My Journey through Breast Cancer

On October 11, 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage II Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) ... or as we like to call it, extreme measures for a nap (EMFN). For a while, this blog will be my cancer journal. Enter at your own risk.

18 February 2008

Grandma's beginning

In Barberton, Ohio, on December 26, 1926, two children were upstairs in their home listening to strange noises downstairs. Howard said to his sister Dorothea “I’m hearing something funny. What’s going on?” As they pressed their ears up to the wall, they soon heard a baby cry. “Who came to the house in the middle of the night and brought a baby?” Howard said. Well, as it turned out, their own mother was giving birth to their baby sister, Lois Jean Butler. My grandmother. Back then a woman didn’t let on that she was pregnant, and the other children had had no idea their family was about to grow again. Lois was the fifth and youngest child in the Butler clan. At the time of her birth Howard was 13, Dorothea 11, Marvin 10, and Harold 5.

When Lois was about five months old the doctor told her father that if he didn’t get out of Barberton soon, his sinus problems would probably kill him. He’d had surgery, and tried various methods to ease them, but nothing seemed to work. It was time to move. So he put in a request at Good Year, where he worked, and they transferred him to Arizona.

The Sunday School class at church had collected $75 for the Butlers. With that, and the few dollars her dad had in his pocket, they piled five kids into an open touring car, all the belongings they could fit, and headed for Arizona. The trip was a camping trip of sorts. Lois’s mom did all the cooking along the way, making whatever kinds of meals she could.

On arriving at the Good Year plant in Arizona, they lived in some of the company quarters, tiny little houses. Lois’s mom had to put chicken wire over the holes in the floor to keep the snakes and other varmints from crawling in and getting her kids, most vulnerable was my 5-month-old grandmother. Even so, most mornings she still had to throw scorpions out of her shoes. Consequently Lois was kept in a high chair most of the time.

Well, Arizona was certainly better for her dad’s sinuses, but her mother couldn’t stand the heat. Can we blame her? So in 1928, when Lois was about 18 months old, the family picked up again and moved to California. Her dad got to stay with Good Year. The housing wasn’t much better than Arizona, just motor-home style housing, but at least there weren’t scorpions to worry about. Within just a couple of years after that, they moved to Bell, where they would remain for more than 20 years.


Doug and Judi's Adventures said...

My mom only has one sister and three brothers. Margaret in your story is actually Marvin.

Gretchen said...

Heidi, I'm loving these stories. Keep writing 'cause I want to find out what happens! ;0)