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Nanny's Story

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S: The Life of Bobbie Jean Tooke Averyt

FC: The Life of Bobbie Jean Tooke Averyt | Nanny's Story

1: Every great story belongs on a bookshelf. . . . The Life of Bobbie Jean Tooke Averyt Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Wife. Mother. Grandmother. Friend.

2: Bobbie was born in Crosby (Harris County}, Texas on March 2, l930, the eighth child of Roy Horace and Sarah Vandalia York Tooke. I was really the seventh child, my Mother Sarah had lost a baby between the first and second children. My sisters tell me that when they came home from school that day, they had a new baby sister. The house I was born in was in the downtown area of Crosby near the railroad track that ran thru the town. As of this date, April 14, 2001, it is my understanding that the little house is still there. At this time, my older sister, Pauline, was married and had a son, John Winston, a year older than me. I had four sisters and two brothers when I was born. My father worked at a sawmill there and around Crosby. I understand times were really tough and money was very short. We all lived in this small house. The people of Crosby

3: were very good to my Mother and gave her a shower, gifts that she saved for me to see when I was grown.. My sisters Marjorie and Pauline were already married and my sister Doris married Harry Lindstrom shortly after I was born. They tell me I stood at the door when Harry was coming to see Doris and yelled “Haddy” to Harry. We moved on to Corrigan, Texas when I was about two. This was during the depression and it was a very tough time again for my family. My sister Marie and my brother Roy have told me stories about being very hungry, not having any money and the owner of the stores there in Corrigan letting them charge their groceries for months at a time to keep from going hungry.. My sister Gloria was born February 22, 1933 in Corrigan. I do not remember any of this time. When I was about five years old, we moved to Alleytown, Texas, off what is now Interstate 10 near Columbus, Texas. I do remember living there and going to early school. I do not know if it was called Kindergarten or not. My Father was still doing sawmill work. My Father did not have much education. I think he went thru the 6th grade. His Mother died when he was very young and his sister and brother were all separated to live with different relatives. I remember the little house that we lived in . It was on a bend in the road. One night a car came around the bend too fast and ran up under the porch of the house where my sister and I were sleeping. Another time I was crossing the road to go to the store for my Mother and was struck by a car, knocked down , but was not hurt. My sister Marie, brothers Roy and Bill went to school in Columbus. I remember my Mother listening to stories on the radio, soap opera type stories. This was about 1935. We moved across town soon after the car went into the porch. I suppose it was the nicest house we ever lived in. I can remember some of the times, especially the time I was playing on the barbeque grill and jumped off and cut a large place on my upper leg. I also remember playing with Marie’s camera. She was really upset that Mamma had allowed me to play with it. I do not remember moving from there to Cleveland, Texas, but do remember a little about living there. Not anything I can put my finger on. I do not think those were very happy times. Our houses all had no electricity, indoor plumbing or any of the niceties that we have today. We burned kerosene in our lamps, wood in our little wood burning stove, and kerosene in our cook stove. We used flatirons that we heated on the stove for our ironing, wash tubs outside to do our

4: laundry and boiled our water with fire under the tubs. We used a big wash tub for our baths. Pretty primitive compared to today. Before I started to school, we moved to New Caney, Texas, which was about 20 miles south on Highway 59. My Daddy took a job as night watchman for a shut down sawmill that was owned by a very rich man from Houston. He owned some horses that had been race horses and my Dad took care of these horses. We lived in a very small house with a tin roof, my Mother, Father, two brothers and two sisters and. I. As you can see, we were very crowded. I remember my first day of school .I was 6 years old. A young man was chasing me around the school room . I fell and cut a place on my eyebrow. After school that day, his Mother brought him to see me and brought me a gift. As I look back on my life, I think I was prone to accidents, as I have had quite a few thru my years. Typical old Nanny Poo. My first grade teachers name was Miss Ada Casey. The new school that was built a couple years after I started school was named after her. She was great and I loved school. The building was a red brick. I remember having to make those swirls before we could start doing our cursive writing. I loved music and had a wonderful music teacher. I guess the most wonderful time that I ever had in school was in New Caney. The train track was in front of our house and I loved sitting on the fence watching the train go by and counting the cars and waving at the conducter and the caboose. We played on the large sawdust pile, climbed trees and played on all the old saw mill parts and wheels. My best friend was a black girl whose father worked for my Dad. Her name was Frances. Her Mom & Dad were Jake and Nancy. They were great. When we were not in school we were together constantly. We sometimes let Gloria play with us. Gloria is my little sister who is three years younger than I. After we moved to the new school, I took piano lessons, was in a piano recital where I played Coming Round the Mountain for the audience. I was in lots of plays and learned to sew in my sewing classes. We used electric machines at school and I used Mammas treadle machine at home. This is where I got my love for sewing. It was just a great school and we all had some good times. I remember riding the school bus, felt like I was going to freeze to death during the winter months, waking up in the mornings with mynose so caked over that I could hardly breath. I remember our cow named

