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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

In Memoriam: Willie Frances Farnsworth Rogers

Grandma in profile, Christmas 1958 at the Farnsworth house.
This week is In Memoriam week for The Spin Cycle.  I decided that instead of creating something new, I wanted to honor Grandma Rogers.

My Grandma Rogers was a dignified, former schoolmarm when I knew and loved her till her death in 1974.  Grandma was a profound Christian.  The closest to a swear I ever heard cross her lips was, "Good Sakes!"  She was a single teacher in the rural community where my widowed PawPaw Rogers was raising my dad, Arleigh, and my Aunt Sissy/Amelia.

I do not remember the story of how PawPaw and Miss Willie, as my dad always called her, became "an item".   Anyway, she and Paw Paw met, courted, married and Daddy eventually had another sister, Billie Frances.  And my Great Aunt Lillis, PawPaw's younger sister, was no longer the primary female caregiver for Daddy and Aunt Sissy.  But that is a story for another day.

My dad, Arleigh Rogers, passed in 2004.  Aunt Sissy passed on Feb. 22 this year.



I guess I really do not know a lot about my Grandma Rogers as a young child.  She grew up in the house I called the Farnsworth house.  It was located on Thompson Lane in the community of Chambersville, TX.  Grandma's name was Willie Farnsworth.  She graduated from from The Nazerine College in Commerce, TX.

Grandma had several brothers and sisters.  Dave is the only name I can recall tonight.  Of course, there was Great Grandma Farnsworth who could be quite rude to any and all.  She was "a little touched in the head" in her later years was the explanation for the behavior.  There are a few other names from the Farnsworth side of my past that float into my mind.  Mary, Kenneth, Novella, Rusty and Aunt Clara, the last is Grandma's younger sister.

Grandma lived with Aunt Billie almost as long as I can remember.  Aunt Billie, omg, divorced an abusive husband sometime in the early 1950's.  With a very young daughter to support it just made sense for the now widowed Grandma Rogers and and "grass widow" Aunt Billie to join households.  So that left Grandma caring for the child, Brenda, while Aunt Billie worked.

Aunt Billie at Community Drive home, 1957
Brenda and I were only about 3 years apart in age, many times I spent Christmas night with them after the big Rogers' Christmas gathering.  As we grew older summer vacations were opportunities for me to visit Brenda.  In our teen years summer visits included summer romances with Brenda's male schoolmates!

Brenda, Christmas, 1957, Community Dr., Dallas TX
Aunt Billie had bought a home on Community Drive in Dallas by the mid 1950's.  It was directly in the landing path for Love Field.  Indoor plumbing, rollerskating on sidewalks and playing in the sprinklers was like visiting a 5 star resort for this country girl.  Back at the Farnsworth house there was at best running water in the kitchen by about 1957.  We still bathed in a galvanized tub out on the screened in back porch there on Thompson Lane.

Oh, my!  Grandma Rogers was a patient woman with Brenda and I during those visits.  And she made some of the best teacakes for us while we would use her peddle sewing machine for making doll clothes.  The teacakes would just melt in your mouth.  Around 1959 Aunt Billie moved the trio of  (shemales as Daddy would say) to the Irving Northgate community.  A brand new home with all the fancy cooking stuff for Grandma and the teacakes were still melt in your mouth good.

Once Brenda was making us a snack.  I am sure we were just making another mess for Grandma to cleanup.  I surely remember her saying another one of her favorite phrases, "You are just messing and gomming in here!"  That expression matches so many situations!  Gene and I have copped its use especially for some of my yard projects!

Now my challenge to myself is to show the patience and respect for my friends, family and especially my grandsons!  The next time one of them does something that might not be the best choice, I need to just say, "Good Sakes".  Thank you Grandma Rogers.  I still love you.

October, 1961, last Sunday living at the Farnsworth House.  Grandma Rogers is the second from left with Aunt Billie and Brenda next.  I am to the right of my mom who is holding a grandson.  Daddy is the tall guy in the back.  My older sisters are on each side behind me.  My baby sister is in front of Grandma Rogers and Brenda.  Two brothers in law, four nephews and Grandma Chandler, who passed in 1969, complete the group.  Jack Baldwin, one of my brothers in law,  is squatting holding his son.  Jack passed in 1999.  Miss these loved ones.


Second Blooming