Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Family

The girl on the left was my Grandmother her name was Letha and she raised me. She was born in 1906 and was the oldest of 5 children. But her parents both came from large families. Their parents had traveled to Kansas when it was Indian territory. They lived in dug outs and they worked really hard. And they taught their children to work hard. My mom could cook, sew ( on a trundle sewing machine), knit, crochet, embroider, quilt, tat lace, braid a rug, bend a wire coat hanger into a Barbie sized hanger, can food, grow a garden, work in the fields with the hired hands, do laundry by hand or a wringer washer if she was lucky, change a flat tire or the oil in a car if need be and raise any animal you could throw at her. Including us two legged ones. And still have supper on the table promptly at 5 P.M. She was an amazing woman.
This is her family, most of them are gone now and I never met her dad
But I knew Grandma Francis well, she had been a schoolmarm before she married 
as was all the women in her family before her. She was tough as nails and you didn't mess
with her more then once. Maybe that was because of Grandpa Bruce Francis, he was as tough as they get.
His dad came from Scotland and wore a kit from time to time, O.W. was a fun loving man that knew how to
laugh, dance a jig but also how to till the ground and make things grow. O.W. Francis
was a pioneer, he married his wife in Ohio after putting up an advertisement and then the two of them
proceeded to Kansas via covered wagon. They lived in a dug out and raised  10 or more children there.
He had plots of land in each of his son's names and acquired over 150 acres all of which they worked. 

One day O.W. decided it was time t build a house and so he did, the finest in the county he would not be undone. This is a tiny little town and on one side is my families home the other another giant home. A banker
who also did not want to be out classed by a dirt farmer. So the two proud men built and built until their masterpieces could not go any further. My great,  great grandfather and his sons built the home themselves.
I have been there and seen it. It still has all the original gas lights, stained glass windows and heart shaped chain link fence. Both men declared their home was the finest in the county but my great, great had  his put on a post card which boldly and proudly told the world that his was the best. 

This house is listed in the national registry. It was my mothers dearest wish to enter her grandparents home one more time before she died but the men that lived there since her grandparents passing just wouldn't let anyone in. The new owners, restored it to it's original glory (with some modern additions) and they graciously let family see it. I am privileged to be able to say I have been there.