by Elnora Watters
I became a Christian when I was only 8 years old and believed in Jesus and knew he would always protect me The only one I had a fear of was my brother, he teased me and picked on me in any way he could. I was the baby of the family.
Over the past 20 years, though, we grew closer and I realized in our own way we did love each other from the start. He passed away Sept. 10, 1997 of Cancer.
Through this knowledge I realized you can't let others see your fear. Having Faith in God is the only way to face our many enemies, mostly fear.
When I was 10 years old my cousin and I were in Snover, Michigan visiting our Grandparents when there was an uproar with Mexican workers. Marguerite and I went to the little soda bar to have some ice cream when some Mexicans walked in, they came over where we were setting and told us to move and give them our seats, Marguerite got up and told me to come with her and I told her I was there first and for them to get lost. One of them raised his hand to slap me. I told him to go right ahead and I would see him rot in jail. Suddenly he started to laugh and said I had guts and left. The waitress came over and asked me if I knew who he was and what he had done, I told her no, she said he had beat another person almost to death and was out on parole, I told her `I didn't care, I was there first.
Another time when I was about 12 years old I was riding my bike down the side-walk when two drunks stepped in front of me and tried to force me off the bike, I yelled at them and told them to move or I would mow them down. I started riding my bike right at them and they moved.
After I got married we moved to Ford St. in Warren. The only time I did feel fear was if my children were with me. I didn't worry for myself, I had no fear about being hurt, but feared the children would be hurt or worse, killed.
I don't know how I got known as the one to call when there was a problem but when our neighbor had a peeping tom looking in her window she called me to come and help her. I ran over there and chased the guy over the fence. My neighbor called to me and wanted to know what was happening and I told her I was watching the guy run across the field.
My neighbor, Grace, was running around with her boss and his wife came to her house. Grace ran to my house for protection. After the wife smashed Grace's windows, she came over to my house and told me to tell Grace to leave her husband alone. Weeks later Grace and her boss ran away.
Later we saw a car parked in front of our house. We assumed it was a private detective. Jim told me to avoid him but one day I loaded the kids in the car and gave the detective a merry chase around our neighborhoods for three hours.
When we got home the man came to the door and asked if I knew where Grace and her boss was and I told him no. He thanked me for the chase around town and left. We never saw him again.
When the pole lamps, with three different color shades came out, I wanted one. I had a pole lamp so I bought three bulbs, red, yellow, and green and put them in; I lit the green bulb, went outside to see how it looked then tried the yellow and red bulb's. I went in the house to admire them, when there was a knock at my door, My neighbors husband was there, he said he saw my red light and wanted to know what I charged, I told him $10 for friends and asked him who sent him. He told me this neighbor, who was a troublemaker in our neighborhood, I told him to go tell the neighbor he was chicken because he didn't come over first. I removed the bulbs after he left.
This neighbor, who loved to cause trouble, would sat on his porch and try to find some kind of gossip to spread. Jim and I had a very good friend, He did the same kind of work my husband did, sometimes he stopped over to see if Jim was home yet from work. We decided to put a show on for the neighbor. Our friend and I stood on the porch pretending I wanted him to leave before Jim got home, just then Jim came around the corner, as the three of us planned, Jim jumped from his car screaming our names, "Haha I finally caught you two together." Our friend said "Oh no, please don't beat me I will leave." Then we all laughed. Our neighbor finally realized we were putting on a show for his benefit. Not long after that he moved. All of the neighbors were happy.
When we moved to Shelley St. in Warren, my heart got worse. I had heart surgery. After this we enjoying life in our new home and had lots of fun as a family.
Our three older children were active in Drama, Band, and Choir. Jim had a Theater in our basement so almost every Saturday we opened our house for the kids. One week for Drama, one for Band, and the Choir, the last week would be the Church members. We had rules and regulations and the kids who came always abided by them.
Sue was still very young. She started school after we moved to Shelley. I went to work after she started school. Chris played French Horn and was in drama. Richard and Micheal were in Choir and Drama. On Wednesday night we held Church in our basement. Our church sold the building, planning on building another one but they decided against it and divided the congregation into three other churches.
