Saturday, April 24, 2010

100 years ago today

My grandparents, Roy and Helen Graham-Elder, were married 100 years ago today, April 24th, 1910. They had an even dozen kids--a half a dozen girls and a half a dozen boys, Alice Summers, Addie Strobridge, Ruby Whitney, Bessie Burch, Neva Kiefer-Duncan and Laura Elder who died when she was just 7 1/2-years-old. Their 6 boys included Buck, Dick, Ellsworth (Red), Frank, Lewis and my Daddy, Pat.

My grandfather was very well-known and respected for his hereford (cattle) business southwest of Leoti. My grandmother was busy all of the time raising their kids, cooking, cleaning, raising gardens, etc. They were the first people in Wichita County to own a motorized car.

Back then, farmers and stockmen always wanted sons to help with the business. God blessed my grandfather with 5 girls before he had his first son. Those five girls helped just like boys. Their hands were proof of that. They were larger and stronger than most women's hands.

When Daddy was born, he already had three nieces and nephews.

His father died from dust pneumonia when Daddy was just 2 1/2 years old. He had no memories of his dad. After the death, my grandmother moved the remaining children who were not already married, into Leoti. She made their living by cleaning for the elderly and ill, and ironed for many others. She passed away 4 years later. After that, the married children took over raising the younger ones. Two things that Daddy never forgot about his mother whom he loved so much, was that when they went to visit her in the Scott County Hospital the day of her death from cancer, she gave all of the kids a stick of gum. Then, he never cared much for the smell of roses. They were my grandmother's favorites and the church was full of them at the funeral. As a result of that, we didn't wear rose-scented perfumes or used rose scented deodorizing sprays in our house as they reminded him of her funeral.

Daddy grew up in the Great Depression. Until his death, he recalled that after they moved to Leoti, he and his older brothers would walk to the railroad tracks where trains delivered commodities to the people here. Daddy said that everyone looked forward to these trains. The food wasn't always fresh by the time that they got to Wichita County. Raisins were a good example. He said that many times, the raisins arrived full of extra protein--worms. People ate them anyway.

As of today, three daughters remain, Alice who just turned 99-years-old, Bessie and Neva. All live in Leoti.


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