FC: Betty Jean
1: Menzel Girls Elizabeth Ann, Roberta Kim & Bobbie Jean
2: Betty & Bob's Wedding Day | Bob was in the Air Force & worked on jets so they went to a lot of air shows.
3: The Early Years | Betty told her new husband that she didn't know how to cook so for the first year of their marriage, he did all the cooking. The game was up when they visited her family in Tennessee and they all bragged about how well she cooked! | Betty loved to pose for the camera! She also loved filmy negligees. | Betty baked a cake for Bob every day once she started cooking again. | Betty was born January 4, 1935 in Pleasant Ridge, Tennessee. Second oldest of 9 children, she had to quit school in the 8th grade to take care of her siblings because her mother was always very sick with diabetes.
4: Love is patient, kind & creative. | Mom was very creative. She sewed lots of our clothes and her party dresses. She knitted and crocheted with string and taught us how. She also loved paint by numbers. | She always made sure that when Dad came home he had something to eat. She'd be at work but there was always dinner and always a cake. Usually yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Always from scratch, never from a box.
5: Betty with Bob's folks in Keyport, New Jersey | Elsie & Felix Holman
6: Mom loved to travel, which they did, even when we came along, living in both Turkey and Germany. We had just flown in to Germany from Turkey and Bobbie had fallen asleep in the cab. Mom reached in to get her at the same time as Liz slams the cab door. My mom had to have 3 fingers practically sewn back on but she never complained. Since there wasn't base housing in Ankara, so we lived in apartments on the 5th floor and there wasn't an elevator. We had to walk a mile to get fresh water and carry it up all those stairs. | Ankara, Turkey 1968 | "When we lived in Turkey my parents went to a movie and took us with them. It was an incredibly racy movie for the times (Barbarella with Jane Fonda) but they had us bring toys thinking we wouldn't pay attention to it. They were mortified for months because we reenacted every bizarre scene."
7: When we lived in Germany, Momma couldn't drive a car, so she decided to teach herself! Late at night, when everyone was asleep, she'd take the car and 'drive' until she learned how. Later in Mississippi, my dad bought her a silver car and she was known as 'The Silver Bullet.' | We moved every 8-10 months and that woman's head would not rest on the pillow until there were pictures on the wall and the sitting room was all arranged. I can't touch her work ethic or drive.
8: Mom and Baby Kim 1961 | October 1961 at church | "When your mom and them went to Turkey she used to take a lot of pictures and send them to us because we wasn't around to see the girls growing up. And different places she would go in the world she would go to yard sales and Goodwills and buy things and mail them back to mom. I thought that was neat. She was a caring person for other people. She really was." Mom's 2 youngest brothers, Uncle Rudy (left) and Uncle Ray (bottom) each lived with us for years.
9: Liz remembers: "Mom would stay home on Sundays while we went to Sunday school and fry up chicken then we would go to a local park & walk the trails." Kim said: "I think Mom and Dad joined a pentecostal church early on in their marriage and it was very strict. Mom liked to have parties and dress up, so this might be why she was sort of turned-off toward religion later on. I don't know if it was once or more than that, but I remember them dropping us off at a baptist church and afterward walking home and seeing my mom down the street packing the car for a picnic." Bobbie adds: "Mom was always so proud of us and supported us however she could. She was a Girl Scout leader. When I was on Dance Team, she came to every game and cheered after every performance. | Liz, 8 1/2 month old Kim, and Mom 1962
10: "Mom and Dad went to the Non-Commissioned Officer's club every Friday night. While Mom got ready, Dad would take us to McDonalds to get our hamburgers. It would have been nice if he'd taken her somewhere else just once, but it was there or nowhere. | "I remember complaining that I didn't like doing housework (we all had chores). She told me when I had my own home, I would. And to this day I keep a clean house." "I was also mortified as a teen to bring anyone home because we had a ceramic momma made of a black woman, in a boat without a top on, right on our coffee table! Which was not to be outdone by the bronze, 3 foot tall statue of the naked pee-pee boy they got from Brussels." | Dad, Mom & "Uncle" Gino
11: "When we moved back to Texas, e took a lot of road trips to Tennessee and New Jersey. We took our dog Mitzi. Most times they drove straight through by taking turns driving. We'd end up in odd places when Mom drove. Once she stopped by a "loony bin" and Dad woke up to see weird people staring at us through a chain link fence. Once Kim complained that Mitzi was tired so we stopped at a hotel and Mom snuck her in under her coat by pretending she was pregnant. Liz always said if we had complained that we were tired they never would have stopped." | Dusty | Mitzi
12: Christmas day in Mississippi | "Mom loved to wear wigs! Once, one almost blew completely off at a rest area. Another time when we went skating, Dad had one arm and Uncle Gino had the other when they were teaching her how to skate. The wig fell over her eyes and she couldn't see!" | "She always made sure all her siblings had a present for Christmas. They told me that often the only present they got was the one she gave them."