About seven years living on Shelley, The neighborhood started to have trouble with gangs and dope being sold from the school across the street. Even though our neighborhood was beautiful and had very expensive homes, the gangs took over.
The police couldn't stop the problem due to the open area around the school. The kids could see the police from a mile away. At night the neighbor's and their children wouldn't go outside to even sit on their porches or walk around.
Our two boys worked on paper routes then later Micheal started working at the store across the main road.
Due to the fact our house faced the front of the school, the kids thought we were the one who called the police. Some of the boys tried to tear Jim's ham station antenna down, but it was in the cement several feet deep.
One night several boys, taller than me, came to our patio door, we tried to call the police but couldn't get through. Jim wasn't home, my girlfriend and her two girls were at our home with my kids and me. I took our dog by the collar and walked outside with the boys and asked them what they wanted. They said I had to stop calling the police or they would beat me up or set our house on fire I told them I hadn't called the police yet; but would they like me to? One of the boys said he was going to beat me up. I turned to him and told him to just come ahead, another boy told him to do it and I turned to him and asked him if he would like to be first. They looked at me and I stared back at them and they just left. I went into the house shaking but knew if I would have showed them I was afraid they would know they had won.
Several days later another boy came to my door, drunk or high and also asked me why I called the police, I told him the same thing I had told the others, He reminded me I had a son who walked home every night from work and I looked him in the eye and told him " Yes and you remember that son has a mother and if you hurt him I will see you rot in jail after you get up off the floor. "The boy left, again I was shaking. I wished at that time Jim had a day job so he would be home with us. I felt I had to protect my family any way I could, but was afraid I'd fail.
About a month later a couple of boys threw some eggs at our house, I marched out the door and put my finger up one of the boys nose, he was taller than me, I was so mad I don't even remember what I said but the other boy came over and asked the boy with my finger up his nose, if he needed any help, I stuck my other finger up his nose also screaming at him. The neighbor across the way was watching and I yelled at him to help me and he said "Lady you are doing fine by yourself" It is funny now but at the time I felt like killing the two brats and the neighbor. Finally they got loose and took off.
One day when I saw a car load of kids chasing a little boy on his bike with their car and almost hitting him, I told Jim I wanted to get out of there. We put our house up for sale.
Just a few days before we were to move I decided to call the police, I had been accused of it for so long so why not. I called the Chief of Police and told him how to catch the kids and when. I told them the kids had guns hid in the school parking lot lights, where to find the sentry's that watched for the cops, when and how the dope peddlers came. I told them to come in unmarked cars and park not too close to the school. Have paddy wagons, ready and good luck.
That night the police picked up three paddy wagons load of kids, adults etc. Jim and I were so happy and my kids watched from the windows. It seemed so nice for the couple of days we remained there.
After we moved we went to Winthrup St. in Utica, Michigan. About 6 month's later Jim and I were at a Flea Market not far from where we lived when a young man, with a girl on his arm, came up to me and asked " Your Mrs. Watters, aren't you?" I told him yes and he thanked me for breaking up the gang that night. He told me he had wanted to leave them for some time but didn't have the nerve. Jim and I walked away happy to think we had at least helped one person that night.
It was very hard for Susan to move to another school and find new friends. I know she doesn't believe it but she was and is still the one who held Jim and me together. After all the older children went from home, Jim and I had lots of problems and Sue's interest in horses put another chapter in our life. All of our Children have given us so many memories and we will never forget them. Thank God for his Love.
Then we moved from Shelley to Winthrop St. in Utica, Michigan. On Winthrop we were away from the stress of dope moving into our life's and the opportunity to grow up with our youngest daughter and move into a new direction. Our kids were away from home, two were in College and Richard was in the Navy.
Sue didn't have the same interest's the three older children had. We all got involved with horses. Sue loved them and still does. Jim and Sue got very close and were always with the horses whenever Jim didn't work.
