Friday, April 25, 2008

Happy 90th Birthday Great-Aunt Myrtle!

Interview with Myrtle:
I was born on April 25, 1918 in Missouri. My parent’s names were Maggie Ann Frye and William Clarence Frye and they chose the name Myrtle May Frye for me. I had three brothers named Charlie, Earl, and Leslie. I also had a baby sister named Velma who died from double pneumonia and whooping cough when she was a year old. Charlie disappeared in his 20s on the way back from California and was never heard from again. We wrote to the sheriff in the last town he called us from, but no one there had heard of him and they were unable to find any trace of him.
My family lived through the Great Depression and that has affected the way that I have lived the rest of my life. My father fought in World War I, and two of my brothers fought in World War II.
While in high school, I worked as a secretary and walked to work everyday. One day a man pulled up in a car and he offered me a ride. I accepted and after that he always drove me to and from work. He was several years older than I was and his wife had been killed in a tragic car accident and he had 2 sons who were my age. We married on August 27, 1937.
Grant worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad and he built miniature trains as a hobby. He also built other children’s rides and we set them up in our yard and let the children in the town have rides. In 1953, we started Kiddie Land in Pittsburgh, Kansas. It was a children’s amusement park with miniature rides. Grant built most of the rides there, including a miniature Ferris wheel and train that drove around the park. We ran the park for 8 years until we sold it in 1961. It is still open during the summers and many of the rides are still the originals that Grant built.
One of Grant’s other hobbies was fast cars, he always had to have the newest and fastest cars there were. He even wrote a letter to the Studebaker-Packard Corporation in Detroit and told them that their new car didn’t go as fast as they said it would. Grant bought me my own pink Cadillac and I drove it everywhere. We also had matching Indian Motorcycles and took lots of road trips in a day when it was not common for women to ride motorcycles, much less drive their own.
In 1942, Grant and I took his motorcycle and sidecar to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado. We traveled all over Colorado on the motorcycle and I was stung by bees and yellow jackets while riding in the sidecar. We went to the Royal Gorge and the highway was almost all down hill and rocks were sliding down the sides of the hills and onto the roads. I held my breath the whole way down. We went out on the bridge and I carved our names on it, while standing on it I could feel the whole bridge swaying in the wind. We spent one night in a cabin where we could see Pike’s Peak, which is named after one of Grant’s relatives.
Grant and I never had any children of our own and we spent our marriage working on Grant’s hobbies, traveling and spending time with our families. Grant died on New Year’s Eve 1980 and I have “adopted” Grant’s nephew’s grandchildren as my own. (Interviewed by one of Myrtle's Great-Great Nieces)

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