13: "Mom had lots of social intelligence. She also genuinely loved people and always gave them the benefit of the doubt." "When I was having trouble with kids at school she would tell me that I didn't know what that person was going through at home and maybe that's why they were mean. It gave me a tolerance for people that I still carry with me." | "I came home crying one day because this girl was making fun of my name. Momma comforted me and asked what that girl's name was. I said, 'Betsy' and she said, 'Isn't that the name of a cow?' Mom never said to make fun back at her but I did and I never had trouble with that girl again."
14: "When I describe mom to people, I tell them to imagine Lucille Ball and Dolly Pardon rolled into one person. Beautiful, fun-loving and always up to mischief." "Momma loved to sunbathe at the pool. Never, never, never saw her without her makeup done. Never. She would do her nails every other night. She was a very girly-girl but she also knew how to get to work." | "Mom and Dad were constantly entertaining. He was so gruff and insulting but she was the consummate hostess and everyone loved her, so their parties were well attended."
15: Mom worked as a waitress her whole life. When I was young, she would come home and dump out her apron and it was filled with hundreds and hundreds of coins. She worked at Broadwater Beach Hotel and met famous people. Sometimes she would get their autographs.
16: "I can remember us going swimming and she taught us all how to swim in the river. She taught herself all kinds of things. She was the type to just figure it out, but once she learned she would teach everybody else how. She was a wonderful teacher. | Aunt Patty: "She was a very, very happy person, you couldn't be around her and not be happy. She loved margaritas. One time we stayed up drinking and playing cards half the night. That was a fun visit!"
17: Grandpa Felix at Bobbie's wedding. | The day mom & Jim got married.
18: Grandma with Joe and Chelsea. 4am feedings weren't so much fun. Mom love being a Grandma. | She had this laugh that sounded musical - very infectious.
19: "Betty was a real good cook. Always made the best cinnamon rolls when we come over for breakfast. She'd have biscuits with cinnamon, butter and brown sugar. Probably wasn't a recipe. Just something she did." | She was terrible at telling jokes; always got the punchline wrong or said it first. You couldn't help but laugh though, because she would be laughing." | Mom & Jim lived in Eufaula, OK the last 4 years of her life.
20: "This is the last formal portrait that I took of Mom. She was sick with cancer but still looked beautiful to me. Mom and Jim lived with me and Dan until the end. Those last six weeks were so bittersweet. She was lively and gracious the entire time she was ill; always thinking of everyone else besides herself." | "This is my favorite picture of mom. She was always so happy, and she looks so happy in this picture. I just love her smile in this. It's how I remember her."
21: Although she's been gone for years, it's a testament to the person she was that she's still remembered so fondly over 26 years later. She's left behind quite an impressive legacy of hard-working, creative, smart, friendly, resourceful kids and grandkids all with hints of that infectious smile that touched so many. All of us can be proud to know that we owe part of our existence to such a strong, effervescent woman.