Those 70ish girls…The stock I came from, pt 1

I’ve often heard people say that “he” or “she” came from good stock. It’s a simple way of saying they came from a respectable family with qualities that others admire. I learned the most about the stock I came from through antecdotes my mother told me. I wish I had listened more closely or asked more questions, but one thing I know for sure is that I came from good stock. I’m writing a series of stories centered around things my mother told me about her family as they navigated through hard times and good times.

The Sandersons: TL: Wayne, Mary, Ella and M. E. , BL: Loretta, Jeff (Melvin), and Helen. (Elna, who was the youngest by 6 years was not yet born.)

Uncle Wayne was one of my Murdo Uncles and the oldest in Grandma and Grandpa’s family.  It was said of him that during the tough US Depression and the Dirty ‘30’s he kept the family of eight alive and fed, working on the farm, trapping pesky birds and animals that plagued farm crops which  earned  money from the state and also working jobs on the side to help the family. During this time, he survived a rattlesnake bite. His dad, my grandpa, cut a slit near the bite and sucked the venom out. I don’t think they advise doing that anymore.

Wayne later started his own dirt moving business.

Wayne Sanderson’s first dirt moving equipment (1946) L. to R. is M.E. Sanderson, his sisters Tet and Melitha and M.E.’s wife, Mary

He bought a home and raised his own family while still living next door to his parents and helping others. He lost an eye as a young married man. I didn’t know him well but my Mom always spoke of him with great love and respect. He was my hero when I was about 8 and he bought me a black pair of cowgirl boots, the first pair I ever had. This happened during a summer Murdo trip we made from Pennsylvania. It was a highlight to my childhood.

Here I am with my Murdo cousins. I was so proud of the cowboy boots Uncle Wayne bought for me.

Next in age from the six SANDERSON kids, came my Mom, Ella.

The little boy in this picture is Wayne. Mary Sanderson is holding baby, Ella and M.E. is to her right. The older couple are Grandma’s parents who were visiting from Iowa.

She also worked hard and learned to cook from her sweet Mother, Mary Sanderson. She told many stories of growing up poor during tough times. She remembered being kicked into a barbed wire fence by a horse when young, crying when the family feared Wayne might die from the rattlesnake bite, being ill with pneumonia and missing so much school, she went back a grade to be with her younger brother Jeff. The two were close and were nicknamed Mutt and Jeff after a popular comic strip.  I learned how to make pies from my Mom and try to be kind and forgiving.

Mom often said not to discuss religion or how much money you have with other people. She didn’t know what it was like to go into town until later. The kids pretty much just stayed on the farm and each one had chores. During high school she worked as a babysitter, a cook and a maid to pay for boarding so she could stay in town. Later she worked at the family’s general store.

She always liked nice clothing and shoes.  She went to California to work in the aircraft industry during WWII. She was always slim and beautiful with a big smile.

At a family gathering in Pennsylvania. My parents are on the right and I’m sitting on the floor. I think I have the little boy’s toy and he has my doll.

2 thoughts on “Those 70ish girls…The stock I came from, pt 1

  1. lifelessons November 12, 2022 / 7:30 pm

    I love these photos!!! So fun when you know all of the people in them. All of the Sanderson girls were beautiful and stylish. Who would know that our parents had such hard beginnings? And what huge changes there were in their lives. Thanks so much for doing this post. More, please.


  2. Valerie Halla November 12, 2022 / 6:21 pm

    Historical family heritage permeates this touching remembrance. Thank you for all you did to enhance and add to this.


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