We had a beautiful home in Utica but there wasn't any basement. We had a beautiful family room though. The house was somewhat smaller then the house in Warren.
Some of the funny things we had on Winthrop were some of the neighbors. Our next door neighbor was very dense. A person could tell her anything and she would believe it. She was a sweet person, though, but had a couple of boys who would steal a person blind.
One funny thing concerning this neighbor was the day Sue brought home a couple of chickens from school, It had been a project, My neighbor came over and asked why we had the chickens. I told her they had them at the school experimenting on them. She asked "What were they doing to them" I told her they were giving them 'different sex'. She wanted to know what that was to do, I told her they were trying to change the rooster into a hen and the hen into a rooster.
The next day she came back and wanted to know what that would do, I told her the rooster would lay eggs and the hen would crow.
A couple of hours later she came back and wanted to know what would the eggs look like, I told her they could be different shapes, color, all yolk, or all white inside. I thought she was trying to give me enough rope to hang myself but discovered she was believing everything I told her.
I had a friend who had chickens that laid color eggs so I got one from her. The next day when my neighbor came over I showed her the egg. You would have thought I had shown her a gold nugget.
Jim told me I should be honest with her and tell her the truth. So the next day I told her I had been 'pulling her leg.' She looked at me and started yelling " You are just trying to cover up the fact you have a very expensive project and don't want anyone to steal it. I couldn't convince her .
Several months later when we discovered her boy's were stealing in the neighborhood, I was sitting on her porch when her son sat down by me and asked right out " You haven't been robbed yet, have you?" I looked at him and said no. I then told him " if you think you can get into my house right now while I am here with your mother, just try, but I want to tell you my dog is in the house. By the way my daughter is in her room and if you can get past my dog you can have her also."
He looked at me and said "Your dog is very gentle he wouldn't hurt anyone. "I told him " O.K. if you feel brave enough, just go ahead." He walked away.
The next day I was on my porch and he came with a friend of his and the friend told me he had heard I had a police trained dog. I just smiled and asked him if he wanted to try and see what he would do. (My dog would lick a person to death, he was gentle.)
We had so much fun with the horses. We went on trail rides and horse shows. Sue found lots of friends and still is involved with horses even though she is married and has two handsome boys.
Richard has three beautiful children, two married, one at home, and a grandson.
Micheal has two beautiful girls and Christine has two handsome boys and a grandson.
Jim and I are very blessed with our family. All of our children and their mates plus their children are Christians. I feel Jim and I did a very good job raising our children. We had lots of financial problems and health problems. But with the kind of home life we gave them helped them grow up with fine values. But I believe, with out God and His Son Jesus we could have never succeeded in the raising of our fine children.
Jim and I live in Missouri now and had quite an experience in the reasons we moved here. We thought we had faced lots of things in Michigan but when we came to Missouri it was just like the old Pioneering days.
Jim lost his job in Michigan and we had to sell our home on Winthrop so we could leave with money enough to get started elsewhere.
Going back a year before we moved we were in Springfield Missouri for the birth of Nathan, 1978. Our Son Richard was thinking of buying a mobile home, he wanted us to see it. While there we were interested and asked the salesperson if he knew anyone with land for sale around Springfield, thinking we could invest in some land and have it for our retirement time.
We went to see a man named Joe Hayes, he told us he had 10 acre plots for sale and told us to pick out whatever one we would like and he would make it easy for us to pay.
We went home to look at the papers and have a lawyer check them over, we called him and said we were happy with them and would send them back, signed.
December of the same year, Jim lost his job. Due to it being winter there were no jobs. By February we had sold our home and had to move in March-April. We had land but no home on it.
We called Richard in Springfield and asked him if they had decided to buy the trailer and he said no. We had him go to the man and ask him if we sent a deposit to him would he hold the trailer until we got our money, and he said yes.
We came to Morrisville, Missouri. and made arraignments for the trailer to be placed on our land, electric power to be put in, well dug, driveway put in and propane brought in. We were here for one week.
