Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Copyright 2013, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

This blog post  is part of my participation in a weekly writing meme called, "The Book of Me, Written By You"  You too can be part of this experiment/experience, there is more information here, and at this Facebook page.

I may or may not publicly share what I write each week. This week I share.

The prompt for Week 7 is Grandparents.

What were their names?
Where were they from?
Were they related? – Cousins perhaps
Where were they born, another Country or state/area
What did they do?
Did you know them?
What was your relationship with them?
If you didn't know them have you researched about them?

I have written a number of posts on Reflections about my grandparents, here I will do a review of sorts.

1.)  Father's Father:  Hayden Eugene Bowen, born November 29, 1895 in Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia.  Died June 21, 1966 in Norfolk Virginia, he is buried at Riverside Memorial Park, Norfolk, Virginia.  I manage his memorial at Find A Grave.  Below:  Hayden walking the beach, date and place unknown.

He served in the Navy during World War I and some how ended up living in a boarding house run by his future wife's mother.  Many of his working years were spent as superintendent at the Richmond Cedar Works of Great Bridge, Virginia.  I am lucky enough to have several examples of the product produced at Richmond Cedar Works, including, this small bucket, which is about 4 inches tall.

I knew Hayden, he was at my high school graduation, dying one week later after he returned home to Norfolk.

2.)  Father's Mother:  Florence Ruth Dews Bowen.  Married Hayden on December 23, 1923 in South Mills, Camden County, North Carolina.  Florence and Hayden kept the marriage quiet, as in hidden, until she became preggers.

Florence was born November 7, 1904 in Kempsville, Princess Anne County, Virginia.  She died January 8, 1996 in Nags Head, Dare County, North Carolina.  She was buried January 13, 1996 in Riverside Memorial Park, Norfolk, Virginia.  I maintain her Find A Grave memorial.

Florence loved the beach, here she is near Nags Head or Kitty Hawk, year unknown, sometime in the 1950's, photo less than quality, but, she loved the beach, so, here it is:

Florence loved to cruise, and took many.  She loved dancing, and won many contests with partners a few years younger than she.  She LOVED fashion and worked retail women's fashion for her entire life time, even owning a few stores.  Her last store, Nags Head Sportwear, burned down during a hurricane in March of 1962. I have a number of her collectibles and pieces of furniture, including this Italian Vase that is as fragile as air.

I knew Florence.  She would be aghast at my current wardrobe choices!  While she was alive she would "dress" me as she did clients that would drive 100's of miles to visit her in whatever store she was working.  Since she is gone, my wardrobe choices are t-shirts and jeans.  Really, she would be aghast!  Sorry Gramma.  She died during a epic snow storm on the east coast, her niece remarked, "Flo never did anything without drama, not even dying!"  Two of her grandchildren, including Moi, told the funeral home to start the services without us, if we could not drive through the mess to arrive on time.  We did, however, make it on time, exhausted, but on time.

3.)  Mother's Father:  Leonard Homan Trumbo, born November 18, 1895, I think.  His date of birth is reported differently many times.  I chose the date that makes the most sense, not what is reported on his death certificate or what is inscribed on his headstone.  He died June 11, 1961 in Harrisonburg, Virginia and was buried June 13, 1961 on the Halterman Family Cemetery, Bergton, Rockingham County, Virginia.  I maintain his Find A Grave memorial.

Leonard had a quirk that I think I may have inherited, he did NOT like his photo being taken. Here is one of the few I have of him.  This was taken about 1950.

Leonard worked in automotive repairs for years and years. He worked out of a foundry building sitting across the street from his home.  I have memories including the distinct odor of the oil mixtures from the equipment.  At some point his daughter, my mother, scavenged some pine lumber out of the foundry and had dressers made of that lumber.  I am thrilled to own one of those dressers:

I knew Leonard, to me he was a quiet man, who was my Grandfather.  While researching I discovered photos of the foundry at the Library of Congress web site, the photos were taken during the Depression.  I value the find and was able to search down the daughter of the original photographer who granted me permission to use them in my own research and on my blog.

4.)  Mother's Mother:  Minnie Agnes Halterman Trumbo.  Married Leonard on July 25, 1923 at Frederick, Frederick County, Maryland (they eloped too, both sets of grandparents eloped!  I guess I learned that from them too, as Man and I eloped.  Keeping those family traditions!)

Minnie was born August 2, 1905 in Dovesville (Bergton), Rockingham County, Virginia.  She died June 15, 2003 in Wilton Manors, Broward County, Florida.  Her memorial service was held later that month in Broadway, Rockingham County, Virginia.  Her ashes were interred at the Halterman Family Cemetery, Bergton, Rockingham County, Virginia on June 10, 2004 in a private ceremony.  I manage Minnie's Find A Grave memorial.

This photo was taken about 2 years before her death:

Minnie was a seamstress, she raised chickens, she worked in an egg "factory".  As her obituary pointed out, "She was a well-known seamstress for many families in the area and worked for Ney's House of Fashion in Harrisonburg for 10 years in the tailoring and altering department."  She was a great cook, a southern cook, Man and I tend to compare meals from restaurants we visit to hers, few can compete!

I own several of Minnie's possessions, from her biscuit cutters, to rockers.  One of my favorites is this small rocker.  This photo was taken in her Broadway home.

I knew Minnie quite well.  She was the last grandparent living.  Minnie gave me sewing lessons when I would visit, but, forbid me to learn to crochet, claiming it would "ruin" my eyes.  (I had Man's mother teach me years later.)  She took my brother and I to the mountains for a get away once when we were visiting.  I learned the true meaning of  "dark" that time.  When the lights went out, you literally could not see the palm of your hand even if held 5 inches from your eyes.  Total lack of light.  I'll never forget it, I did not like it much. 

I was very fortunate to know all of four of my grandparents.  I have learned a bit more about them as I research.  Since I was lucky to know them all, most of the research findings have not been surprising, however, they are nice tidbits to add to their biographies.

* I am just a bit behind on the prompts, and I am just a wee bit sarcastic sometimes too.  Wink Wink!


Sherry - Family Tree Writer said...

How nice! Surely your grandmother would forgive you the clothing choices for sharing the info about her! I've not done these prompts, and I should, I should! I feel so cheated, as my grandfather's died before I was born, and I hear such wonderful things about them that I wish I had gotten to meet them! Take Care!

Mavis said...

I enjoyed reading about your grandparents.

I just started trying to participate in this. I would have never gotten caught up if I started at the begin. I started at #12 and hope to do the best I can.