My paternal grandmother- Della Mae (Mefford) (Finwall ) Gilbert
Some of you have heard about her early hard life in a previous post.
The Finwall family before my father was born.
Her husband, Petrus, was killed when a speeding fire truck's tire flew off and hit him in the face.
This was while he was driving with his family. My uncle, who was 11 years old, steered the car to the side of the road.
After this Della was unable to care for all of her children and work at the same time. She had to place 3 of them in an orphanage. This was the only thing available to working women at the time. Her oldest son, Glenn (the one who saved them) went to live with an aunt and uncle.
The accident happened in 1918. In 1920 the census says she was working as a checker in a mail order house. I wonder if this might have meant "proof-reader". If so Nancy and I have something in common with her (besides genes) because in our many years in advertising and publishing we've done our share of proof reading.
I don't know how she got the money to buy a boarding house but this is what she ended up doing.
Maybe the fire department (or city) gave her something to repay her for the accident.(although I doubt this). Or maybe it was after she married her second husband. Anyway she got her whole family back together and lived happily ever after.
Della and her second husband, Jack Gilbert. (this wasn't her wedding picture).
She was an amazingly positive person. She became a Christian Scientist which might have explained her positiveness. She put two of her sons through college. Lost one of them in the 2nd World War.
Another son, my father, got rheumatic fever while in college and died at an early age (42). Her oldest son (the little hero) lived into his 90's and was a wonderful artist. The second son became a fireman.
Two quotes of hers have always stuck with me-
When we were little kids she always said "You are God's perfect child". I'm not the least bit religious now but I think her repeating this so often in my youth gave me some lasting confidence.
The other quote was "Nothing is ever lost, it's just misplaced." Every time I misplace something, which is daily, I think of this comforting thought and calmly continue my search.
My mother the club woman. (on the left in the picture, and politically)
These were the days when you wore gloves and a hat to pour tea.
As soon as we got to a new neighborhood my mother joined a club. And it didn't take long before she was the president.
The copy under the picture says " with teenagers in the house constantly playing bop records it's only natural that Mom, too becomes bop conscious." I don't think we called it " bop", probably "rhythm and blues". It's true though, that she developed a taste for our music.
She was the president of the P.T.A. my first year in grammar school and again my senior year in high school. Unfortunately when I was in high school I didn't consider it very cool and died of embarrassment when she gave a speech in assembly.
It also says in the article that she was president of the Pomona Valley Woman's Club, publicity chairman for Fremont Jr. High PTA (past first vice president and hospitality chairman), legislation chairman of the high school PTA and past PTA council hospitality chairman. For three years she was chairman or co- chair of the Mothers March on Polio.
But that's not all- at the same time she was the Girl Scout Troop chairman. ( My father was the Boy Scout troop leader). We had only been in town for four years.
Many years later when she moved to Fallbrook she joined the Fallbrook Players and the Toastmasters and the Democratic Club. She was the President of the Democratic Club for several years. This was quite a group of rabble-rousing senior citizens and in this ultra conservative town I think they were considered "Commies" even though they were pretty middle- of- the- road.
I just finished a class with Helen Shafer Garcia combining watercolor with pastels. I loved it.
This was my first. She gave us a black and white photo to work from.
This assignment was to chose a photo with a path or roadway going into the distance.
This was the second class.
This project was to do something floral with something geometric in the background. Not too happy with this. Still working on it, supposedly. But I'm not too good at completing things.
Last class: something that flies. This is a work in progress. Only about half done. I hope I keep working on it, but I like to finish things in one session and often never finish them otherwise. I think I'm liking this, though so maybe I'll make myself finish it.
I did this for a session of critiques with Mary Tomaskevitch. Our assignment was to do a landscape in "designed realism". In other words take a realistic landscape and make it "designy". I liked the watercolor/pastel medium so much that I used it here, also.
I loved Girl Scouts and I loved this meeting room. It was above the gym in our local park in Chicago. It was called Trumble Park. It had everything... a huge swimming pool, sports fields, this great gym with the upstairs meeting/play room. In the winter they flooded one of the areas for an ice skating rink.
This room also had little wooden kitchen appliances which we played house with when we were younger. I love the arched windows in the background and that great mural. Little did I know I would grow up and move to the land of Western movies.
This must have been some kind of induction ceremony. I'm the short one in the very middle, right above the Girl Scout insignia. Doesn't our scout leader look sharp in her military inspired uniform?
We wore sashes across the front of our uniforms with our merit badges on them,(although I don't see them here). The only badge that sticks in my mind was called "Animal Husbandry". About 4 or 5 of us got it mostly by appearing on a television program that featured a vet who told us about taking care of animals. We all stood around his examining table in a very realistic set of a veterinary office. This was in the pretty early days of T.V. when you didn't have the huge choice of programs that we have now.