Jim, and I went back to Michigan to pack our things and gather our four horses, two dogs, and cat.
Jim, Sue and I left Michigan about the tenth of April on a windy, rainy day. We had a U-Haul truck, two horse trailers, pick-up truck and our car. We looked like a caravan going South.
When we arrived in Morrisville, we discovered it had rained for a solid week and we didn't have a well, no electric, no driveway, and no propane. We couldn't get up to the house because of the mud.
We couldn't leave the property due to the horses and other things we had, so Jim went to the phone and called Mr. Hayes, he told us to turn the horses loose on the acreage North of our land, due to the fact it was fenced in and there was a pond on it.
This took care of the horses but we still had to stay. Sue and her friend went home with Richard to spend the night and Jim and I camped out in the house. We had no blankets to cover up with due to the fact they were at the back of the U-Haul.
The next morning I woke up with no voice and we were both very hungry. Jim went to a little store, the only store in Morrisville, and brought home something to eat.
Richard, Sue and her friend came back also with coffee and food. Jim and the rest decided to try driving the pick-up back and forth to get our belongings to the house.
It took quite a while to get all this done but at least we had a roof over our head. After Richard, Sue and her friend went back to Springfield, Jim and I went to Boliver to see what we could do about the rest of our worries. I went to the doctor to get medicine for my cold. Sue's friend left to go back to Michigan.
To make a story short, we got the phone first, propane tank and 25 gal. propane second, had no electric or water for two months later. Jim had to carry water and use oil lamps and candles. Thank God the horses had water so we didn't have to carry for them. We really felt like Pioneers in a strange land, not knowing anyone. Morrisville was a town with only 200 people living in it and we lived 4 miles out in the country with the Sac River running through our land, but it was so beautiful.
Jim found a job in Springfield and Sue and I found jobs. During the first year we built a barn and pump house. We were a novelty to the farmers around here. This was all cattle land and here "City Slickers" were coming in with four horses and they felt we didn't know much. Truthfully, we didn't know much about cattle but Jim and Sue knew a lot about horses and that was all that counted.
Ninety percent of the barn was built by Jim, Sue and me. Some of the citizens of Morrisville helped with the rafters on the barn. Twenty years later it is still standing.
Sue and Jim worked side by side training, breaking and showing horses. We raised many baby horses in our barn and are very proud of them.
I asked a storekeeper when a person is considered a Missourian and he said "Three Years" I asked him why and he said "first year they look around, second year they go back where they came from and the third year they are too broke to go back."
Believe me after a few years of struggle I understood what he meant. With loss of jobs, illness, expenses, we seemed to not be able to move anywhere and just stay here and fight to hold on to what we have.
We have had lots of happiness here and lots of sadness also but I don't even think of having to leave here. At night I go out and see the beautiful stars, clean air, and even though people are moving in all around us, we still have lots of peace and quiet.
Sue lives four miles from us and has a wonderful husband and two handsome boys. I know she wishes she could move and live somewhere else but down deep Jim and I would be devastated, All of our other children lives so many miles from us.
I know they don't realize how much we miss them and the companionship we would have with them and our other grandchildren. I pray they will always know Jim and I love them all very much.
By Elnora Watters
I guess every girl has doubts before they get married, I did. My cousin, Elsie Brookins, and I talked for days about the right and wrong of saying "I do".
The day of my wedding I was scared, so many doubts and fears of the unknown going around in my head.
I started remembering the first time I met Jim. I was invited to my girlfriend, Eva Hobson, house for her birthday party. Eva and I had been friends for years and her mother and mine had also been friends since they were girls.
When Elsie and I got to her house I found out Eva was going to introduce me to her boyfriend's brother, Jim Watters.
I remember being so excited. I thought he was so handsome and so exciting. The whole evening he hung around me and everyone said we made a handsome couple.
Eva lived about 3 miles from my home and the buses stopped at midnight so I thought Jim would offer to take Elsie and I home, because we missed the last bus, but he never offered and no one else asked us if we needed a ride so Elsie and I walked home.