5: Bossy, our chickens and our rooster that was bad at spuring anyone that went near him, our garden where Mamma got all our vegetables, going to church and my Dad always inviting the Minister home for Sunday lunch. He came out from Houston to lead our service and my Dad was the only one who would ask him home to eat. We always had fried chicken, rice and gravy and jello and whipping cream that came from our cow Bossy. When Mr. Griffin, the man my Dad worked for, got rid of his horses and sold the land, we moved across the highway into a nicer house. This is where we lived when I had measles. They were so bad., I thought I would die. My fever was so high. I remember my Sister Marie’s boyfriend Ike delivering ice to our house, and the big general store where we shopped and my Sister Marie working . On Saturday, we were allowed to buy an ice cream cone and a penny candy. Marie later married Ike He had a pickup truck and took us to Cleveland to the movies. He always stopped at a store and bought us a small pecan pie. These things were so rare for us. I suppose this is why I remember all this trivia. It would be nothing to all my Grandchildren today. I do not regret any of my experiences. These experiences made me the person I am today. We grew up very poor, but we did not know it. Everyone was in the same situation. We were taught that we were somebody and that is all that mattered. My brother Bill, 3 1/2 years older than me, played football and we went to his games. I do not remember much about Bill at this age. Roy my older brother was good at scaring me, especially when I had to go into the one bedroom we had in our house, to get my nightclothes. I was really a sissy. Roy went to High School in Humble, Texas where he graduated High School and then went to work in Houston for the Coca Cola Company. He lived with my Sister Marjorie and came home occasionaly on weekends and brought us a case of cokes. We had never had anything like a Coke before. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and Roy enlisted in the Marie Corp shortly after that and left for duty in San Diego, California.He then went to Guam to fight the Japs, that is what we called them, and was gone for about about 4 years. Shortly after, Bill graduated High School in Houston and joined the Navy, was on a ship around China. I have to go back some to tell

6: about my Dad building a house for our family on a piece of land that my Mother bought with her egg money. She sold eggs and saved enough to buy an acre of land in the same area on Highway 59 in New Caney. Daddy built our home, which was not fancy in any way. It was just a small house with a small living room, bedroom and kitchen. Gloria and I cut paper dolls out of the Sears Catalog and played on the floor in the living room. We also played with our dolls. Shortly after it was built , the war, World War II, started and we moved to Houston, Texas (Harris, County), the county in which I was born. I was 11 in 1941. . My brothers were both over there fighting for our country. Most everything was rationed, gasoline, nylon hose, soap powder, we saved the toothpaste tubes to turn in, mayonaise,. Etc. It was a very impressionable age for me. The only news we had was the Movie Reels at the Theatre. We had newspapers of course, but they were sketchy. I loved all the songs that were coming out during the war and I sat on the porch and sang at the top of my lungs. My brother Bill met the love of his life while in High School. He gave her a ring before he went into the navy. She was the most popular girl in his class and our family liked her as well. When he came home from the Navy, World War II, they broke up, and she gave him back his ring. He let me wear it for awhile. All the girls at school thought I was engaged and do you think I told them differently. No way. He later met and married Rebecca Jones and had their first child when I was 18. I had never been around babies and she was a novelty to me. Becky Ann and I have always been close. They went on to have 2 sons and another daughter, Marcie. Bill was a tooter. While in High School he wore clothes that my Mother did not approve of. My Mother was very old fashioned by todays standard, 2001. I was in the seventh grade in New Caney, but when we moved to Houston, the Principal put me back in the sixth grade. I do not remember much about this school. It was just a few blocks from our house and we walked to school. Bill went to High School and Gloria and I went to this elementary school. We lived in the Houston Heights and lived at 413 East 28th Street. We had a small house again with no hot water, but did have an indoor bathtub. We still

7: boiled our water on the stove. I remember when we got a telephone for the first time. My Mother was in tears all the time because my brothers were fighting the Japanese. It was a sad time for the whole Country. I met a friend sometime during this period of my life (Charlene Plachy). Her family was polish. They had a very interesting home that her father, a barber, built. It was on about 2 acres there in the Heights. She had two sisters, and older brother and the sweetest little Mother. They all played musical instruments and Charlene was very artistic. We remained friends for years. She had Lupus after her Daughter was born and was ill lots. Lupus affected different parts of her body. She died when she was about 50 on the operating table. She was having heart surgery. Charlene married her high school sweetheart. After she met him, I was in the way most of the time, so I made myself scarce. My extended family came to our home almost every Sunday and all of us kids walked to the Heights Theatre to see a cowboy movie. Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and all the old stars were my heroes. We went next door, after the movie, to get an ice cream cone and then walked home. My sister, Gloria and I played monopoly with the boy and girl next door for our entertainment. We played baseball out in the street with all the children in the neighborhood. I went t o Hamilton Junior High School, later on to Reagan High School. During this time I got a part time job at Weingartens, a large chain of grocery stores in Houston. I started working when I was about 15. I first worked at one store in the Drug Department and then was sent to the Downtown Store to work in the Bakery Department. I worked for $5.00 a day on Saturdays. Supplies like soap powder, nylon hose, etc. were in short supply during the war, and I was able t o get these things for Mamma when they came into the store. I was not much of a student, but had fun with other things. I had three good girlfriends. Eunice and I spent a lot of time together, mostly at her house. Her Mother ran a boarding house. Eunice had 2 older brothers and a sister. Her Mother had two men and 2 younger men who were friends of the family who all lived there. Their house was large. Her Grandmother lived there too. It was a great place to visit. Her Mother cooked great big bisquits and gravy every morning .. She was a wonderful cook. Everyone sat around a big table. T he young boys all had motorcycles and I rode with them every chance I got. It was fun and my Mother would have died if she had known. I

