One girl in particular, the youngest, “Rosie”, was very mistreated. She was put in the slow class at school. To this day I think, if she hadn’t been treated like a slave, she probably would not have been considered “slow”. Even as a little girl I felt very sorry for her. I remember going over and asking if Rosie could go to the confectionary with me. Her mother made her clean up and even brushed her hair, which looked like it wasn’t touched most of the time. (And she had beautiful curly black hair.) One time, when we left the store, Rosie had stolen a candy bar and I, (the preacher), told her God didn’t like that and I made her take it back. Then I bought it for her. She was thrilled. To her it was like gold.

 

Years later I saw Rosie. She was a waitress at a neighborhood cafeteria called Hendricksons that used to be on the corner of Easton Avenue and Lotus. They later moved across the street from Drehman and Harrell Mortuary on Union Avenue. Rosie was a pretty woman and probably was still being mistreated.

 

One day one of the sons got married and they had lots of people to the house for a celebration. Of course a fight broke out between the son and his new blond wife. I rushed to my step to watch. People were running out the back door and out the front door screaming in Italian. One had a knife in his hand. Who needed Television! I don’t remember the police coming and I don’t think anyone was hurt, it was just a usual day in the Sicilian household. I don’t think anyone in the neighborhood had much to do with the Italian family but they were sure fun to watch.

 

A few years ago we were in St. Louis and we drove past my old flat on 1440 Arlington Avenue. I could not believe how narrow a house it was. How did all of us fit in that flat? My first kindergarten, Gunlach, was still the same. From the fifth grade on, mother let me go to Blessed Sacrament School. I loved it there. We rode by there also on our trip to St. Louis and it was all the same. I graduated from there in1946. The boys and girls were kept separated so we all became pretty “boy-crazy” by 8th grade.

 

Daddy was the second of nine children. His father died in his forties. (Probably of drink.) He had an older brother, John, Then there was uncle Mike, uncle Joe, and uncle Tom. The girls were Aunt Mary, Aunt Winnie, Aunt Agnes and Aunt Irene. Lots of cousins. It was so much fun having so much family.

 

Grandma King, dad’s mom, lived with Uncle Tom. She had all these daughters and ended up living with uncle Tom.   Aunt Onnette, Uncle Tom’s wife was a heavy set woman who had a beautiful face and hair. She was very sweet. If I remember right, she had five children. Mother said, before he got married, Tom would say when he had kids they were really going to mind. He was going to line them up and dare them to move. (As next to youngest, he had his children later than the others.)  When he did have his own children it was a riot. You’d go over to visit and his kids would be crawling all over him and he wouldn’t even notice. Mom was visiting once and looked into the kitchen, and the youngest, (about 2), was sitting on the kitchen table holding a butcher knife. Mom said, “Tom, look at the baby. He’s got a butcher knife!” “Oh he’ll put it down soon”. We laughed about all this many times. He was the most easygoing parent you ever saw. He had this little house and, next to it, a little garage. He was what they would call today a mechanic. Aunt Onnette was always running to the store for parts.

 

When I was maybe 6 or7 I developed an “anxiety condition”. Of course, I don’t know what they thought was wrong then. You have to remember this was the 1930’s. One day we went to go shopping at Sears. When we got to the front of the store I told mother I was sick. She was annoyed with me, of course, that I didn’t say something sooner. After that it was a year or more that they couldn’t get me into any kind of store. I remember my father finally forced me to go into a shoe store. (I remember crying the whole time.) After that I slowly go over this. Before I was completely healed of my fears, aunt Onnette said I was going to the circus with her. I remember waiting for her to pick me up when the day came. I was just shaking. But when aunt Onnette came and took me by the hand, I felt a lot better. She was so warm and nice.

 

My other aunts were not nice to her. They excluded her a lot. Mother said they thought she was a girl off the farm and didn’t know anything. My mother liked her a lot and said she was probably smarter than all of us. My mom was kind to kind to everyone and didn’t approve of their treatment of aunt Onnette. I’ll say this for uncle Tom’s kids, they were all extremely handsome children, and friendly. I didn’t become as close to them as to some of my cousins because they were quite a bit younger than I.