I was so upset and told Elsie I never wanted to see him again. The next day Eva called me and asked me what I thought of Jim, I told her I had a nice time but never wanted to see him again.
The next week Eva called and asked me if I wanted to go with Jim, Glenn and her to Canada to get tickets for the Ice Show. I said Yes, without looking backward.
Eva, Glenn and Jim and I had a wonderful courting time. We did all of the silly things the kids of today do. We went to shows, parties, and even went to parks to play on the swings, slides, etc. Yes we even necked.
Jim went to Electronic school and worked until midnight. Glenn and Eva picked me up lots of nights to join them in some of their activities.
After Glenn and Eva got married, Jim and I were on our own. During the week nights we ended up dating between 1 a.m. and day light or I would take a bus to Detroit, where Jim worked and have supper with him and after he got off work we would drive back to Warren and stop at our little favorite diner called "Bill's Diner". It was a little streetcar made into a Diner. After we ate we would drive into my driveway and park, mostly fall asleep, until the sky got light. My mother always made us park so she could see into the car window and see if we were behaving ourselves.
Elsie and I, at night would take a blanket out in the front yard and count stars or talk until Jim came over. When the weather began to get cold my mom would make a bed on the couch for Jim. I would go to my bed and I would go to sleep and mom would lock the house and Jim would have to just head back to Detroit and go home. Most of the time he had his car but the nights he stayed was when he had no car.
In October of 1949, Jim asked me to marry him. We were setting in the car and he asked me "What would you say if I asked you to marry me?" and I told him yes, and he said "Consider yourself asked," and that was it.
Several weeks later Jim asked me if I still want to marry him and I said yes. Jim took my hand and told me to go with him into the house. After going in to the kitchen, and turning the light on, he slipped a ring on my finger. He then told me to wake my parents up and tell them the news.
On the cold nights we spent most of our time at my house. Jim started spending lots of his time on weekends working on Heath-kits (Electronic kits )
I started feeling neglected, and Elsie and I would talk about it but then Jim would do something sweet, which made me mad to think I had doubted his love.
One of our biggest problems was the way we each were brought up. I was a Christian and Jim was not. All of his friends drank and had wild parties, my friends didn't do these things so we didn't see many of mine. Our music was different and our taste were different. His parents drank very heavily and the only place we ever saw them was at a bar. We both knew we loved each other even with these difference's so on December 3rd 1949 we were married.
The night of our wedding, while waiting to go to the Church I was standing on a blanket, with Elsie, my Bride's Maid, waiting for Jim's parents to pick us up. They didn't come and I started to panic again, wondering if this was a sign we were not to get married.
My Dad and Aunt Ellen Conley rushed through the door and told us Jim's folks had forgotten to pick us up. They rushed us in the car and I was already late for my own wedding. Jim was pacing up and down the in front of the Church. I rushed out of the car and slipped on the ice and fell. Jim asked if I was hurt, I said "Only my pride."
Finally we got into the church and as I walked down the isle I saw lots of friends.
Where we held the reception was something else, nothing like the halls of today. We had to clean the hall the morning of the wedding, decorate it and prepare all of the food our selves.
When we got to the reception we discovered Jim's friends had a Van loaded with hard drink. We didn't want this, knowing his friends and parents drink heavily, but other-wise all went fine.
Jim had rented my girlfriend, Mary Ann Bliss's, house. We had to share the house with the landlords teenage son and another couple. We had no money to take a honeymoon or even rent a motel room for the night.
When we left we realized Jim's friends were planning on invading our place so after we deposited our gifts at our place, Jim went back to the hall to let them know of the others living with us in our house. Jim's friends teased him about being kicked out on his wedding night. and wanting to know what he had done.
As all married couples discover, it is hard adjusting to each other. Jim was still going to Electronic School and working and this helped us to adjust slowly.
I had not learned to drive so I would continue to take the bus into town and have supper with Jim and stop at our favorite Diner on the way home. Living with so many in one house, it seemed like I worked all the time trying to keep the house clean.