8: My Mother was in tears all the time because my brothers were fighting the Japanese. It was a sad time for the whole Country. I met a friend sometime during this period of my life (Charlene Plachy). Her family was polish. They had a very interesting home that her father, a barber, built. had a boyfriend during high school that was planning on being a minister. He was Baptist and I Methodist, so we split hairs on that. He pumped me home on his bicycle most days. My brother Bill did not like him at all. Merlon would stay to eat with us and would comment on not liking something that Mamma had cooked and Bill would tell her how good it was and to cook it every night. He borrowed a friends car and had a flat tire on it while we were out, so we were stuck. I never did go with him again. When I first went to work for Weingartens I had a blood test They did this at the drink counter, After I was finished, I got up and walked a few feet and fell in the floor on concrete. Broke off my two front teeth and had to have caps put on them. Weingartens paid for them, thank goodness. I had never been farther than Lufkin until I was about 16 or 17. I went with my friend Eunice and her family to watch a motorcycle race in Shreveport, La. We had a great time. When I was 18, my favorite Aunt was killed when their little T-model Ford turned over into a Ravine on the way from their log cabin into downtown Lufkin. It broke her neck and she died instantly. She was my Mothers brothers wife, Aunt AnnLouie. In her yard in Lufkin, she had an outdoor kitchen that she used in the summer. I remember her cooking popcorn and how good it was. She had feather mattresses on her beds, they raised sugar cane and peanuts. I got a stomach ache from eating too much. She was very outspoken, but we all loved to visit there. Their house was off the road not far from the Berry Cemetery where most all of my Mothers family are buried, including my Mom and Dad. Aunt Annlouie was married to my Mothers Brother Perry York. He lived close to where he grew up. I remember he and my Aunt chewing and spitting tobacco. They were very country, but the salt of the earth.

9: The war ended in 1945 with Germany and then we dropped the atomic bomb on Japan. My brothers came home, Bo from the Marines and Bill from the Navy. Roy married his long time girlfriend and Bill married. Shortly after I had several new nieces and nephews. I was close to my niece Becky . Bill moved his family to Lufkin and Bo was busy with his family and I did not see them often. My next boyfriend was J. L. We met while I worked at Weingartens. He was from out of state and lived with his Aunt & Uncle on the East End of town. He would come to pick me up in the Heights, had to ride the bus from the East End to downtown, transfer and ride the bus to the Heights to get me.

10: We went to the movies in downtown every Saturday night. We then caught a bus back to Downtown, saw the movie, caught a bus back to the Heights to my house, we would walk from t he bus stop to my house and then he would go back into the process of getting home. Poor Boy. He had it bad. He came to my wedding, called me several years later to see if I was happy. I did not have a boyfriend from my high school. I guess I was shy and did not get acquainted with the guys at school. J. L. came on the bus and took me to the Senior Prom that was held at the Rice Hotel in downtown Houston. You know it, we rode the bus. I joined a group with Eunice called the Elkadets, a drill team sponsored by the BPOE,(the ELKS of Houston, Texas). We practiced in their building in downtown Houston, Texas. We represented them in most of the parades in Houston. We rode the bus to town and back. Everywhere I went, I went by bus. I was Captain of the drill team. My Dad was afraid for me to walk from the bus stop to our house, so he was always there in the car waiting for me. My Mom did not drive after we moved to Houston. One time when my Dad was sick, he needed to make a deposit at the bank in downtown Houston and he let me drive his car, and this car meant the world to him, to t own. I had never driven a car before, but I promised him that I could do it and that I would be very careful. Well I did it. Had a little problem with the car going dead on Main St., but I finally got it started and went on my way. Daddy was really proud of me. My Dad was my inspiration. He always made me feel good about myself. During my Junior and Senior year of high school, I took a job operating an elevator in the Neils Esperson Building in downtown Houston. It was a wonderful experience for me. I met a lot of interesting people. My last year of school was uneventful. I was interested in getting out of school and making some money of my own and just having a good time. We did have fun. Eunice borrowed the car of one of her Mothers boarders and we drove out South Main to Princes Drive-In for a Root Bear. This was great for us because none of my friends had cars and parents did not allow their children to drive their cars. At least the parents of my friends did not.

11: I probably took 10 years off my Dad’s Life with my fun at Cook’s Hoe Down club in Houston. Eunice and I would ride the bus downtown to the dance hall and dance to all the best western singers of the day, 1947=48. Ride the bus home and my Dad would always be there waiting for me. Thanks Daddy for being there for me. We did have a wonderful time. Daddy paid the price for my fun. Another place I loved to go was the Plantation on South Main Street. They always had a good band and there was a good dance floor. I did love to dance. I was always with a date. Dad did not have to wait up for me. Bless you Daddy. After high school I worked for a company for about 3 months and Eunice heard about a job with the Board of Cotton Examiners for two helpers to grade cotton. We were both hired. We had loads of fun everyday sitting in this huge room with overhead windows. The two cotton examiners grade the cotton and we recorded the grade. We were there for about 9 months. We were with the City Service and could only work 9 months. I was unemployed by then. About this time, our house in the Heights was to be sold and we moved to an apartment on the south side of Houston(the Montrose area). This apartment was upstairs where we had three bedrooms. Much nicer home than we ever lived in. Our rent was higher than it had ever been and I helped my parents pay the rent. They gave me my own bedroom and I thought I was so grown up. At this point, I had to go looking for a new job, and I ended up at Houston Fire & Casualty Co. working with 5 men and 1 woman. We lived close to my work and I was able to walk. This was about the late part of 1948 or early 1949. I do not know the time element in all of my activities. Did not keep a calendar or diary. My Mom did not like this apartment, because she did not like climbing the stairs, so we moved again just a few blocks over onto Crocker Street, which was much closer to my work. I went to dances out at Ellington Field that was for the Officers. My girlfriends and I and met some guys who were good dancers. Went there quite a few times and then met a guy who was in the Navy, stationed I suppose at Ellington. I do not remember. We dated for awhile and he was transferred out of state. On one of his leaves he came back to Houston and stayed at our home for about 3 days. My Mom, of course did not like him, so she sent him

