Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My paternal grandmother Molly

Born Mary Magdalene “Molly” Walters in December 1882, this is my paternal grand mother. At 18 she married Samuel D Williams in 1900. Their only son Everett, was born in 1905. Sam and Molly were neighbors to Joe and Meade Kerr. Sam died in April 1909 and Meade died in May 1909.

Joe and Meade had a daughter and son. Soon after Meade's death, Joe hired Molly to keep house and take care of his two children. His work on the railroad kept him away from home for periods of time.

The family story goes that one Sunday, on the way to church, Joe asked Molly to marry him since she was already taking care of his house and kids.  It turned into a prolific match that lasted until his death in 1945.

Molly was a true hillbilly in the mold portrayed by Granny in the Beverly Hillbillys TV show. She was tough on everyone who might have stayed for any time at the family farm in Scarborough. An earlier post told the story of the farm. One cousin related that if you stayed at the farm, you were expected to work just like her kids. With the first electricity on the farm, Joe bought a washing machine. He returned to the farm one day to find Molly taking a switch to JL because he had taken the washing machine a part and was not having any success getting it put back together. Joe stopped her and his only comment was “that's what boys do”.

Molly was a frequent visitor to our home in California in the years after WWII. I remember as a child, meeting her at the train station in Los Angeles. As she stepped off the train she is holding a 1 pound coffee can full of her tobacco spit. Then the hugs that smelled of long train rides and tobacco.

As tough as she could be, family members respected her for all she had been through in her life. 14 children in 28 years. 6 of them dieing in their first few months. Widowed twice and moved from the family farm prior to WWII. She represents the hearty spirit of the early 20th century women.

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