Saturday, January 14, 2006

Grandpa Floyd and I, 1958

This is my Dad's Dad. He was born in 1899, graduated high school and went to Telegrapher's School for the Santa Fe Railroad, graduating it just in time for World War 1. Son of a Civil War soldier (later a minister), with 3 older brothers who were in the military at the time of the Spanish American War, he enlisted and was assigned to the Signal Corps. He ended up in Europe, in the trenches and was "gassed", spending a year or so recuperating before he was discharged with chronic asthma, and later it turned out weak heart as well.

He came back and decided to follow his father's footsteps and become a minister. He was in the 2nd graduating class from Baylor's seminary (I believe in 1925); while attending it he met my grandmother, Lila, and by the time he graduated they had married and had two boys. My Dad came along in '27, they lost a little girl to pneumonia in '28; that fall Grandpa had his first heart attack. It took a year for him to recover, and the doctors said that desert air would be easier on his asthma so they took a missionary post in New Mexico. Grandma talked about how the dust and sand was so bad as they drove west they stuffed cloth and rags in the door jambs of the car to try to keep from choking on it!

Their last son was born in 1930; by the mid 30's they moved back to Oklahoma so the 4 boys would have a better education. Grandpa had various churches; in the late 30's he had another heart attack, not as bad, but he didn't recover as well, either. He kept going, the oldest 3 boys went off to WW2, my Dad leaving high school to enlist. After they returned and the youngest son graduated Grandpa had another heart attack so they requested another mission assigment and went back to New Mexico to a post on a Navajo reservation in summer 1950. They also traveled and lectured for the Mission Board, sometimes together, sometimes singly. This slide was from a visit on their way to or from somewhere.

They came to stay a week when my sister was born in '59 (some of my earliest memories); with all the driving and traveling, Grandpa as I remember him always seemed tired. In summer 1960 he had his 4th heart attack, bad enough that my Dad loaded us in his '55 Fairlane and was in Bernalillo from Kansas City in under 12 hours (no interstate then, all 2 lane). Grandpa got better, but they told him he had to give up preaching and mission work. He started making plans to retire, and finally did in 1963, moving to Nocona, Texas. I asked him once why he picked there, and he said when he was a boy he was riding on a wagon with his Dad freighting molasses from Fort Worth to Wichita Falls and it seemed like a nice little town, that he decided then he'd come back someday! He also had an older brother there, and two more brothers just across the Oklahoma state line around Marietta, where they had lived in the 30's and early 40's.

He tuned pianos, and made friends at the Masonic Lodge, but his "calling" got the better of him, and in 1965 he "took" another church at a little crossroads called Belcherville, Texas. I remember attending a Sunday service there and looking up at the numbers board to see that he had a congregation of 13 the week before.

For Mother's Day of 1966 he bought Grandma a new Ford "Custom" and when the dealer offered him a "death rider", he took it. In June, 2 weeks short of his 67th birthday he was up early, finished drafting his Sunday sermon, went out and got the mail and then went in to sit on Grandma's bed and talk to her. He collapsed on her, and that was his final heart attack. I was 8 at the time.

Grandma lived another 34 years on her own. More of her later...



I n g e r said...

Oh Alan. I'm totally choked up. You have such a talent for spinning a tale, and what a life to spin. Punctuated by all those heart attacks, too--heart attacks as mileposts, or as the stations of his life. Oh my.

I love his tired old hand on your baby belly. Love the cat peeking out from the side.

Thanks for sharing this.

sjobs said...

Oh, what an adorable young boy. Your tale of Grandpa's life is amazing. To recover so often from heart attacks back then is truly something.

Thank you for sharing. I can hardly wait to read about Grandma.

sttropezbutler said...

I have to say that reading and hearing the stories of others is just the nicest way to start my Sunday's. How amazing!

Thanks Alan!


scrappy rose said...

what a great memory to have...

Blogzie said...

Great story, Mr. Alan.

Grandpa Floyd was a remarkable man and this photo shows that he truly loved you.


Anne Arkham said...

Love that red hair.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

This is a very telling and amazingly sweet picture.


Barbara said...

Oh Alan, what a wonderfully sweet story of your grandfather. I love reading your gentle stories of remembrance and tribute.

I think in this "world awhirl" this sharing of our stories and our life experience is what may be our salvation.

Heidi said...

That was beautiful :) said...

That is an awesome story. I envy people who have such vivid memories and close ties to their past.

Jen said...

What a wonderful story of your Grandfather.
The lives we lead are so interesting and captivating.
I love the photo, what a great tribute.

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