12: packing. I had a good time working for HF&CC. This is where I met Bill Averyt. Never will forget the first time I saw him. He was Safety Engineer and had been out of town when I was hired. He came breezing into the office, which was small for 6 people, had all of his equipment in his arms, was very casually dressed, hot and sweaty and tired. He had been traveling, probably from Fort Worth to Houston. He had on white shoes with a red rubber sole, which I had never seen before, I guess the first bald headed man that I had ever seen, bald heads were not very prevalent at this time, and I wondered who this man could be. He did not impress me very much I had a very good time working at this job. The guys were all nice to me and kept me very busy. I worked for the Manager, a very straitlaced man and the other girl in the office worked for the Claims Adjuster. He was a character. We both worked for the other 3 guys. Bill always made sure that I had work to do. He was in Grad School at the University of Houston, going part time. I typed his Thesis so many times that I almost memorized it. If I was not typing for him, I was redoing his files. I think he thought if I did not stay busy, I would be fired. I met the son of the owner of our building we worked in later in the year and went to a few Aggie football games with him and dated the other single man in our office. He liked to dance and so did I. We dated some and later Bill got up enough nerve to ask me out. I told him I had a TEA to go to that afternoon and would not be able to go with him, (which was not true). He asked me again to go to Galveston and I went. I guess we liked each other immediately , because I never dated anyone else. While Bill and I were dating, we drove to Galveston on Sundays, went to the beach and visited with a couple that Bill went to school with in Gladewater. My Mom sent Banana Pudding one time, and Bill loved it. He lived in an apartment and did not get home cooked food very often. He thought my Moms cooking was the best. The road to Galveston was only two small lanes and it took about 2 hours to drive down there. We always listened to one the radio. He told me on July 3, 1950 , (Do you know what we are going to do in September, we are going to get married). Bill came in one day shortly after we became engaged, and put a little brown envelope on my desk. He had a note in the envelope with a beautiful ring that .

13: said, “This is to show the other guys that you are mine.” The diamond came out of his Aggie ring. He took me to Gladewater to meet his parents, I met all the Averyt clan, except his Brother Jack and his wife and son, Jack. While there Bill got sick. He had a strep infection and went to the hospital. His sister, Virginia drove me to Lufkin to catch a bus back to Houston.

14: Bill sold a piece of property that he owned with a friend of his. We used this money for our honeymoon. We married September 1, 1950, a Friday evening, at Bering Memorial Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. We had a small reception at my parents home. All my family and Bills family were there. My Dad bought my cake, which was beautiful. We spent the first night of our honeymoon at the Buffalo Motel on Buffalo Drive in Houston, Texas. We flew to Mexico City the next day.. I had never flown. We stayed at | the Del Prado Hotel in Mexico City. Everything was so great. We visited all the sites and met a couple on their honeymoon who Bill knew from his work at the Light Company. They invited us to cash our airline tickets in and ride home with them. Our journey home was hot and long, but we did get to see the beautiful scenery of the mountains. Bill had talked me into having my hair cut short in Mexico City. When I got home, my Mom said, Why did you let Bill talk you into cutting your hair.We had rented a small | apartment on Castle Court in Houston. Two apartments over garages. The stairs were between the two apartments. We bought a beautiful blue stove (Chambers Range), refrigerator and bed. Mamma’s next door neighbor gave us a chest with mirror and we set us housekeeping. I painted the old chest grey, a light pretty grey, and anything else I could find to paint. I had to quit my job when Bill and I married. Couples could not work for the same company. Not long after we moved there the

15: couple next door decided to kill themselves and stuffed rags under the doors, turned on the gas. When they got groggy, they lighted a cigarette and had an explosion. I opened our door to go out to see what had happened and there they were with no clothes on and their flesh burned. I did not get over this for a long time. I was lucky that I was not killed. Shortly after this happening, Bill was transferred to Fort Worth and we moved. We moved into a little two bedroom house on a corner in Fort Worth. We bought a couch and a couple of lamps. Bill bought some boards and bricks and we made a bookcase. We had a bowl out with pecans and soon learned that we had little creatures visiting our pecans and our cereal, etc. in the kitchen. We stopped up all the holes in the floor and soon got rid of them. I went to work for an insurance company shortly after we moved to Fort Worth. Bill started traveling some in his work and I was lonely. He bought me a little cocker spaniel puppy and I named her Taffy. She slept with me when Bill was

16: gone. She was sick and we lost her soon after that. The Manager at the insurance company promised me a raise after I had been there six weeks. When the time was up, I did not get my raise. I talked to him and he explained that he could not afford to give me a raise, so that day was my last day there. I got a job with Kimball Milling Company, a big canning plant. I was Secretary to the Vice President. All I did was answer his phone, so I sat most of the day and read. We bought my first car while there, a used Dodge. We went to lots of movies and saw the Harlem Globetrotters while there. Made a few trips to Gladewater and to Houston. Our first winter was cold with snow and our summer was very warm. We learned in July 1951 that we were expecting Bill, Jr. and we left our jobs and moved back to Houston. Bill started working for Pan American Pipe Line in 1951. He was located in the Esperson Builing, Downtown Houston. We bought a little 3 bedroom house under the GI Bill. Our payment was $52.00 a month. It had not been finished and we lived with my Mom and Dad for about 6 weeks while they were completing our new home. We were so thrilled to have a place of our own. We had to plant our own grass. Our house was on Val Verde off Westheimer. When we bought, we were out in the country in Houston. The Galleria is there now, 2001.We put up a fence and clothes line. I hung a lot of diapers on the clothes line until we bought a dryer. We had gotten a washing machine after Bill was born. I will never forget the day Billy was born. I went into labor early that morning. We timed my contractions all day and went by my parents house about 3:00 that afternoon and visited with them for awhile and then on to the hospital when my pain really started. Billy was born around 11:00. I spent a week in the hospital and had a chance to eat well and get my strength back. The nuns at St. Josephs were very strict with their rules and made me stay in bed. I went home on Saturday and left my baby with Bill and drove to the grocery store. I was very independent. Bill, Sharon and Paula were born at St. Josephs Hospital while we lived there. When Bill was born in 1952, Bill and I knew nothing about taking care of a baby. I had been raised around my numerous nieces and nephews, but had never taken care of a baby. Bill was almost as bad, but thought he and Dr. Spock knew everything. We almost starved him the first six weeks because