Our income wasn't the best, Jim made $48. a week and $74. a month for going to school through the Navy Reserve. I continued to work and made $25. a week. We paid $50. for rent and all of the utilities for all who lived in the house. Their rent went to the landlord.
We decided not to have a Christmas tree our first Christmas due to finances but when I came home from work three days before Christmas, my Mom and Dad were decorating a tree using half of their Christmas decorations. Our first Christmas was beautiful.
Our first fight was over a NUT, Jim was cracking them with his teeth, I have soft teeth and this scene made chills go up and down my spine. I asked him to stop or I would leave, Well he didn't and I did leave. Several hours later I came back and the door was locked.
Finally he unlocked the door and told me never to do this again, he saw too much fighting when living at home.
Jim's parents would call at all hours of the day or night when Jim was home and want him to either come to a bar or take them home due to being drunk. Most of our fights were over his parents drinking and fowl mouths.
In the early Fall of 1950, Jim and I finally got to go on our Honeymoon to Colorado. It was beautiful, even with car trouble we were so happy. The day we came home we read in the paper, the place we stayed was snowed in.
Jim and I moved to Royal Oak, Michigan on Potter street. The house held two apartments divided by a bathroom shared by both tenants. We finally were alone and happy to start our marriage together.
We furnished our own place with my bed from home, a ice box, a 100 year old couch, a table and three chairs my Dad had gotten at a second hand store, and a gas stove that had to be lit with a match.
Richard was born March, 28,1951. He was the apple of my eye, and handsome. I had to wash his diapers in the sink. It was hard but we did it with lots of love.
I was lonesome though, my family lived a ways away and we had no phone and I didn't drive. We had no television in those days but had a old radio and nice neighbors.
After Richard was born Jim and I moved to a new upstairs Apartment also in Royal Oak on 13 mile road. We had garden space and the house was in the country. It was a nice place but we couldn't have any company after 9 P.M. with Jim working and again no phone. I was alone most of the time.
When the people made the apartment they set the entrance to our place back from the stairway so they could get to the eaves, where they stored things and put a window over our stove so we could get cross air. This worked fine except for one thing.
When I would be outside hanging clothes, I would leave the baby upstairs in his bed asleep. Our landlord had a seven year old girl who would come into the apartment, through the window, and get into our things or take Richard from his bed and hide him in eaves or in the closet. Her mother couldn't stop her from doing this so I had to make two trips up and down the steps to do the wash and hang out clothes.
One time I carried him and the dry clothes up together and hurt my back. We had no phone and I couldn't get the landlord because they had just left. I dragged the basket and baby up the steps and got Richard in his bed and fell down and waited until Jim got home from work.
Jim took me to the hospital and I was in traction for a while. My Mom and Dad took care of Richard and helped Jim look for another place for us to live.
The house across from my parents became vacant so Jim rented it. A WHOLE HOUSE TO OURSELVES. We stored what furniture we had due to the fact this house was furnished. We felt like we were newly weds and started acting like kids again.
It was nice living across from my parents and having someone to talk to. I got pregnant with our second child. Richard was growing up, sweet and fat. Jim was working as a projectionist and repairing TVs.
Jim and I played cards a lot. We also watched our little TV we had gotten some time back. With Jim holding down two jobs, he was gone a lot but having my parents so close helped a lot.
I got pregnant with Micheal and we were so glad to be expecting another child. Jim's father and mother got a divorce about that time. Jim's dad started dating a lady named Dorothy, a good friend of Jim's family.
One night we got a call from a hotel where Jim's grandfather was staying, They told us Grandpa Bailey was very sick and needed help. His mother didn't want the responsibility so Jim and I went and picked him up. I loved Grandpa Bailey very much, I often wished he had been Jim's Dad. He was loving and easy to talk to.
Jim's mother would call me drunk and give me orders on how to take care of her father, but refused to talk or visit with him.