 

My cousin Jean, (My aunt Agnes and uncle Fred Kracht’s 2nd daughter), was a year older than I and so was cousin Joy. (My aunt Irene and uncle George Pomeroy’s 3rd or 4th child.) This was an important matter because when we were little I heard, over and over, that my turn was last because I was the youngest. We played a lot together. One summer, at my house, we developed the “3J” club. (For Jean, Joan and Joy.) My girlfriend Mardel came by to play this day. My mother heard us tell Mardel she couldn’t come come in to join us because her name didn’t start with a J. Our club instantly became the “3J and M” club. Jean and I were the bad ones. Joy was pretty good. When we got together everyone just held their breath.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments on my computer skills;

 

 

 

Words to live by; Growing old ain’t for sissies

 

7.0  Genealogy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

            mm=Male side, (me)Male ancestors

               mmf=Male side, Female ancestors

            mm3=Third generation, (Joan’s and mine)

                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Group Records

Page mm1

Husband

Frank Otto

 

Birth

Jun 1846

Death

x-x-19xx

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Wife

Alvina

 

Birth

Dec 1861

Death

Jun 7 1947

Burial

Sunset Bur.Park

Lot182, section 14

 

Children

Gertrude (Otto)* Puddy

See p mm2A

Birth

Nov 1887

Death

Apr 8 1936

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Raymond Eugene Otto

See p mm2B

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

 

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Notes

 

Gertrude was dad’s half sister. Don’t know her father’s family name

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Group Records

Page mm2a

Husband

(       ) Puddy

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Wife

Gertrude (Otto) Puddy

 

Birth

11-17-1887

Death

4-8-1936

Burial

Sunset Bur. Park

Lot       Section 14

 

Children

Gertrude A (Puddy) Freeman ?

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

Cleon Freeman

 

Children

Marie (Puddy) Berg

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

Harry Berg

 

Children

William R. Puddy

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Adele (Puddy) Hollingsworth

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

(     ) Hollingsworth

 

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                

 

Husband

Raymond Eugene Otto

 

Page mm2b

Birth

5-25-1898

Death

12-20 1974

Burial

Calvary Cem.

Lot 223 Section 31

Marriage

 

 

 

Wife

Abbie Elizabeth  Walsh

 

Birth

1-7-1903

Death

8-26-1955

Burial

Calvary Cem.

Lot (223) Section 31

 

Children

John Raymond Otto

 

Birth

4-17-1926

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

Joan Lorraine King

 

Children

William Eugene Otto

 

Birth

7-12 1931

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

Gloria Puricelli / Shirley M Link

 

Children

 

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Group Records

Page mm3a

Husband

John Raymond Otto

 

Birth

4-17-1926

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

9-12-1953

Joan L King. Corpus Christi Ch. Jennings, Mo

 

Wife

Joan Lorraine King

 

Birth

12-18-1932

Death

 

Burial

 

 

 

Children

Steven John Otto

 

Birth

1-15-1955

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

Mary Ann Wesley / Camile  Gentry

 

Children

Terrance Raymond Otto

 

Birth

4-27-1957

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

6-23-1978

Barbara Anne French

 

Children

Phillip James Otto

 

Birth

7-31-1958

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

3-26-77

Sheryl Louise Patrick

 

Children

Paul Joseph Otto

 

Birth

12-10-1959

Death

1-25-1992

Burial

1-28-1992

Resthaven, Wichita, Gospels, 85, C2

Marriage

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children

John Lowell Otto

 

Birth

6-6-1962

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

 

Family Group Records

 

Children

Christopher Eugene Otto

 

Birth

7-20-1965

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Group Records

Page mm3b

Husband

William Eugene Otto

 

Birth

7-12-1931

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

6-15-1957

Gloria Puricelli, St. Ambrose Ch., St Louis, Mo

 

Wife

Gloria Puricelli

 

Birth

3-16-1928

Death

6-9-1969

Burial

6- -1969

Resurrection Cem. St Louis, Mo.

 

Children

Jeffrey William Otto

 

Birth

3-7-1958

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

JoAnn (Jana) Otto

 

Birth

6-11-1959

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Mark Joseph Otto

 

Birth

1-10-1961

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Meribeth Louise Otto

 

Birth

1-12-1965

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

*(Rich Stiebel )

Children: Jack Anthony & Kyle Jeffrey

 

 

Children

Michelle Elizabeth

 

Birth

10-28 1966

Death

10-22-1994

Burial

10-24-1994

Resurrection Cem. St Louis

Marriage

 

 

 

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Group Records

Pagemm3b1

Husband

William Eugene Otto

 

Birth

7-12-1931

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

6-9-1972

Shirley M (Link) Czerniewski

 

Wife

Shirley M Czerniewski

 

Birth

6-30-1935

Death

 

Burial

 

 

 

Shirley’s Children:

 

Children

Deborah (Czerniewski) Smith

 

Birth

6-27-56

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

9-17-77

Dennis J Smith

 

Children

Terry L Czerniewski

 

Birth

10-28-1957

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

10-12-1986

Mary Tunnicliff

 