17: my breast milk was not enough for him. Doc put him on a bottle of formula and he grew like a weed. Oh the trials and tribulations of raising a baby with no experience. Two and one half years later Sharon was born. We had a little more experience, thank God. And then 19 months later came Paula. We had our hands full, but managed well with very little money. The good Lord was good to us. Our three little ones were all health and beautiful. | At this time, Bill got a job at Texas Butadiene out the other side of town on San Jacinto River. He.found a rent house for us that was in very bad need of a Womans Touch. We sold our little house in Lamar Terrace in Houston and moved to Jacinto City on I-10. Our back yard backed up to I-10, which was just a small two lane road at this time. (Can you imagine when you see it now)? We went to work scrubbing, and painting and making curtains for this nasty place. We could not put our babies down until we had cleaned their rooms. When we finished our work, it looked like a PALACE. We enjoyed living there. Texas Butadiene had a vast site of land there on the river, with a

18: park and swimming pool. We would meet Marie, Ike and Janice there in the afternoons and let the children swim and then we would have a picnic supper together. Little Bill started school at the little Whittier elementary school which was just a block from our house. Sharon gave us a scare one night when she went to the little store about 3 blocks from our house to buy some chitlee (candy). She came home pushing her doll buggy so unconcerned. The three chiluns had a nice room to play in and had a good time living there. By this time, I was making all the clothes that we wore. Little dresses for the girls, shirts for Bill and little Bill and shorts, etc. for myself. I loved sewing. Bill had a bee in his bonnet to buy some Lake Front property. We spent our Sunday afternoons looking at land. We found our place on Lake Houston in 1958. Paula was two. We had Marie and Janice watch the children and Bill and I surveyed the property line to the waterfront. It took all day. We bought a tent and stove, lantern and cots and

19: spent the first time out there at the front near the road. Not a single car came down the road while we were there. That was 1958. We were rained out, so we threw all our gear in the car and went home. As we cleared more of the land we started spending more time on the lake front and all our family started camping with us. We had some wonderful times with all my kin. Bills family came down a few times too. While living in Jacinto City Bills Dad lost a leg above the knee due to poor circulation in the lower extremities His Mom stayed in Houston with my Dad and Mom so that my Dad could drive her to the hospital to visit Pappy. He later learned to walk on his prosthesis and continued his golf game. n 1958, Texas Butadiene sold to a Paris Company and we left their employ. We bought our home on Hummingbird, 4410, and moved back to Houston. Bill went to work for the City of Houston as Corporate Manager of Refuse & Sanitation. We moved into our home at Thanksgiving and had a big dinner with family. I remember telling Bill when we looked at our home for the first time, that if I could have that house, I would never want another one and we lived there until 1994. We were in a wonderful neighborhood with lots of young people and young children. Bill, Sharon and Paula had so many friends to play with. The girls were still young, Bill was in school. I drove Bill to school every morning and picked him up in the afternoon until his second grade teacher called and asked me to please let Bill work off some of his energy by riding his bicycle to school. This worked for Bills teacher. We bought our home on Hummingbird in October 1958. We were very happy to move back to Houston. Bill had applied for a job with the City of Houston as Manager of Refuse and Waste. It was a Civil Service job, which did not have any money in its budget at the time, so the first 2 months Bill worked without pay. He did receive a city car which helped us very much. Bill was in first grade at Red Elementary. The girls were still babies you might say. We had a great bunch of neighbors with lots of children our childrens ages. The girls started to Pre Kindergarten at our church, Bethany Methodist. Robert was born in October 1960 in St, Lukes Hospital. Big Bills Mother had surgery to remove a tumor on the brain the day before at Methodist Hospital. She came home later to our house and was able to hold Rob, her youngest

21: Grandson. She passed away in December. She knew all of us, but could not talk. Bills Dad went back to Gladewater and lived by himself for several years losing the other leg to the same problem. He then went into the Nursing Home in Kilgore and got along well. He had lost most of his vision to Macular Degeneration. The years flew by with us spending our summers at the lake, building our little A-Frame house, buying a boat and the children all learning to water ski. Our children learned how much family means after spending so much quality time with Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Friends, etc. thru many years. The children when to Red Elementery, Johnston Jr. High, Bill to Bellaire High and Sharon, Paula and Robert to Madison High School. The last year of High School, Robert graduated from In 1967, I joined a Baby Sitters Co-Op and was able to get out during the day to do some outside activities that I enjoyed. I did Volunteer work at Hedgecroft Hospital, the hospital for polio patients during the epedemic of polio. It was then turned into a hospital for mentally disturbed patients. I did hair and enjoyed this experience. I joined the Ladies Auxiliary to the Texas Society of Professional Engineers in 1967. I am still a member but not active. I held almost every office except President thru these many years. Made some long lasting friends that I will never forget. Thank God for the Baby Sitters Co-Op. Learned to play bridge and played with the ladies of the neighborhood until I tired of the ladies taking the game so seriously. I got so much out of my Engineers Auxiliary. We started a Happy Hour group and a craft group and this got me out even more. The Happy Hour group met about once a month with our husbands and we all became good friends and had many good times. This was the greatest group of people, So many of my good friends have passed on, but I still keep in touch with my old time, good friends. { June 23, 2001} In 1968, Bill and I took our first trip in 18 years and flew to Jamaica for a week. Bill went to Boy Scout camp, the girls to Girl Scout Camp and Rob stayed with the Wolfes. It was wonderful, and nice to get away. And then in 1971, we invited Jack and Mary Lynn on our Copper Canyon Train trip down to the coast of Mexico. Was the driest summer Mexico had in years, but we enjoyed it very much. Seems as though the years just slipped away with our four in school, Boy