I was exhausted with being pregnant and having a 18 month baby and two men in the house, one not feeling good. Jim started drinking and staying out late at night and we started fighting. He felt his Grandfather was crowding us seeing we only had two bedrooms.
I talked to my mother and she told me to talk to grandpa Bailey and see how he felt about moving back to the hotel, so I did and he went back, I gave him a key to the house and told him he was welcomed anytime he wished to come see us. Grandpa Bailey told me he loved us and would be back to visit soon.
Jim's dad would come over with Dorothy and tell me how Eva and I weren't good enough for his son's, we just wanted to change them. I took this with a grain of salt.
Jim settled down and we visited often with his Grandfather. I loved that man. He was the Grandfather I hadn't had for a long time. Both of mine were dead.
Micheal was born in February 7, 1953. He was such a darling, well-shaped baby. I finally felt our family was complete and Jim started staying home more whenever he could.
Two month's after Micheal was born Jim had brought Scarlet fever home and the two boys and Jim got it and I came down with a lighter case. Did you ever have a very sick husband , a two year old, and a baby down sick at the same time. This was in April and in those day's the Health Dept. puts signs on your door so no one could come in the house. It is cold in April in Michigan and I still had to do the work. We had no Dryer in those days and I had to hang clothes outside.
My mom came over every day, taking her coat off outside, leaving it on the steps, she would help me and daddy would get our groceries. When mom left she would stand outside in the cold for a little while and then put her coat on and go home.
Guess what, I got pregnant again and had morning sickness. We just didn't know what we were going to do. The house we were renting was small and we had a little car Henry-J. We loved the car but not only was too small it also had a big hole in the floor on the passenger's side, causing cold and wet feet when going through a water hole. Haha
I haven't said much about my parents, they were always there when we needed and helped us lots, but they also let us live our own lives.
My dad was helping a man build a house and he talked Mr. Wells in selling us the house and my folks mortgaged their home for the down payment. We were so happy.
We moved in during the summer and the house didn't have a furnace but we agreed to put it in ourselves before winter.
This house was located on Ford St. in Warren, Mich. and was our dream house. I wanted to have a house warming party to celebrate our new home but Jim's dad talked Jim into letting him have their wedding reception at our house and we could call it both a reception and a house warming party at the same time because everyone we knew would be there. None of my friends or family would be there so we had no party of our own just a drunken brawl.
Jim is a loving husband and I loved him a lot but at that time he just couldn't stand up to his dad. The kids and I could always have anything we wanted as long as we could figure out how to pay for it. We never seemed to be able to discuss as a family where or how things could or should be handled. He has always been a hard worker and still is.
Before winter came my brother Lawrence came down from Lapeer and put our furnace in.
I was six month's pregnant when Jim's mother, Alveretta Inez took very sick with liver problems caused from to much drinking. Jim and I went to the hospital as often as we could due to my having problems carrying Christine. Jim's mother died October 16,1953. January 17, 1954 we had a beautiful baby girl with dimples just like her Grandma Watters and we told her that her grandmother blessed her with them before she died. This gave us three children less one month of being four years. It was quite hard having a three year old, one year old and a new baby. My mother was ill at this time and was unable to help me and Jim's dad and Dorothy were going to come for a few days but backed out. Jim was like a lost soul and didn't know what to do so I was on my own.
I have to say at this time that if I wouldn't have had faith in Jesus and my friends to help anyway they could I don't think I would have been able to manage.
I loved these little babies God had given to us and tried to do what He would want me to do.
When Christine was about two months old we got another phone call from the hotel where Grandpa Bailey lived telling us he was very sick and they couldn't keep him anymore and we would have to fine someplace else for him to live.. We called Jim's bother Gerald, to go with Jim to Detroit and pick Grandpa up. When they got home Gerald said they had no room at their place and Jim's brother Glenn said they couldn't take care of him. So we fixed a bed for him and kept him with us. He improve for several days but then got sick again. Jim took him to the doctor for an examination to find out what was wrong but before we could get the report. He died during the Saturday night in our bed.(This is mentioned in my Testimony) We called his family and I asked them to help me clean up the bed but none would help so I called Eva's mother to help. She came right away. My Mom and Dad took the kids for a few days. I couldn't sleep in our bed and I felt his presents in every corner of the house. It seemed like the pressure was getting to me.
