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May, 2011

Grandmama Coble

by Julia

My step grandmother's name was Florence Ferris and after she married my paternal grandfather, John Coble, in about 1932, I called her Grandmama. I had lived with my grandfather most of my life; he lived with my father, Byron, and mother, Louise, after my grandmother, Hattie, died in 1925. It is a long story of our household. Hattie had been caring for my cousin, Louis, after his mother died at his birth. So when Hattie died my mother tried to help care for him and his two older brothers. I was three at the time, and my sister, Florine, was about eighteen months. It was an impossible situation even though there was some hired help. Soon my Uncle Leonard married his first wife’s sister and moved to another house my grandfather owned, so the three boys had a stepmother.

The house where I lived was two doors away from my uncle’s house, so always it was really a blended family. Florence came into the picture when Grandpapa rented a room to her in about 1931. My father had left to try to find work on the Panama Canal, and he didn’t return. My mother was the world’s worst cook and housekeeper. Soon Florence was bringing order and wonderful meals for my grandfather, and they married.

Florence was considerably younger than my grandfather but developed health problems due to being quite obese. Primarily it was obesity and high blood pressure, but also she had to have all her teeth pulled and false teeth made. The teeth didn’t fit well, and she wore them only to church or when we had the preacher over for Sunday dinner. She was adamant that her picture never be taken. This picture was taken by a cousin who was busy with family pictures but suddenly whirled around to capture my grandmother laughing on the steps of my aunt’s house across the street from where I lived. It is the only picture of her that I have, and I especially am glad to have it because she turned out to have a decidedly good influence on my life.

Thanks much for this interesting and personal contribution, Julia!

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