(Friday, March 9, 2012) I had a nice visit with Esther this morning before her lunchtime. For the second time with me, she has wanted to stay in her room to talk. I said I didn’t want to infringe on Iris, her roommate, but Iris was out and about and Esther said we could move out to the enclosed porch if Iris came back. I said whatever she wanted was fine with me, so we remained in her room. Iris was apparently in the day room. Both Esther and Iris seem to like each other fine. The time passed fast and we never lack things to talk about. I ended the visit with reading the daily meditation from Our Daily Bread, which Esther likes. I am still puzzled that she has wanted to remain in her room twice with me and once with Fran on a visit to her.
(March 11–Sunday) I had planned to take her out to lunch Thursday after my class, but when I got there she was coping with an intestinal upset, so we just visited for a while and I left.
I picked her up this afternoon and we headed to Memorial Park with the dogs. She loves being outside, and the weather was balmy, plus it was the first day of Daylight Savings Time. I had the camera with me. My sister’s daughter is getting married in June and the family has asked for short video recordings of good wishes to be sent as a surprise for her. I tried that for the first time last week and made a mess of it. Fortunately, Mother was game to do it again, and did her little greeting flawlessly. Then she asked, “Now who is Amanda?”
We lingered long over dinner while she told me more about her family.
Her mother, Ruth, was the youngest of five sisters. I think there were four or five years between her and Anna. Ascending in age above Anna were Emma, Alma, and Lillian.
She remembers Lillian and her mother playing four handed piano in the parlor. Lillian was the grandmother of Barbara, Harvey, and Marcia in the photo from last October.
Alma was widowed young, and brought her son Earl to the old brick house on Sheldon Road to live for several years. They lived in rooms above the kitchen (“east wing”).
Emma was married to Reuben and the mother of Willie, Phyllis, and Bob. Sandy (same photo) is Phyllis’s daughter. Emma and her youngest, Edith Elvira, died in the flu epidemic in 1919 when both Mother and Edith were four. Reuben and his three children moved to the brick house after their deaths and ultimately he and Ruth married–for convenience, Mother is certain, which was not uncommon at the time.
Anna also played piano and fell in love with Hans Lechtner, whose family lived part of the time in Florida. She went with them (how many times?) and Mother remembers her coming home one time, bursting into the kitchen exclaiming, “We’re married!” I do not remember any second cousins from that family, though I know they existed.
Ruth and Reuben had a son (Duane?) who did not survive infancy. Mother was about six at the time. Shortly after that, Ruth’s right hand became infected. Neighbors by the name of Frank had an old medical book that suggested boiling clover leaves and blossoms and soaking the affected part. Sometime around then Ruth, Reuben, and the four children moved to a house on Hummel Road owned by the Lammameir family. Living room, kitchen, small bedroom (shared by the parents) and a large room with a partition and a curtain–Phyllis and Esther shared a bed on one side, Willie and Bob on the other. Apparently Bob wet his bed well into early adolescence, which made laundry a problem and drove Willie to want to sleep in the unheated attic. (all now deceased. Mother–and I–never had any contact with Bob and his eventual family)
Ruth’s right thumb, most of her index finger, half her middle finger and the last joint of the other two fingers were amputated while Mother was in high school. She says she was never able to participate in after school activities because she had to hurry home to help out. Phyllis was working at Fisher Foods by them, and Willie, less that two years older but only a year ahead of her in school (“he hated to study!”) was also working. I don’t know where Bob was in that picture.
More about the family later, plus a video if I can figure out how to post it!