Thursday, February 19, 2015

Story 2 of the Baby Grandma Series: He Left Her Hanging

Last blog post, I introduced you to my paternal grandmother, Iness Marie Walls.  My sisters and I called her "Baby Grandma" because she was so small compared to our other grandma.

Baby Grandma is the little baby in the front seat with Uncle John Clark.  Grandma Clark in the back and to the left.
Teen girl was their ward, Betty Shoultz.
Baby Grandma was a quiet person and didn't tell us stories very often, but her brother Harvey, well, he was a different story. (pun intended!)  Great Uncle Harvey loved to tell stories and back in 1998, my dad videotaped him telling some of his favorites.  I recently put this interview on DVD for my dad and also made a copy for my Aunt Nancy.  (Surprise Aunt Nancy!  I know you are reading this! Can't wait for you to see the whole interview again!!)

In the words of Uncle Harvey, here is the story of when Baby Grandma got "hung up".

"Iness and I were small.  We liked to go over to these nice apple trees near the house.  The people [they belonged to] kept them pruned.  But one time, they left a little branch sticking out [about 6 inches long].

"Iness had on a pair of bloomers that reached down to her knees.  They were made of some old shirting [probably muslin].

"One day, we climbed up the tree and started to climb down again when Iness slipped.  The crotch of her bloomers caught on that branch left sticking out.  She flipped upside down and there she hung!  I was scared to death and didn't know how to get her down.  I was afraid to go to the house to get help, so I left her hang there!  The blood was rushing to her head and finally I hollered at somebody and they came and lifted her down."  End quote.

Can you imagine?  I have kids and I have sisters and I can image there was laughing and crying and some threats being made!

According to Uncle Harvey, Baby Grandma lived with her Grandma Clark (who was actually her father's sister) all through her grade school years.  She went to Pleasant Valley School and walked about 4 miles to get there.

When Baby Grandma was about 7 years old, she was either living at her father's house temporarily or her older sister Lulu was living at Grandma Clark's.  Lulu contracted diphtheria. Diphtheria is a horrible bacterial sickness that is airborne.  The symptoms include cough, sore throat, fever, swollen glands, bluish skin, swollen tongue, and a film coating over the throat and tonsils.  Baby Grandma told her daughter Florene how Lulu died.  Baby Grandma recalled that she and Lulu were both being treated for Diptheria.  They were sleeping in the same bed.  One morning, Iness woke to see that Lulu's skin looked bluish and her tongue was black and swollen and hanging from her mouth.  She remembers that they could not get her tongue back into her mouth.  Lulu had died in the night.  Baby Grandma apparently recovered.  Lulu died on August 22, 1914 and was laid to rest next to her mother in Storms Cemetery.  I am sure there was sadness in the family after that, but nothing was ever shared about how Baby Grandma or any of the others felt.

Once she finished grade school, Baby Grandma moved back into her father's house.  Her father had married the neighbor woman by that time.  Her step-mother, Ida Hixon, had several children herself and one daughter near the same age as Baby Grandma.  Ida's daughter Olive and Baby Grandma went to Bournville High School together. Olive graduated as the Valedictorian and Baby Grandma was the Salutatorian.

Olive Hixon, third person from the left in the front row
Iness Walls, third person from the right in the front row.  Graduation Picture

After high school, Olive and Baby Grandma went to work at the telephone company in Springfield, Ohio.

Since I do not have a lot of fun stories of Baby Grandma's early years, I think tomorrow I will share the story of what her brother Harvey and cousin did to their Grandma Harriet Walls.  It will really knock your socks off!

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