Friday, February 12, 2010

We'll miss you Great Aunt Myrtle-- April 25, 1918 to Feb. 10, 2010

My great aunt Myrtle who we called "Grandma Myrtle" passed away this past Wednesday. I spent the last few days before her death sitting beside her bedside holding her hand, reading out of the Bible to her and encouraging her that as she steps over into this new life that her Lord and Savior would be with her every step of the way cause He has told us He will never leave us nor forsake us. She passed from this life into the next at 8:20 P.M. on Wed. Feb. 10th. We loved her and we'll miss her but she has now rejoined her beloved husband Grant and is in a better place. Here is a short history of her life....

Myrtle May was born on April 25th 1918 to William C and Maggie Ann in a small town in the Midwest.
She had one older brother Charlie who later left home as a young man never to be heard from again. She also had a younger sister who passed away at a year old from double pneumonia and whooping cough. Two younger brothers Les and Earl completed her family.
Now we'll fast forward several years to Myrtle's High School years.

Her father worked for the railroad and her mother worked in a chicken factory as well as keeping up with the domestic side of running a family doing the cooking, cleaning and sewing which included making beautiful quilts of which I treasure today.
Myrtle dearly loved her two older brothers and was heartbroken when they later went off to war to serve their country in WWII. She remembered her father also going off to serve in WWI.

Myrtle lived through the Great Depression and that affected how she viewed life until the day she died. She never wasted food and stretched the dollars she had as far as they would go. Her cellar always had canned goods in it and chickens were kept in her backyard for eggs. We all could learn a lot from her and her generation today.
She graduated High School on May 26, 1937.

This is her Senior picture. She always had natural curly hair and I love the hairstyles of that day and time. You will notice she always was dressed as a lady as probably was the custom in 1937. No sloppy jeans and T-shirts was probably ever worn by her in her entire life.

Myrtle likes to tell that when she was in High School she worked as a secretary and walked to work everyday. One day a man pulled up in a car and he offered her a ride. She accepted and after that he always drove her to and from work. He was several years older than she was and his wife had been killed in a tragic car accident and he had two sons that were her age. They married on Aug. 27, 1937 three months after she graduated from High School. He was my Great Uncle and he was the love of her life.
Grant had a motorcycle and Myrtle would ride along beside him in a sidecar. Later they bought matching Indian motorcycles and traveled all over the country. This was in a day when it was not common for women to ride motorcycles much less driving their own. In 1942 they rode to Garden of the Gods in Colorado. She said she was stung by bees and yellow jackets while riding in the sidecar. While going to the Royal Gorge the highway was almost all down hill and rocks were sliding down the sides of the hills and onto the roads. She would tell us she held her breath the whole way down. Her and Grant went out and carved their names on the bridge as it swayed in the wind. They spent the night sleeping in a little cabin at the base of Pike's Peak.
I enjoyed spending time with Grandma Myrtle and listening to her stories but wouldn't it have been great fun being her best friend. Even at a young age she was one of a kind!

And I am sure my Great-Uncle Grant loved having a pretty young wife to pamper!

And Grant loved cars. Especially fast cars. So Myrtle always seemed to have a pretty car to drive. Grant wrote to the Studebaker-Packard Corporation in Detroit and told them that their new car didn't go as fast as they said it would. Apparently, he had taken it out to see just how fast it would go. And it didn't cut the mustard! I still have the onionskin copy of that letter. I am so thankful Grandma Myrtle never threw anything away! Because of that I have a treasure of wonderful things and I have been able to make a beautiful scrapbook of her life.

Is she the princess here or what? She loved to tell us about the pink Cadillac Grant had bought for her to drive. And she had a Cinderella dress to go with it!!
I don't know what kind of car this is but it's my kind of car. Grant and Myrtle never had any kids of their own so they poured all their love out on other people's kids. Including those of Grant's nephews which included me and my brothers and sisters!

Hmm, are we posing here Grandma Myrtle??
Now Grant retired from the Mo. Pacific Railroad and he had a great love for trains. And he had a shop right down from their house where he pursued his hobby of building miniature trains.

Notice she , always the lady, is painting in a dress! Myrtle always said she worked right alongside Grant in his shop. And he would tell her she was the best help there was. She painted, used the drill press and did everything except weld. Together they built a three foot tall steam engine that was powered by a real steam producing boiler which ran on tracks around the yard.

Kids and adults alike would line up to ride the miniature train for free. Isn't she adorable here! And tiny!

Grant was well known all over the country for his miniature trains and he sold them to parks for carnival rides. How I would like to find out whatever happened to the trains he built and if they were still operating today!

Myrtle would tell us there was many times she would have a train being built and parts of it would be in her bedroom. Don't you love it!!
Along with trains, Grant would also build children's rides and set them up in their yard so the children could have rides. In 1953, they opened Kiddie Land which 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. They ran the park for 8 years until they sold it in 1961. It is still open today during the summers and many of the rides are still the originals that Grant built.

Notice the date on this picture was Sept. 1954. Myrtle would have been 36 here and still would fit into a kiddie car!

Here is Great Uncle Grant standing beside one of the Ferris wheels he built. I was born in 1953 and I can remember as a little girl going to their house and riding the Ferris wheel set up in his yard; Don't know if this is the same one but I do remember the feelings of wonder and awe seeing that someone could have a Ferris wheel in their backyard! I am very scared of heights so not sure how I did on that ride but I do remember that Ferris wheel!

These swings are set up in his backyard. How would you like to have been a kid living next door to the most popular couple in town?

I took my son and daughter to Kiddie Land when they were little so they too could ride the rides their great-great-great Uncle and Aunt made. These two kids are now 26 and 22 and my hopes are that someday they will take their kids to experience the wonder of Kiddie Land.

Here they are with Grandma Myrtle. How I enjoy seeing pictures of my kids when they were little. And how Grandma Myrtle loved them and enjoyed being with them. Where does the time go?

Grant passed away in 1980 and Grandma Myrtle lost the love of her life. She never remarried.She occupied her time with delivering Meals on Wheels, helping with Red Cross blood drives and being guardian to several ladies that needed someone to help look after them.

She lived alone at the same residence she came to as a new bride for 66 years.
But the day came when she could no longer take care of herself and she had to go live in the local Alzheimers unit. She no longer knew who she was or any of us either. But the place she lived at for the next 7 years had my sister as Director of Nurses so she was well cared for by family. Here she and I are at one of their Christmas Teas.
In a few hours she will be carried to her final resting place by that same little boy whose shoulder she had her hand on in the picture above. Except now he is 22 years old and a police officer in the town she called home all her life. And a short history of her life that was written by that same little girl in that picture will be read. And we the family she has left behind will mourn her passing. But we have our memories and will always treasure the good times we had with her.
You were the best Grandma Myrtle and we'll always love you!
The family you left behind.....

1 comment:

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