22: Scouts, Girl Scouts, Base Ball, Choir and all our time on the lake, music lessons and car pooling to all the schools. And then they were all in High School and the fact they were not allowed to go to their neighborhood schools. Sharon, Paula and Robert were sent to a high school over in the Negro District where they did not get the advantages that Bill had . Last year of school for Robert, Bill and Robert lived in the little A-Frame house and Robert had the best year of school that year. Thank God we were able to do this for him. All the fun of Paula and her twin boy friends and her drill team, Bill and Rob with their repairs, scraping boat trailers, working and painting old cars, etc. in the garage. Sharon and love of her music and TV. Just seems like yesterday that all these years have slipped by. Wish I could remember all of these happenings. They were wonderful years. And then there were the years of my Dad and Moms health problems and the loss of my Dad. He was ill for many years even before he retired and suffered so much before his death in August of 1968. Mamma lived by herself for many years and then went into the Nursing Home until her death in 1982.

23: As I have mentioned before, the years just slipped away and there were too many events that I do not remember. The boys were in Boy Scouts and stayed active, both achieving Eagle Scout, working on and repairing old cars, Paula was in the drill team in High School, took Organ Lessons, Sharon quitar lessons, Bill Organ Lessons and Rob cutting grass for neighbors. I was a Girl Scout leader for a time and took the girls to camp a few times, taught a four and five year old Sunday School Class. The College days for my children came so suddenly. I guess you never prepare yourself for your children leaving home. When Bill left to go to A & M it was quite an adjustment for all of us. A member of our family was not with us for all our meals. And then the girls were gone and just Rob left at home. Those years slipped away fast and before I knew it, we had weddings and our first Grandchild. What a wonderful happening. Will Grigsby was born when Robert was graduating from High School in 1978. We were so proud. Paula married in 1976, Bill in 1982, Rob in 1983 and Sharon stayed single. Our other four Grandchildren were born in 1984 and 1985. How blessed we were to be given another Grandson, Zachary. And then to be blessed with our twin Grand Daughters Laura and Sarah. And our new Blessing, Jennie Averyt in October , 1985. God has been so good to us for so many blessings.

24: I did some temporary work in downtown Houston while the girls were in college, And worked as a Volunteer at The Rehab Hospital (TIRR) in Houston for many hours. Did shampoos, worked in the Corner Store, held sales for donated goods, worked the Desk and many other jobs. I would guess I worked there about 10 years. I held many offices, even President of the Auxiliary. Started taking trips with Dan Dipert Tours. My first trip was a two week trip to see the fall leaves in New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, etc. Paula, Will and I took a trip to the Grand Canyon, California, Disneyland, etc. when Will was six. Sharon and I took a trip to California, Oregon, Washington, into Canada to Victoria and to the IceFields, down thru Wyoming, etc. on our way home. This was a 3 week trip. Paula, Sharon and I made a trip to Oregon that was very nice and Paula and I made a trip to Washington State. Sharon and I did a trip to Florida and down to Key West. Paula, Bob, Will and I did a trip to Machinaw, Michigan, New York, Washington, D.C., down thru Virginia, etc. Made a trip, the 4 of us to the East Coast to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and across to Shreveport, La. Our trips have all been wonderful. In 1985, I woke up not able to get out of bed. My arms felt like I had weights tied to them. I was sick at my stomach and did not know what could be wrong. This was the beginning of my battle with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Went to my Internist and told him my problem. He said I did not have arthritis, if I did it would show in my hands. I continued feeling the same symptons for weeks and then went to a Neurologist because I was having pain in my neck and spine. He did lab work for me and told me that I have RA, This dreaded disease took over my feet and ankles and made life miserable for me. I have always been very active and RA slowed me down as much as I would let it. It then destroyed my knee joints and in 93 I had my first knee replacement. It was wonderful to be able to get around again without a cane. I had been unable to get up without help from Bill. I took a 21 day trip by myself on a Dan Dipert Trip to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, Prince Edward Island and down thru Connecticut, etc. It was wonderful to see that part of the country that I had not seen before. I have been to most all the states and traveled quite extensively for an old gal alone.