Children

Robert V Czerniewski

 

Birth

10-10-1961

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

4-11-1987

Laurie Bremehr

 

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Group Records

Page mm4a

Husband

Steven John Otto

 

Birth

1-15-1955

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

Jan 1975

Mary Ann Wesley

 

Wife

Mary Ann Wesley

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

They were divorced in 1978

 

Children

Ethan Robert Otto

 

Birth

8-16-1978

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

In 1984 Steven married Camillia A Gentry

Children

 

 

Birth

Sept 1, 1949

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

6-16-1984

 

 

Children

 

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Group Records

Page mm4b

Husband

Phillip James Otto

 

Birth

7-31-1958

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

3-26-1977

Sheryl Louise Patrick

 

Wife

Sheryl Louise Patrick

 

Birth

3-27-1961

Death

 

Burial

 

 

 

Children

Brandis Lorraine Otto

 

Birth

2-27-1977

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

July 1997

Christopher Kevin Lazar

 

Children

Desiree Otto

 

Birth

1978

Death

1978 Stillborn

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Jennifer Marie Otto

 

Birth

10-18-1979

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

7-31-04

Bradley Davis

 

Notes

Christopher Kevin Lazar  is the son of Larry Lazar and Jeri Kemp

Bradley William Davis is the son of Troy W Davis and Stephanie L Dreher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Group Records

Page mm4c

Husband

 Terrance R Otto

 

Birth

4-17-1957

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

6-23-1978

Barbara Anne French

 

Wife

Barbara Anne French

 

Birth

9-2-1957

Death

 

Burial

 

 

 

Children

Kristen Chandler Otto

 

Birth

10-21-1978 (preemie)

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

Nov 2000

Michael James Zimmerman

 

Children

Jeffrey Raymond Otto

 

Birth

10-11-1982

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

 

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Group Records

Page mm5a

Husband

Christopher Kevin Lazar

 

Birth

2-24-1976

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

July 1997

 

 

Wife

Brandis Lorraine Otto

 

Birth

7-27-77

Death

 

Burial

 

 

 

Children

Joshua Mason Lazar

 

Birth

9-15-1996

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Elizabeth Haley Lazar

 

Birth

2-25-1998

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Sarah Ashlyn Lazar

 

Birth

2-13-2000

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Phillip Andrew Lazar

 

Birth

Sept 9-2005

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Notes

 

 

Husband

Christopher Kevin Lazar

 

Birth

2-24-1976

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

July 1997

 

 

Wife

Brandis Lorraine Otto

 

Birth

7-27-77

Death

 

Burial

 

 

 

Children cont’d

Samantha Grace Lazar

 

Birth

7-27-3007

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

 

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

 

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

 

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Group Records

Page mm5b

Husband

Michael James Zimmerman*

 

Birth

11-2-1974

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

Nov. 2000

 

 

Wife

Kristen Chandler Otto

 

Birth

10-21-1978

Death

 

Burial

 

 

 

Children

Kai D’Jango Zimmerman

 

Birth

5-19-1998

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Eyalu Sage Zimmerman             Birth 

 11 Oct, 2000

 

*Michael James Zimmerman is the adopted son of James William Zimmerman and Susan Lynn Buchanan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Group Records

Page mf

 

 

Husband

(      ) Walsh

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Wife

Mary

 

Birth

 

Death

Feb 1914

Burial

3-10-1914

Calvary Cemetery*

 

Children

Edward Walsh

 

Birth

1863                      Ireland

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

Julia

 

Children

Mary Walsh

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Slack Walsh

 

Birth

1870                     Ireland

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

William Walsh

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

Nov 23 1886

Ellen Kelleher

 

 

 

 

Children

John J Walsh

 

Birth

Feb 28, 1871

Death

Dec 12, 1942

Burial

 

Calvary Cemetery, *

Marriage

Feb 26, 1895

Abbie Kelleher

 

Notes

 

Walsh brothers married Kelleher sisters. Their offspring were “double cousins”

* Calvary Cemetery, St Louis, Mo. Section 24, lot 1253

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Group Records mf 0 cont’d

Page mf 0a

Children

Bridget Walsh

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

(   ) Tozer

 

Children

Michael Walsh

 

Birth

I879                     Ireland

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

 

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

 

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Group Records

Page mf 1

Husband

John J Walsh

 

Birth

Feb 28, 1871                      County Cork, Ireland

Death

Dec. 12, 1942

Burial

Dec 15, 1942

Calvary, *

Marriage

Feb 26, 1885

St. Louis, Mo.

