Gram's Story, Part 3

In Part 1, the family arrived in the Touchet Valley during the late 1800s. Jennie, our Gram, was born in 1902 and grew up on a wheat farm. At age 10 she faced the death of her mother and the challenges of being the family cook and caretaker. In the final paragraph of Part 2, the young farm hand and neighbor asks, "Jennie, will you marry me?" Her response was "Yes!" Here is Part 3 of Gram's Story.

Jennie wanted to complete Normal School before she returned to the valley and into the arms of her betrothed. As always, with the best laid plans - things did not go according to hers.

The first problem arose immediately following their winter engagement: John, her father, became contrary about the tuition expense. He did not want to pay for her remaining education and asked to be reimbursed for the amount he'd already covered. Jennie was penniless until she received her teaching certificate and a position. Raleigh's job as a farm hand was subject to season, weather, and crop fruition.

Unfortunately, there was more trouble brewing for the young couple in love.

Her eldest brother, Floyd, was enamored with Raleigh's only sister, Blanche. She was very attractive and the four had often double dated.

Apparently, Blanche accepted a casual dance invitation from a fellow student while completing her Teaching Certificate at Normal School. When the gossip reached Floyd, he was jealous and angry.

Floyd's emotions boiled over and spread towards all of Raleigh's family. He couldn't say enough bad things about them to anyone who would listen. He told John that he had witnessed Raleigh urinating on the outside wall of the local church and that Raleigh and his brothers were "hooligans."

That was all the encouragement John needed to present Jennie with an ultimatum.

"Call of your engagement," John told Jennie. He declared that the two were not meant for each other and the relationship would never last.

"No! I am going to marry Raleigh," was her emphatic reply.

Those were the final words that passed between father and daughter that day and forever.

On May 31, 1923, Raleigh and Jennie eloped. One of their siblings probably had a Motel-T Ford that they borrowed for the hour drive to the Justice of The Peace.



Jennie wore a navy blue suit with a matching hat. Her most vivid memory of the day was "how handsome my new husband looked" and how her hat "was ruined" in the pouring rain as they dashed from the courthouse to their hotel.

There was no honeymoon as "we didn't have a car or much money."

Her handwritten notes mention a wedding shower and a gift of $50 that her sisters had collected between them.

John disowned his daughter Jennie on that day.

(Comments from her sister Fern who will be 99 in April, 2008: I never understood why Floyd and Dad were so ornery with Jennie. They didn't treat me that way. Jennie cooked and did the laundry and worked so hard. I tried to help her but I was seven years younger. I remember one Saturday night when Floyd arrived home late from a date. He went into the kitchen and ate a whole pie that Jennie baked for Sunday Dinner. He did stuff like that. I think Floyd was dad's favorite because he was the son born after the first three were daughters. Dad was on his death bed in December of 1949. He eyes seemed to turn constantly towards to the door of his hospital room. I think he was waiting for Jennie to come and say goodbye. But, she didn't.)

Comments

Willowtree said…
Estrangement from family has worked fine for me.
Junebug said…
That is a sad thing. I know it happens to probably every family. My brother didn't see my dad for about 20 years before he passed away. I wish things could have been different but I could do nothing to change it. My mom has always tried to put me in the peacemakers place in family situations like it was my job. I had to stop feeling guilty about it. It's not my place in life to straighten out everyone else. I wish I could, but I can't.
Tiggerlane said…
Wow...you can almost see the troubled look in Jennie's eyes. And my first thought about John was NOT pleasant.

You are such a fabulous writer. If you don't have a book going by now, at least we get to witness your excellent writer in this medium. These are my favorite posts!
katy said…
how sad that they never spoke to each other again. Families can be a pain I know mine are!
i enjoy these posts too
Kila said…
That's too bad about Jennie's relationship with her dad ending like that. But I'm wondering, was her dad was right about the relationship?
Peter said…
Great Grand-father John and brother Floyd were a good pair 9or a bad pair I suppose.)
ChrisB said…
That is rather sad and it must have been so hard for her to walk away from her family. Her father and brother did not treat her very well considering what she did for the family.
swampy said…
I do hope you are putting all this in book form for publication some day.
Swampy's Place
Shelby said…
Oh my goodness that's so sad.
Hayden said…
so sad, and not terribly unusual. People used to have very different ideas about the role of children, it seems the oldest often took on the role of an adult.

My aunt eloped at 17 - although her mom was alive, it was somehow my aunt's job to carry the load of cleaning and cooking for parents and 2 brothers. Not a nice life. Didn't speak to her dad at all before he died, and didn't see her mom again until she was past 40.

sad.
Gattina said…
You made me read the whole story except part II because your link also leads to part I and I can't find n° 2 ! I love these old stories of our grandparents and especially those who had imigrated to the "New World".
It was terrible what an amount of children people had at these times just like a cat ! My grandma had 11 siblings and my Grandpa 12 ! But they were already more clever and only had two daughters although the last one (my mother) wasn't really wanted and an accident after the first one was already 4 years old ! And my parents only had me !! Can you imagine to raise 12 children ?? I faint .....
Amanda said…
I love all these old stories. Gram and Pops loved each other so much. I'm glad she followed her heart. I AM sad she never made peace with her dad, but I think he had that coming.
Karmyn R said…
I agree with Amanda, but - I'm sure it haunted Gram never to have made peace with her father.
Tammy said…
Yes, some how I didn't find part 2...but from all I did read, I hung on every word. I love family history, and just posted some of my own this weekend, as a matter of fact!
Your grandmother looked so sweet and pretty...and your grandfather, was indeed, dashing.
So sad that her father treated her that way!
lisa's chaos said…
It's horrible that she was disowned for that. :( Sounds like they leaned on her too much and just wanted her to keep caring for them - the new husband I'm sure would want some of her time so things would have to change. I'm just glad I didn't live back then. Loved hearing my great-grandma's stories about wagon trains and such but wouldn't have wanted to live then.
Jenni said…
How sad that Jennie and her father never reconciled their differences. Sometimes those breaks are for the best, though. There are some people you can't please no matter what you do. I'm glad she went ahead and married Raleigh and took her own chance for happiness. I just love your family history series!
theotherbear said…
How sad! Pamela, you have written out this story so beautifully.

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