Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Pull up a chair and Sit a Spell

Hazel Mickelsen Ganus, Stella Mae Montgomery, Heber Monroe Ganus, Okmulgee, Oklahoma, genealogy, ancestry, family history
Grandma Hazel (Mickelsen) Ganus, Stella May (Montgomery) Ganus
and Grandpa Heber Monroe Ganus
Long before we could drive down the street at night and see the glow of the TV screen in the windows of many if not most homes, and long before people turned to Facebook for updates on people's lives, people dropped by to visit each other.

In pleasant weather, people sat on the porch and talked, catching up on the events of the day. Often sipping on a cold drink, they tried to cool off while they talked about the weather, about family and about the ongoings in town. My how times have changed. 

These photos taken in September of 1955 show my grandparents, Heber and Hazel (Mickelsen) Ganus and Sally (Ganus) Mortensen, along with a couple of Sally's children, sitting on the porch with Heber's aunt, Stella May (Montgomery) Ganus in Oklahoma. Most likely Grandpa and Grandma had moved to Oklahoma by that time and Sally and her kids had made the 700 miles trip to visit them. 

Sally (Ganus) Mortensen, Stella May (Montgomery) Ganus
and Grandpa Heber Monroe Ganus

Other than the few years when Grandpa worked in Utah and California, Grandma and Grandpa Ganus lived most of their lives in Colorado, but as grandpa aged, his health declined and they eventually moved to Oklahoma for the lower altitude. During those years Grandpa was able to live among other Ganus relatives. In particular, Grandpa loved his Aunt Stella and I love knowing that she was important to him and that he was able to spend time with her.  

Grandma Hazel (Mickelsen) Ganus, Stella May (Montgomey) Ganus
and Heber Monroe Ganus 

That September of 1955, temperatures soared around 100 degrees and the humidity hovered around 70% (1) In the sticky Oklahoma heat, the porch was the best place to sit and visit. Lightweight, short sleeve dresses were the order of the day for the ladies and a short sleeved t-shirt helped keep Grandpa Ganus cool. 

With the heat extending into the evening hours, families often moved out onto the porch where it was a little cooler. For them, there was nothing much better than spending a little time on the porch, sitting and talking. 

1. Wolfram Alpha app provided the temperature for Oklmulgee, Oklahoma for September 1955

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2018, All rights reserved

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The House That Gandy Built

The knock at the door came early, but at the agreed upon time. I opened the door to see half a dozen men standing on my front porch. Bundled up in coats, the men stood with arms crossed, their gloved hands rubbing their arms in an effort to generate some warmth as the light snow swirled around them. Their boss just had one question for me, "Are you ready for us to start?" Yes, I definitely was.

We were doing a major remodel of our home which required opening up one of the exterior walls and extending our living space. Not only was it cold, but for weeks, the hammering, pounding and sawing continued and my nerves became a little more frayed each day. I tried to remain focused on what I knew would be the end result, but some days it was really hard. Finally, the job was completed and I was pleased with the results and so glad to have an end to the temporary chaos. Thankfully, we only had a few months of living in an unfinished space, but what if it had stretched into 113 years? Well, that was the case with the house that Gandy built. 

Of course, multiple generations occupied the Gandy home during the 113 years in an unfinished state, with each generation choosing to procrastinate finishing the home and therefore leaving the task to the next generation. Such was the state of the home at Gandy's Bend when Addison L. Lincencum moved in with his son Barnabus and wife Mary (Malder) following his retirement and the death of his wife, Letha. (Addison's story was told in a previous post found HERE.)

Situated on 177 acres on the Navidad River at Gandy's Bend, the house was tucked into a deeply wooded area. Removed from the hustle and bustle of town life, there was a peace about the place. Built by Addison's wife's grandfather, Daniel Gandy, several generations of Gandys had lived and died there. A family cemetery was nestled in a grove of large cedars about three-fourths of a mile from the house and was the final resting place for many members of the Gandy family, including Addison's wife Letha Grandy Lincecum. When interviewed for a newspaper article in October of 1963, Addison indicated that he was just waiting for the time that he too would be buried there. 

Texas, Lincecum, Gandy, remodeling, genealogy, ancestry, research, Rainwater
Gandy House
Yoakum Herald-Yoakum, TX
October 11, 1963 

Letha's grandmother, Mary (Turney) Gandy, died while her grandfather, Daniel Gandy was building the house and her death was so difficult for him, he never completed the house. Built with wooden pegs and square nails, the house had impressive custom features such as a hand-carved mantel. 

After Barney married Mary Macek Mader on 3 April 1962, they moved into the house and decided it was time to finish it. They put up sheetrock covering the raw studs, installed ceilings so they no longer had a view of the underside of the roof and finished the second floor which had previously looked like an unfinished attic. Barney added bathroom fixtures which they had managed without all those years. In addition, Barney built on a screened porch, covered the shingles with a tin roof and added a patterned asbestos to the outside of the house, which was a trend at the time. Then because none of the house had ever been painted, inside or out, he painted everything either pink or blue. After a mere 113 years, the house finally was finished. 

Every time we take on a remodeling project, knowing my impatience with the mess, my husband looks me in the eye and kindly reminds me that it will be a process and that for a time, it will mean living in a mess. Every time, I acknowledge him with a nod of the head and a vow to be patient this time, but we both know I don't do the patience-with-remodeling thing well. Thankfully, it's never takes 113 years, it just feels like it. 

The information about the home was obtained from a newspaper article accessed at Portal of Texas History. Yoakum Herald-Times Herald, Yoakum, Texas, Friday October 11th, 1963, "Landmarks, The House at Gandy Bend," by Charlotte Phelan of the Houston Post. 

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2018, All rights reserved