Jim started going to church more regular by this time but when he didn't go the kids and I went with my folks.
Almost two years after Christine was born my mother died suddenly and my mind just snapped. After her funeral I ended up in the hospital with strip throat and depressed. I didn't want to live. The doctor told me it was because of too much happening in such a short time. For three years I lived in my own Hell. I saw ghosts, didn't want to clean house, got frustrated with the children and wanted to die. I even hated Jim. I Thank God He gave me the strength to come out of it but I know deep down my kids have the memory of this time. I know I do. I sometimes don't know why Jim stayed with me. Finally we started getting things back in our lives. Jim would show the neighbors movies by putting the camera in the garage and shooting the picture down the drive way on a screen. We got close to church and friends we both loved.
Eva and Glenn moved down the street from us also on Ford St. in Warren and Eva and I were close girlfriends again and both of our children became good friends.
In January of 1958 I became pregnant again with Susan. She was born on September 6, 1958, She was so tiny and very pretty. With Richard and Mike in school already and Christine starting the next year, I had one baby to take care of during the day.
My Dad had remarried a lady named Opal and it was strange seeing Dad with a woman. Daddy had rented his house to Elsie and Archie but Archie had wrecked it. So Daddy and Opal moved in with us for a while and we discovered she didn't like the closeness Daddy and his family had between us. She was the only Grandmother my kids knew and it was hard sometimes to bite my tongue when she said hurting things about Daddy or his kids and grandchildren.
To the day Daddy died we always stayed close to each other. It seemed like we always had someone living with us. It was hard but I praise Jim because they were mostly my family and he always accepted them.
Jim lost his job and got very sick, so I went to work in a hamburger joint until he got a good job with Altec and I continued to work and had a good baby-sitter. Things started to look up again for us. We were able to take vacations and buy things. Jim's Dad had divorced and remarried a lady called Tolie, so he was up in Houghton Lake on weekends and worked during the week. When he did come over he still was DAD.
I started having chest pain, but didn't know what it was, I thought it was because I was working so much or just stress, I also was afraid the family would think I was having another breakdown.
We lived on Ford Street in Warren until 1963 then we bought a brand new pink brick house on Shelley Drive in Warren. It was beautiful but the move was bitter-sweet. I had to have heart surgery. We found out our insurance wouldn't cover the operation so I waited a year for Blue Cross to go in to affect before I went to the Specialist, He said if I didn't have the surgery right away I would not live. We called Bill Finley's mother and asked her if she would take care of the kids due to the fact my step-mother wasn't talking to us and Jim's Dad's wife lived in Houghton Lake. After the surgery the doctor said I had lived less than a month and then the surgery was experimental and they didn't know how long it would last. Grandma Finley stayed while I was in the hospital and for a long time after to make sure I would be OK. This surgery was done in May of 1964.
As soon as I could I went to work at the school in the Cafeteria. By that time all of the children were in school and were real good and very active in school. In the seven years we lived there we had lots of friends, went to Church often and had opened our home up to the young folks from the children's school and Church. Jim had build a theater in our basement and the young kids loved to come over on Saturday's to watch movies.
I started having problems with my heart again and due to problem's starting to appear in our neighborhood,(Mentioned in Happy moments.) We decided to move to a home on one floor. We moved to Utica, Michigan on Winthrop St.
When Richard and Sharon got married they stayed in our vacant house for several days before we moved in. He left for the Navy then went to College after he got out. Micheal and Christine went to College very soon after. Susan gave us the thrill of raising horses and sometimes getting a bang or bite from one of them. Sue was smart and did very good in school but her heart has always been with horses. I want to let all of you Children add your own chapters of your lives after this period of time.
I do want all of you to know we always loved you and are so happy we could be here all of these years to see all of you grow up.