25: In the early part if 94, we had the dishwasher in our home in Houston replaced and the installer did not tighten the valves on the plumbing .The water leaked and ran under all the floors in our Home. We had to move out for 6 weeks while all the floors were replaced and painting, etc. was completed. When we moved back in it was like a new home. We had the den and kitchen painted white. It was beautiful. Bill had a stroke in the spring of 94 that left him paralysed on his left side and our lives totally changed. Bill and Rob put up bars in our bedroom for Bill to hold on to for support so that he could get to the bathroom and shower. He was totally dependant on others to do for him. Bill and Rob were making many trips to our house to give us aid, which was getting old. They suggested that we move to College Station so that they could watch over us more easily. We put our house on the market and sold it in October of 94 and Bill went into a Nursing Home and I moved to a Retirement Community in Bryan. I had a two bedroom apartment there for 2 years. Bill had bought Long-term Insurance the last part of 93 which has really paid off for us. After I moved into Walden, I went back to Houston to have my left knee replaced. I stayed in the Hospital in Houston for a week getting my Rehab. Came back to Bryan and contiuned my rehab at St. Josephs Hospital. In March of 95, I became very ill, lost weight and was sick at my stomach all the time. Was sent to Temple for surgery to remove quarter sized stones from my Bileduct. The following year I was sent back to Temple to have this bileduct enlarged. I was building up large stones again. Dr. Robert s in Temple at Scot and White Hospital did a by-pass of my bile duct and it has been very successful. In October of 96, I moved to the Villas of Rock Prairie in College Station. I live in a 3 bedroom apartment in #6 cluster. 100 Mortier, #606. When I moved here I was not getting around very well. I think I was more depressed than anything else. Walden was becoming more a Nursing Home than a Retirement Village and it was getting to me. I immediately made new friends here at the Villas and started playing games, going out to eat and getting to be with my Grandchildren more.. While in the hospital, Rob decided that Bill was going to go with me on a trip to Switzerland. We went on an American Express to Germany, Switzerland,

26: and Austria. It was great and I got to fulfill my dream . I could not keep up with Bill and to this day he still t ells me that he has to do the Europe Walk with me. In 1996, I joined our church for Pa Pa and me, and started working in the office in our temporary facilities. I worked there until 99 when I took time off to have hand surgery. My fingers and thumb were very crooked and I was unable to use my thumb, so the Dr. did the best he could to straighten them. He did a good job. In May of 97, Sharon called me from her car phone in Houston to tell me that she was on her way to take her dog Mollie to the Animal Shelter and was then on her way to St. Lukes Hospital to check in. She had been to the Dr. who found that her white blood cells were very low. I met her at the hospital shortly after, never dreaming that she was so ill. This was a Friday, and luckily there was an Oncologist on call from Kelsey Seybold Clinic who came to see her soon after. He gave us bad news that she had either Lukemia or Aplastic Anemia. We were all in shock. Paula came down from Austin as soon as she could get there and we all took the news as best we could. Of course, we had never heard of Aplastic Anemia. Sharon told the Dr. that she certainly hoped it was not Lukemia. If it had only been Lukemia, she would still be with us. Paula and I spent the next two months there in the room with Sharon not knowing what was going to happen next. It is all a blur to be now. So much took place that I just cannot remember. I think I was in total shock for the duration of her illness. She knew that it was serious and talked to Rob about death. She passed away on a Monday morning, July 14, 1997 around 10:00. She had gone into a coma and died very peacefully. She is with God and in a better place. She was 43. We miss you Sharon. To get away from it all I talked my sisters, Marie and Gloria into going on a cruise with me to Alaska. It was nice to be with them for a week. We had never been together like that and had never taken a cruise. We bonded like we had never done before. When Sharon passed away we had her home, which she had just purchased and was in the process of fixing up, to dispose of and all her furniture and clothing. We all worked together and sold the house. She was so proud of her

27: new home, but never got to enjoy it. Paula and Bob made a wonderful home for Mollie, Sharon’s dog. In 98, I met a group of Tourists in London for a trip thru England , Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. I had always dreamed of seeing Ireland. It was like something was drawing me there to see my Homeland. We had a wonderful Scottish Tour Director who knew all the history of the country. I made friends with a group from Texas and we had a great trip. I would never go off so far from Home again by myself, but I am glad I took this trip. It was very rewarding. For my 70th Birthday in March 2000, My children took me to Las Vegas, hired a limousine from the airport to the hotel and treated me like a Queen. I did not come back a millionaire ,but did come back so happy. My children are the greatest in the world. I am so proud of each and everyone of them. After Sharons death. Bill had another stroke in October 97. This one left him totally helpless. He lost all bodily functions, speech, could not eat for several weeks. He had wonderful Therapy at St. Josephs Hospital and was the first patient at the new St. Josephs Rehab Center. He learned to speak again, to chew and swallow his food and he can walk some with aid. He cannot get up and take care of himself, but he has come so far from where he was. And he makes everything so easy for all of us. I know it is hard for him to live away from home, but he does a good job of handling all. Two years ago, I joined Senior Friends. Phyllis Davis is our Leader. She is in her 40s, vivacious, a character, lots of fun and makes each event very special. I have met some very fine friends and it keeps us busy every week with something going on. The years are flying so fast, that I do not have time to catch up on every thing that I want to do. It has been about 9 months since I last wrote. Do not know if I can remember everything that has gone on since last writing, but I will try to fill in some of the spaces. My Grandchildren have grown up before my eyes. Will has completed 1 years of Grad School, Zack has one semester left of High School, Laura and Sarah have l l/2 ears of High School and Jennie has 2 l/2 years of High School. Zack has been accepted to A & M. Laura and Sarah are officers in the Bells, Jennie is also a Belle. They all have cars and are very independent. Paula has retired from teaching for the time being and is enjoying her