 

Wife

Abbie Kelleher

 

Birth

Aug 18, 1872              County Cork, Ireland

Death

Dec 9, 1952

Burial

Dec 12, 1952

Calvary *

 

Children

Ellen Rosalie Walsh

 

Birth

Aug 22, 1895

Death

Feb 28, 1968

Burial

Mar 2, 1968

Calvary, *

Marriage

Feb 17, 1917

William Edgar Tudor

 

Children

Mary Elizabeth Walsh

 

Birth

Jan 7, 1900

Death

April 1985

Burial

April 27, 1965

Calvary, *

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

John Walsh

 

Birth

1901

Death

Nov13, 1901

Burial

Nov 14, 1901

Calvary, *

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Abbie Elizabeth Walsh

 

Birth

Jan 7,1903

Death

Aug 26, 1955

Burial

Aug 29, 1955

Calvary Cemetery, St Louis, Section 31, Lot 223

Marriage

 

 

 

Notes

 

* Calvary Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo. Section 24, lot1253

Family Group Records

Page mf 1a

Husband

Edward Walsh

 

Birth

1863                  Ireland

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Wife

Julia

 

Birth

1861                    Missouri

Death

 

Burial

 

 

 

Children

Mary Walsh

 

Birth

1886                     St Louis Mo.

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Eddie Walsh

 

Birth

1894                   St Louis, Mo.

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

David Walsh

 

Birth

1898                   St Louis, Mo.

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Group Records

Page mf 1b

Husband

William Walsh

 

Birth

1870                      Ireland

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

Nov 23, 1886

St Louis, Mo.

 

Wife

Ellen Kelleher *

 

Birth

1870                       Ireland

Death

 

Burial

 

 

 

Children

Mary Walsh

 

Birth

1886                     St Louis, Mo.

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Ella Walsh

 

Birth

1894                      St Louis, Mo.

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Hannah Walsh

 

Birth

1896                      St Louis, Mo

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Notes

 

* Brothers John and William married sisters Abbie and Ellen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Group Records

Page mf 2a

Husband

William Edgar Tudor *

 

Birth

Sept 22, 1892       Padukah, Ky.

Death

Oct 4 1972

Burial

Oct 7, 1972

Calvary**

Marriage

Feb 17, 1917

 

 

Wife

Ellen Rosalie Walsh

 

Birth

Aug 22, 1895

Death

Feb 28, 1968

Burial

Mar 2, 1968

Calvary**

 

Children

Mary Ellen Tudor ***

 

Birth

Apr 6, 1921          St Louis, Mo.

Death

April 1973

Burial

 

St Louis, Mo.

Marriage

June, 1942

St louis, Mo.

 

Children

Rosemary F Tudor***

 

Birth

Apr 6, 1921           St Louis, Mo.

Death

Apr 11 1982

Burial

 

Sacred Heart Cemetery. St Louis, Mo.

Marriage

Dec 27, 1941

Alexander G Whitelaw

 

Children

Abbie Forrest Tudor

 

Birth

Oct 12, 1922

Death

May 6, 2000

Burial

 

 

Marriage

April 18, 1942

Charles R Kranz

 

Notes

***Mary Ellen and rosemary were )identical) twins

*Son of William Dempsey Tudor and Gola Forrest Williams

**Calvary Cemetery, St Louisa, Mo. Sect. 24, Lot 1253

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Group Records

Page mf 3

Husband

Richard O Foster

 

Birth

Apr 17, 19

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

June 1942

Mary Ellen Tudor

 

Wife

Mary Ellen Tudor

 

Birth

April 6, 1921

Death

April 1973

Burial

 

 

 

Children

Richard Wayne Foster *

 

Birth

July 6 1946

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Donna  Foster *

 

Birth

July 6 1946

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

David Foster

 

Birth

       1955

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Group Records

Page mf 3a

Husband

Alexnder G Whitelaw

 

Birth

Nov 22, 1916

Death

Mar 23, 1997 St Louis County

Burial

 

 

Marriage

Dec 27, 1941

St Louis. Mo

 

Wife

Rosemary F Tudor *

 

Birth

April 6, 1921

Death

April 11, 1982

Burial

 

Sacred heart Cemetery, St Louis, Mo.

 

Children

Mary Frances Whitelaw

 

Birth

1942

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Michael Whitelaw

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Mary Patricia Whitelaw

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Patrick Whitelaw

 

Birth

 

Death

 

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page mf3a1

 

 

 

Family Group Records     mf 3a continued

 

Children

Mary Jane Whitelaw

 

Birth

 

Death

Infant Death

Burial

 

 

Marriage

 

 

 

Children

Mary Ellen Whitelaw