28: freedom to travel with Bob. Zack has been in a Opera at our church with Broadway Star Emilee Pulley. He was a King. Jennie has done some solos at the church. They are both wonderful singers with beautiful voices. I have had my computer now for about 2 years. Paula and Bob came in one day with a computer for me and hooked me up thru A & M. and last year for Christmas, Bill hooked me up to cable and I am able to get on the internet more swiftly. I do enjoy having the computer. I can visit with my family, nieces and nephews, friends and my children without having to use the phone. I have met a cousin on Dads side over the internet and we have become computer friends and have shared information. I have taken some short trips with the kids, with the Gold Medalion Club, Senior Friends and Gladys, my friend here at the Villas and I took a Dan Dipert Tour to Branson, Mo, Dec. 2001. We saw some wonderful shows and had a great t rip. I did find out that I am getting too slow to make too many more trips. I had a hard time getting off the bus. My thigh muscles are just not strong anymore. For our 50th Wedding Anniversary, the kids gave us a Family Gathering, out to eat, cake and champagen at the Villas Club Room. Bill was ready to go back to the Nursing Home after eating and we had to make him go with us to the rest of the party. He is getting old. Will be 80 in April. Paula and I went thru Houston in November 2001 to pick up Gloria and then on to pick up Marie and then on to Baytown to see Marjorie at the Nursing Home where Marjorie lives. It was nice for us 4 remaining girls of the family to get together. Since then, Marie has found out she has breast cancer and is on chemotheraphy, Gloria has had a heart attack Marj will be 90 in July, Gloria 69, Marie 83 and Bobbie 72. It is now the last of May, 2002. Time is flying. Zack had his Senior Recital at our church May19,2002. It was wonderful. He sang 11 songs, some in Italian. He was so good and got a standing ovation. On May 24 he graduated from Consolidated High School in College Station. He turned 18 in March, Laura and Sarah 17 in May. They have grown up so fast. Big Bill is doing well, Will has completed 2 years of Grad School and has a new girl friend. Will is out in California working with a friend at the Laboratory on Lasers. Zack has been asked to sing with the Brazos Valley Chorale Group as backup to Barry

29: Manilow on July 7, 2002. Laura and Sarah have just gotten back from the Bahamas where they went diving to 86 feet. Bill and Jennie . have gone with the UMArmy for a week to help repair things for the needy. They have all grown up so fast that it makes my head swim thinking about it. They , my Grandchildren, are all brilliant. My young Amazing son Robert is completing his house that he has built on his man made lake. Bill has completed his new garage addition to his home. Paula and Bob are painting their home With my friend Gladys and Senior Friends, we went to Biloxi, Miss., Mobile and New Orleans on a 4 day trip. We had a great time, stayed in the Beaux Rivage Hotel, beautiful room, great bus driver and good food. Senior Friends has been so good to us. We have about 8 to 10 activities a month that we enjoy so much. In Oct. 2002, I went with Senior Friends on a cruise leaving from Galveston to Key West, Florida and on to Cozumel and Belize City and then back across the Gulf of Mexico to Galveston. Had a great time with a great group of Friends. Have decided that was to be my last trip. My legs are too weak to climb the steps in the bus and I am afraid of falling. It has been fun tho that I have been able to take all the beautiful trips I have. Big Bill is doing good. Has a new roommate He says he is learning all about WHITEY and Predudice. He amazes me how well he accepts his situation there at the nursing home. I would go crazy if I had to live like that with a mind like he has. It is now November 11, 2003 and I cannot believe the years are flying by so fast. So many changed since I wrote last. Marjorie has passed on, Bill passed away on July 20, 2003. He had another stroke on his right side and had been in intense pain for about two weeks. I think his heart could not take the pain anymore and he just willed himself to go. Now he is at peace in a better place and with Sharon. His service was beautiful. We spread his ashes with Sharon at Lake Travis in Autin where we had spread Sharon’s ashes. We all miss him. Just Sunday, when Paula was here, she was thinking that we would stop by to visit Dad. The twins graduated from High School and are now in their first year at A & A and loving it. Doing great in their grades, are involved in Bon Fire, Astronomy, Laura is on the Water Ski Team and Sarah is working out and becoming the student. Jennie is a Senior in High School and Zack is

30: working for the School District waiting to get into Rice to become an Opera Singer. Oh how different times are from when I was growing up 60 years ago. I have become an old woman in body, but not in mind. I still think I am 25. Will is at the UNIVERSITY learning all about Lasers and traveling on so many wonderful trips that most students do not have the opportunity to take. Paula is getting prepared to go into the Transplant program at Baylor in Dallas, hoping for a Pancreas Kidney transplant. I am scared to death of course, but also very optomistic and confident that she will come thru with flying colors and be well again. I have so much faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, that I know he will bring her thru all this with a new life ahead of her. I am so proud of all my children and of their accomplishments and their faith in our Lord. Bless them all. When all is said and done, Pa Pa, We Done Good. Bobbie Jean Tooke Averyt, November 11, 2003, 100 Mortier, #606, College Station, Texas 77845 Since I wrote last, it is now June 22, 2004, Will is in his Grad program at Texas, Zack is enrolled at Rice in the music program for voice, Laura and Sarah have completed their first year at A & M, Sarah with a 4.0 her first year, and Jennie going to Southwestern. My babies are all grown. Paula is working at the Credit Union with Huntsman. Her kidney function is much better. Rob has built his second house on his Lake, and is using it instead of renting it. So nice to go out and sit on one of his porches. I think Bill is trying to get used to the fact that his children are grown and will be going away. Me, my body is getting older and more creaky. Old Arthur has not liked me this year. But I am not going to let it get me. Will has a beautiful new girl friend, Emily Garrison from Texas who is going to be a Nurse. We all Love her. Maybe she is the one. Until next time. Love all of you, Nan P. S. My children have lost their minds, that is Robert, Paula and Bob. They have bought motorcycles. Rob bought one for Linda, but I do not think she is going to ride hers. I don’t blame them, if I were young again I would probably ride again too. I enjoyed it back in the 40s. Nan

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  • By: Laura A.
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  • Title: Nanny's Story
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